• Wednesday, October 07, 2015RSS Feed

    National Physical Therapy Month Podcast Explores How to #AgeWell Through Physical Activity

    A new podcast produced as part of APTA's #AgeWell campaign is shedding light on the fact that many of the health declines Americans believe are an "inevitable" part of getting older may not be so inevitable after all—and that physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) can help consumers take control.

    MoveForwardPT.com is now offering a recorded interview with Alice Bell, PT, DPT, GCS, that focuses on the "9 Physical Therapist Tips to Help You #AgeWell" being promoted during National Physical Therapy Month. Bell addresses each of the 9 tips and describes how meaningful physical activity can make a difference—particularly when that activity is "reasonable" and "purposeful," 2 qualities that PTs and PTAs can help to ensure.

    "The big message for any chronic disease [is] a healthy diet and engaging in meaningful physical activity," Bell says. "Physical therapists as the movement experts can really help to develop a plan and a strategy with an individual that is going to position them for success."

    Beyond their ability to develop individual plans and strategies, Bell believes that PTs and PTAs are also positioned to create transformations in health care, moving it away from a system that tries to manage costly chronic conditions after the fact, and toward a system that encourages lifestyles that reduce the chances of these conditions ever taking hold in the first place.

    "We have an opportunity to impact an individual in terms of their quality of life, functional performance, and life satisfaction, but we also have the opportunity and the ability to impact the entire population," Bell says in the podcast. "As a physical therapist, I view myself as an important member not just in an individual's health care team, but in an individual's wellness team, and we have the ability to change things dramatically."

    The 9 #AgeWell tips are part of a wider effort to address—and debunk—assumptions about aging and what can be done to combat a range of problems, from diabetes to low back pain, and from osteoporosis to Alzheimer's disease. All of the #AgeWell information for consumers can be accessed at www.moveforwardpt.com/AgeWell. APTA also offers a range of online resources to help PTs and PTAs promote National Physical Therapy Month.

    Tuesday, October 06, 2015RSS Feed

    PTs to Serve on AMA CPT Telehealth Group

    Two physical therapists (PTs) have been named to a multidisciplinary work group that will focus on potential additions and changes to the American Medical Association's (AMA) current procedural terminology (CPT) codes as they relate to telehealth.

    Alan Chong W. Lee, PT, PhD, DPT, CWS, GCS, and Helen Fearon, PT, FAPTA, will join the AMA Telehealth Services Workgroup, chaired by members of the CPT Editorial Panel. According to an AMA announcement, the group comprises "relevant medical specialties/organizations and industry stakeholders."

    The work group will focus on recommending solutions for coding current nontelehealth services delivered using remote technology; addressing the accuracy of current code sets; exploring the possibility of creating new telehealth service codes; and developing or revising the introductory language that guides the coding of telehealth services. All work group recommendations will be presented for consideration by the CPT Editorial Panel.

    Lee is an associate professor of physical therapy at Mount Saint Mary's University in Los Angeles. Fearon is executive vice president of Optimis Corp, a clinical service and software company, and partner in a private practice. Fearon also serves as APTA advisor to the AMA Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) Health Care Professionals Advisory Committee (HCPAC).

    APTA continues to work toward an accurate payment system that recognizes and promotes the clinical judgment of the physical therapist as well as improving quality of care. Contact advocacy staff with questions.

    Want to hear more about telehealth from newly-appointed work group member Alan Chong W. Lee, PT, PhD, DPT, CWS, GCS? Sign up for the live webinar, "Practical Application of Telehealth," presented by Lee and Clay A. Brown, PT, DPT, November 12 from 2:00 pm–3:30 pm, ET.

    Thursday, October 01, 2015RSS Feed

    National Physical Therapy Month Campaign Shows How PTs, PTAs Can Help Americans #AgeWell

    Most Americans expect to live a long life but worry that when it comes to movement, it ain't gonna be pretty. That's the myth that APTA and its members are taking on this October through the #AgeWell campaign launched in recognition of National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM).

    The campaign is built around the idea that while some effects of aging are inevitable, many symptoms and conditions commonly associated with growing older can be delayed—and in some cases prevented—and that physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) can play a vital role transforming the aging process.

    Many of the tips and other information developed by APTA for the #AgeWell campaign are based on responses to a national survey that included questions on Americans' perception of the aging process and their own hopes and fears about aging. That survey found that while 68% of respondents believe they will be able to engage in "the same type" of physical activities at age 65 and older, about half expect to lose strength and flexibility with age. Similarly, while 42% hope to stay healthy as they age, fears loom large, including worries about not being able to live independently and being affected by debilitating disease and chronic conditions.

