Blog Logo

Wednesday, March 27, 2013RSS Feed

Working Together in Challenging Times

The physical therapy profession is facing additional cuts to Medicare payment for services starting April 1.

Dating back to last year, APTA has provided crucial information about these upcoming cuts in all-member e-mails, News Now articles, social media messages, and via the homepage. Still, we know that some physical therapists are unaware of what's ahead.

That's why I'm urging you to share this information with your colleagues, which can be as simple as forwarding the link to this blog post.

These cuts will impact physical therapists financially and may affect the access to care our patients receive. Additionally, as health care providers continue to bear the brunt of payment reductions, there is also an emotional toll to these changes, and it's important that we support one another in these challenging times.

I've talked with many physical therapists from across the country, and I know that these challenges are real. I see and feel it in my own practice as we work as a management team to continue to provide the patient care needed by so many with resources that continue to shrink. It is becoming more and more evident that from a financial and reimbursement aspect we are facing a "new normal" that is often hard to understand.

Those familiar with our national advocacy efforts know that APTA works year-round to protect payment for physical therapy services - advocating intensely to repeal the therapy cap and to prevent the MPPR and other cuts from going into effect. Unfortunately, despite successes in many legislative and regulatory areas, physical therapists are not immune to the repeated changes affecting all Medicare providers.

Although APTA alone cannot change the course of sequestration, the association will continue to look for opportunities to fight the MPPR cuts. However, with or without congressional action on these items, these challenges necessitate our consideration of payment reform. It is becoming increasingly clear that we cannot sustain the current payment system - not for ourselves, and not for our patients.

That's why APTA is developing an alternative payment system - the physical therapy classification and payment system (PTCPS) - for outpatient services. The need for reform is clear, and we want the opportunity to help shape payment reform to reward the clinical expertise physical therapists bring to the health care system, rather than having payment reform imposed on us.

Payment in the future will be based on data that demonstrates value, patient engagement, and quality outcomes. The proposed PTCPS embraces that model with the goal of not just improving payment but also quality of care.

No proposed system will be perfect, and while many have embraced this change, other physical therapists have expressed their concern. But with the challenges facing payment in health care, change is essential.

I encourage you to read about APTA's alternative payment system, PTCPS, and consider its impact for the future. But more importantly I urge you to spend 5 minutes sharing the resources at with your colleagues to prepare for these challenges in our present.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013RSS Feed

Moving Beyond Vision 2020: Join the Discussion

Vision 2020 has served as APTA's official vision statement for the future of physical therapy since it was adopted by the House of Delegates (House) in 2000. In 2011, the House adopted a motion to revise Vision 2020, and the APTA Board of Directors (Board) appointed a Vision Task Force to manage the process.

Since then, the task force developed a new proposed vision statement and supporting vision elements, which the Board will propose to the House in June.

To generate conversation about the proposed vision, the Vision Task Force invites comments at the bottom of this post. Additionally, individuals attending the Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) in San Diego are welcome to attend the Beyond Vision 2020 Member Forum (also open to nonmembers) on Wednesday, January 23, 6:00 pm-7:00 pm PT, in Ballroom 6C of the San Diego Convention Center.

The new proposed vision statement and vision elements, and background about their development, can be found on the Beyond Vision 2020 webpage. In seeking your feedback, we feel it is appropriate to briefly highlight where we are and how we got here:

From the beginning of our work, the Vision Task Force was guided by a few very broad themes, inspired by the information we collected early on and the charge from the House. We wanted this new vision to be "outward looking" (focused on our role in society and our obligation to meet society's needs) and to reflect the evolution of a physical therapist's role (beyond treating people who are having problems and then discharging them, not to see them again until another serious problem generates a referral).

Those themes might be best captured in the phrase "my physical therapist," which evokes consumers seeing their physical therapist on a regular basis to maintain a healthy, high quality of life so they move efficiently at their highest personal ability level, whatever that means for them. That kind of streamlined, habitual relationship between the consumer and physical therapist would be direct access at its best.

Guided by these themes, the task force decided to aim high and be bold, which was one of the tips provided to us by our visioning consultant, Marsha Rhea, CAE. The proposed vision that will be submitted to the House reads: "The physical therapy profession will transform society by optimizing movement for all people of all ages to improve the human experience."

As many have pointed out, this is a lofty vision. But that's what we believe a vision should be, providing statements of identity (who we aspire to be) and desired outcome (what we aspire to change), while speaking to the public (not "the choir") in language that those within and beyond the profession would understand.

To realize its vision, APTA would of course repeatedly establish specific strategic priorities and objectives, which would be timed and measurable. A vision can and should be something greater, and we hope this proposed statement reflects that.

As you consider your response to this proposed vision, we encourage you to read (or reread) Mary McMillan lectures by Ruth Purtilo, PT, PhD, FAPTA (2000), Andrew Guccione, PT, DPT, PhD, FAPTA (2010), and Alan Jette, PT, PhD, FAPTA (2012), which are available through PTJ. (In particular, note Purtilo's comments on periods of identity and Jette's comments on systems thinking and positive deviants.)

The Vision Task Force believes that the physical therapist's role in transforming society goes beyond our already familiar, traditional image of physical therapy. There is a leadership role within the public sphere that needs to be embraced, such as advocating for walkable communities and physical education in schools, for example.

We shouldn't sell ourselves or our profession short: improving movement of individuals within society has the power to transform society itself.

We look forward to hearing your thoughts on the proposed vision statement.

Vision Task Force
William McGehee, PT, MHS, Chair and Board of Directors Member
Patricia Brick, PT, MS, GCS
E. Scott Euype, PT, DPT, OCS
Edelle Field-Fote, PT, PhD
Pauline Flesch, PT, MPS
Charles Gulas, PT, PhD, GCS
Colleen Kigin, PT, DPT, MS, MPA, FAPTA
Tasha MacIlveen, PT, DPT, CSCS
Lisa Saladin, PT, PhD

Thursday, September 27, 2012RSS Feed

Aging and the Physical Therapist: Helping Your Patients Stay Fit at 50 and Beyond

To promote healthy aging, APTA is launching its "Fit After 50" Move Forward campaign to educate the public about the important role physical therapists play in helping people ages 50 and older remain active, fit, and mobile.

The campaign will launch October 1, at the start of National Physical Therapy Month, with “50 Days, 50 Ways,” a daily series of 50 tips for Baby Boomers from APTA member physical therapists on how to prevent injury and maintain mobility by staying active and fit. The tips will be published via Twitter and Facebook, and on the consumer information page at To encourage the public to share these tips with their social networks, APTA will give away prizes throughout "50 Days, 50 Ways."

As a Baby Boomer who understands how healthy aging can improve quality of life, I am really excited about the launch of Fit After 50. Our goal with this campaign is to educate people about the importance of staying fit as they age to achieve long-term quality of life. Physical therapists can help people remain active and fit by providing individualized fitness programs that improve balance, increase mobility, and reduce the risk of injury.

APTA also will launch its "Fit After 50 Member Challenge" to allow APTA members to nominate member colleagues ages 50 and older who are committed to being fit, active, and mobile as they age. From March 1, 2013, through April 5, 2013, APTA members and the public can vote for their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place favorites on Winners will be announced at APTA's Conference & Exposition in 2013.

In recognition of National Physical Therapy Month, I hope you will join us in celebrating and promoting the important work that physical therapists do to help people restore and maintain health as they age. You can learn more about the Fit After 50 campaign in this video. As always, please feel free to post your thoughts about the topics covered on this blog.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012RSS Feed

A July 'First' for the Board

APTA's Board of Directors continued its 2012 meeting schedule with its first face-to-face July meeting, just 6 weeks after the House of Delegates. This was new territory for everyone-seasoned Board members; new Board members, who hit the ground running; and me as your new president. Through the excellent work of a Board workgroup and APTA staff we had an energizing strategic planning session facilitated by Marsha Rhea, who many of you may remember from the visioning session held during the House in Tampa. We reached agreement on updates to the Strategic Plan that staff now will use to direct APTA's budget planning activities over the next several months in preparation for the fall meetings of both the Finance and Audit Committee and the Board.

We also held our fiduciary session that included an excellent presentation on the status of our association management services. We will continue our discussions on the direction of this area of association business as we consider how to best serve the needs of our components. I encourage you to read and comment on the News Now articles on the Strategic Plan updates and the discussion surrounding APTA's association management services.

In an effort to keep members more up to date on Board activities, I hope to use this blog to communicate the Board's actions and the various issues it discusses throughout the year. As always, please feel free to post your thoughts about the topics covered on this blog.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012RSS Feed

Thank You, Scott!