    The benefits of physical therapy directly address many of these concerns, and APTA has created tools for members to spread the word about aging well. In addition, the association will launch a concurrent ad campaign in the press and on major health-related websites, including health.com, a site that receives over 1.6 million unique visits every month.

    NPTM resources for PTs and PTAs include:

    Other resources will be rolled out during NPTM, including podcasts that take a deeper dive into healthy aging.

    Tuesday, September 29, 2015RSS Feed

    State Policy and Payment Forum: Legislative Leaders Honored for Direct Access Advocacy Efforts, Fair Copays, Scope of Practice, More

    Fair physical therapy copays, direct access to physical therapist (PT) services, a complete overhaul of a state's practice act, leading a charge to eliminate a referral requirement for spinal manipulation, and a physical therapy advocacy record of over 25 years were among the accomplishments of this year's APTA State Legislative Leadership and Legislative Commitment award winners recognized at the association's recent State Policy and Payment Forum in Denver.

    Marc Lacroix, PT, MBA, received the APTA State Legislative Commitment award for more than 2 decades of advocacy efforts on behalf of PTs in New Hampshire. During that time, Lacroix was involved in practice act revisions, title protection efforts, improvements to direct access, and the passage of fair PT copay legislation.

    In her remarks at the awards presentation, APTA President Sharon Dunn PT, PhD, OCS, said that Lacroix exemplified the quality celebrated in the award—a long-term commitment to "build … chapters' resources, infrastructure, and overall state-level advocacy efforts."

    Winners of this year's State Legislative Leadership awards were:

    • Don Blackburn, PT, legislative chair of the APTA New Mexico Chapter. During 2015, Blackburn led an aggressive state legislative agenda in pursuit of fair PT copays and successful enactment of legislation that removed restrictions on direct access.
    • Joe Donnelly, PT, DHS, OCS, Georgia Chapter president. Donnelly spearheaded a successful effort to implement what Dunn described as "one of the most extensive physical therapy practice act revisions in the country in recent years." The legislation improved patient access, added term and title protection, and a new, modern scope of practice.
    • Mary Kay Hannah, PT, DPT, OCS, SCS. A North Carolina resident, Hannah does not have a formal position in the state chapter, but personally took on an effort to change the state's referral requirement for spinal manipulation by a PT. Hannah's leadership generated more than 100 letters from physicians in support for a bill to change the requirement, and she singlehandedly raised more than $15,000 for the chapter's PAC.

    2015 - State Advocacy Award Winners
    From left: Marc Lacroix, APTA President Sharon Dunn,
    Joe Donnelly, Mary Kay Hannah, and Don Blackburn.

    The awards were part a State Policy and Payment Forum that drew more than 230 PTs, physical therapist assistants (PTAs), and physical therapy student advocates from across the country. The September 19-21 event, cohosted with the Colorado Chapter, was designed to increase participants' involvement in and knowledge of the state issues that have an impact on the practice of physical therapy, and improve their advocacy efforts at the state level.

    This year's forum featured a mix of presentations on direct access and practice act revision legislative efforts, insurance transparency legislation, network adequacy and consolidation, dry needling, using press and social media in advocacy efforts, information on the proposed interstate licensure compact for physical therapy, Medicaid, and more.

    In addition to a focus on providing inspiration for future advocacy efforts, the event was also a celebration of a successful year of state advocacy in 2015. Those successes have been captured in a new infographic that shows how work at the state level has affected the lives of patients, PTs, and PTAs. More information on individual state legislative efforts can be found at APTA's State Advocacy webpage (scroll down to "Briefs").


     2015 - State Advocacy Infographic

    Thursday, September 24, 2015RSS Feed

    'The Enterprising PT' Debuts This Week

    Drive, resourcefulness, creativity: these aren't "nice-to-have" qualities for a physical therapist (PT). They're the tools that will help you—and the profession—survive the changes taking place in health care.

    Coming on Thursday, September 24: "The Enterprising PT," chapter 2 of APTA's 4-part series, "Physical Therapy: A Profession in Transformation." The newest chapter focuses on how innovation, collaboration, and entrepreneurship are a part of the professional DNA of the PT, and provides useful resources to get you thinking about your own role in keeping the profession—and your own practice—vibrant and engaged.