This afternoon, outgoing APTA president R. Scott Ward, PT, PhD, was honored for his service at the closing ceremonies of the APTA House of Delegates.

Watch the prerecorded video tribute below, and leave any thanks or memories in the comments.


Comments are published after moderator approval. 

Monday, April 30, 2012RSS Feed

Empowering and Positioning PTs and PTAs Through APTA Initiatives

The weekend of April 21-22 and the days surrounding it were some of the most extraordinary in my 6 years as APTA president. On April 20, APTA's Leadership Forum kicked off in Washington, DC, with the Board of Directors (Board) meeting and Leadership Symposium, which was followed by the popular Federal Advocacy Forum. The 4-day event enabled APTA members to participate in some of the most important conversations that are taking place in the physical therapy profession. We'll be continuing work on the topics discussed, with a number of them being considered during upcoming meetings of the House of Delegates (House). I'd like to provide an overview of the topics and the role that the House will play in these association initiatives.

A report submitted to the Board of Directors on updating APTA's governance structures and processes gave Board members a platform for several hours of engaged discussion April 20-21. This report was the result of comprehensive work done by APTA members as part of a number of volunteer groups that began in 2009 to collect and assess data representing APTA's multiple interests and needs. More than 3,000 APTA members also provided their input and feedback as part of this process.

The report now will be forwarded to the House of Delegates so it can consider the recommendations that require a change to our bylaws (bylaws decisions are scheduled for 2013). The report also will be forwarded to our chapters and sections for their consideration.

APTA will provide a summary of the Board proposals and background on their development by May 4. More about the governance review initiative, designed to ensure the association is effective, nimble, responsive, and inclusive in today's environment, is available at

I hope you will take the time to learn about the proposals and the opportunities we have to reformat our structures and processes to best position APTA and the profession to meet the challenges we are facing now, and those challenges that are sure to come.

The Board also held a session on visioning that stemmed from a 2011 House motion calling for APTA to revise its Vision Sentence for Physical Therapy and Vision Statement for Physical Therapy. The objective is to look beyond 2020 and clearly articulate the profession's commitment to society. During this session we discussed the current persona of the physical therapist (PT), skills and competencies of the PT, the profession's culture, and important initiatives the profession will face in the next 10 years. We also identified top priorities and design principles of APTA that the Vision Task Force will use as it continues its work over the next few months conducting focus groups with members, interviews with thought leaders, and an environmental scan.

Later this year the task force will submit a draft of the new vision to the Board for its review. The new vision will go to the 2013 House for its consideration.

One of the most debated motions in last year's House resulted in the creation of a task force to review the current model of the PT, physical therapist assistant (PTA), and physical therapy aide (PT aide) as the only participants involved in the delivery of physical therapist services. The task force was also asked to identify potential new models of delivery of these services. A report from the task force was presented to the Board that, among other things, identified 4 models of service delivery that include using support personnel in selected elements of the PT plan of care. Following much rich discussion—which focused on our ability to best meet the needs of our patients/clients now and in the future, and the barriers to accessing physical therapist services—the Board voted to continue the exploration of a new practice model based on the scenarios in the task force report. Because the House will be considering motions this year on this topic, the Board will not take action on the motion it adopted until the House discusses the motions on its agenda in June. Background material to help inform House discussion on this topic will be posted for the delegates on the House of Delegates community.

On the topic of research, I'm happy to report that a workers' compensation study from APTA's health services research pipeline is wrapping up, and the results will soon be disseminated to association members, policymakers, payers, and other stakeholders. APTA will use a communication strategy similar to that of the direct access study last year in which the results were distributed through webinars, an audio conference, press materials, social media, talking points, and a toolkit for chapters and sections.

In addition to getting study results out to members on a regular basis, the goal of the research pipeline is to equip payers with data so that they can make informed decisions rather than indiscriminately reducing payments. Other projects currently in the pipeline include an investigation into home health care readmissions and a clinical education study.

With each Board meeting, recurring themes emerge and connect the various issues we discuss. Whether our conversation focused on payment, practice models, or APTA's vision, the phrases "raise the floor," "demonstrate the value of physical therapy services," "focus on patient-centered care," and "collaborate with other health care providers" surfaced again and again. These are all positive endeavors, and I challenge you to incorporate them in your practice.

Following the conclusion of the Board meeting, a town hall was held on APTA's alternative payment system (APS). Still in a draft format, this new payment model will be pushed to members in the near future through News Now and other communication channels for their review and comments. This proposed payment system is rooted in the severity-intensity concept described in PTJ in October 2011. Under APS, payment for physical therapy services would reflect why a PT performed an intervention, not what intervention was performed. Some have described the model as being "as much about what you do in your head as it is with your hands."

Updates on APS will be provided to members as they become available.

While much work was accomplished during the April Board meeting, much lies ahead. Your Board remains committed to moving forward the association's initiatives that empower and position each and every PT and PTA to better serve our patients and clients.

Monday, October 17, 2011RSS Feed

A Tribute to 2 Leaders of the Profession

APTA recently lost 2 truly remarkable leaders. And although these are losses not only for APTA but for the entire profession of physical therapy, their contributions to the profession and beyond will serve as lasting tributes.

Jayne Snyder, PT, DPT, FAPTA 

Jayne Snyder, PT, DPT, MA, FAPTA died on October 5 of pancreatic cancer.

Jane was an active APTA member since 1969. She served APTA as vice president, on the Board of Directors, and as president of the Foundation for Physical Therapy. In 2004, she received APTA's Federal Government Affairs Leadership Award for her efforts at the federal level to preserve and promote the profession of physical therapy.

Jayne owned and operated Snyder Physical Therapy in Lincoln, Nebraska. She was elected a councilwoman on the City Council of Lincoln in May 2009. She also served as a member of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Board of Health. Jayne served in a consulting role for President Clinton's Economic Package and the Democratic National Committee's Retreat on Health Care Reform.

She began her career in the Lincoln public school system as a physical education and health teacher. Past posts include co-owner of Total Fitness Consultants and director of rehabilitation for Tabitha Inc, both in Lincoln, as well as physical therapist at the University of Nebraska Athletic Department and assistant professor for the university's Division of Physical Therapy Education. A lifetime runner, Jayne completed 50 marathons in 27 separate states.

Her advocacy efforts included the development of the Clinical Research Network and support for the APTA Hooked on Evidence campaign. She worked for health policy reform at multiple levels, including significant contributions to the Guide to Physical Therapist Practice.

Jane Walter Venzke, PT, EdD, FAPTA 

Jane Walter Venzke, PT, EdD, FAPTA, passed away on October 8 after a long illness. Jane was a long time APTA member, serving on state, regional, and national levels including president of the New Hampshire chapter, president of the Section for Education, Board of Directors, and vice president.

Jane attended the University of Connecticut where she received her degree in physical therapy. She was the administrative director of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech pathology at Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital for 12 years before obtaining her MEd degree and becoming the associate director of the Arthritis Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. After earning her EdD degree, she moved to the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she continued her research in rheumatology. In 1993 she became the director of the physical therapy program at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Wishing to fulfill her dream of bringing a physical therapy education program to New Hampshire, Jane returned to New Hampshire to become dean of science and director of the physical therapy program at Notre Dame College in Manchester. After upgrading and revamping the science programs, she went on to become Dean of Health Sciences and established programs in physical therapy and physician assistant studies. When Notre Dame closed, Franklin Pierce University acquired the physical therapy program. Jane ultimately joined the university as associate dean of graduate studies and director of the physical therapy program.

Jane became the dean of Franklin Pierce's College of Graduate and Professional Studies in 2007 where she launched the first doctoral programs at the university and added several new master's level programs.

In 1981 she was appointed by President Reagan to the White House Conference on Aging and to membership of the National Arthritis Advisory Board. She credited these 2 national appointments to her introduction to the politics of public policy.

Leadership Beyond the Association 

APTA will miss both of these remarkable leaders. But what I found particularly revealing was that both shared their leadership skills and sense of responsibility far beyond APTA.

Jayne served on her city council and on the county board of health, and as a national consultant on health care policy. Jane served on 2 national presidentially appointed organizations. Both were active in working to shape public policy.

Both were intimately involved in research-Jayne in her role with the Foundation for Physical Therapy and Jane having written a remarkable collection of research articles, presented numerous poster and podium presentations, and written many book chapters, manuals, and monographs. Although the research efforts of both of these remarkable women will be visible within the profession of physical therapy, the lasting benefits will be experienced by countless patients and clients worldwide.

Although APTA honored both with its highest honor-having named them Catherine Worthingham Fellows-the highest honor that those in the profession can bestow upon them is to emulate their models of dedication, purpose, and leadership.

<< November 2015 >>
Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30