    As with chapter 1 of the series, "The Enterprising PT" is designed to connect the dots by putting you in touch with a range of resources that you may not have seen or had the time to investigate before.

    The series will run through the rest of the year. In addition to the series being posted on the association's website, all members subscribed to APTA's PT in Motion News emails will receive an additional email every time a new chapter is published.

    Wednesday, September 23, 2015RSS Feed

    'Inside APTA' Podcast: The 2016 APTA Strategic Plan

    Want a little more background on the 2016 APTA strategic plan? You can't get much closer to the source than this.

    A new podcast from APTA features APTA Board of Directors member Kathy Mairella, PT, DPT, MA, chair of the strategic planning board work group, talking about the hows and whys of the strategic plan unveiled in mid-September. The plan is intended to serve as a roadmap for achieving the association's vision of "transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience."

    In the podcast, the first of a new "Inside APTA" series, Mariella discusses the role of the vision in the creation of the plan, the methodology used in its development, and how the 8 guiding principles of the vision are incorporated into the new plan.

    Mairella points out that while the plan adds a layer of specificity, it's still a broad document that isn't intended to list every important initiative or activity of the association. As an example she cites the association's federal advocacy efforts and public policy priorities, which are not specifically mentioned in the plan but are "still as important as ever."

    During the interview, Mairella also emphasizes the role the individual physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and physical therapy students can play in working toward the vision, and how an understanding of the strategic plan can directly affect an individual member.

    "Individual members will also need to live the vision in order for it to be fully realized, and that's where a clear understanding of the strategic plan and priorities would be helpful," Mairella said. "Some of the objectives of the strategic plan are way too big for one person to solve alone, but there are others that individuals can easily support."

    Monday, September 21, 2015RSS Feed

    PT Inventors Among Those Honored by Smithsonian

    When the going gets tough, the tough physical therapists (PTs) get inventing, and the results can be truly transformative.

    The Smithsonian Institution would agree.

    This month, a "prone progressive crawler" device developed by 2 PTs will be among 13 projects selected by the Smithsonian's Museum of American History to be featured in an upcoming celebration of collaboration between the Institution and the US Patent and Trademark Office. The "Innovation Festival" scheduled for September 26 and 27 will bring the public in contact with inventors, chosen by way of a juried process, who are "creating the world of the future," according to a museum announcement.

    Among those honored inventors: H. Thubi Kolobe, PT, PhD, FAPTA, and Peter E. Pidcoe, PT, DPT, PhD, co-patent recipients for the Self-Initiated Prone Progressive Crawler (SIPPC), a device that combines a skateboard-like platform with a "high-tech onesie" that helps infants with developmental delays avoid learned non-use/disuse. Kolobe is a researcher at the College of Allied Health in the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center (OUHSC); Pidcoe is on faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University's Department of Physical Therapy and has joint appointments in the School of Engineering's Department of Biomedical Engineering and the School of Medicine's Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

    According to an article in the OUHSC newsletter (pdf), the SIPPC creates an interface between clothing worn by the infant and a device that can help the child move: the special onesie worn by infants using the SIPPC is a "kinematic capture suit" that delivers movement data to researchers, allowing them to in turn fine-tune the board so that it responds to the initiation of a movement and helps the child move across the floor. The invention is intended to reward the infant with movement and provide early successes that the child can learn to repeat, so that crucial brain connections are made at a key time in the child's development.

    Thanks in part to a grant from the National Science Foundation, the SIPPC continues to evolve and can now be used in conjunction with a special cap with multiple sensors that monitor electrical activity in the child's brain. Many of the components of the SIPCC were developed in cooperation with the UO Biomedical Engineering Center in the Gallogly College of Engineering.

    The SIPCC will take its place in the festival alongside projects from NASA, Oak Ridge Laboratories, Ford Motor Company, the US Department of Agriculture, and others.

    In the announcement from the museum, John Gray, museum director, describes the festival as part of an approach that "looks at innovation as a way of continuing to tell the story of America," and that "gives visitors the opportunity to discover inventions and meet the people who design and create such innovations."

    Thursday, September 17, 2015RSS Feed

    Revised APTA Strategic Plan Locks In On APTA Vision

    APTA’s vision gives the profession and the association a point on the horizon to pursue. Now the association has an updated map for getting there.

    Available at apta.org: the 2016 APTA strategic plan, the document that will guide the association over the next 3-5 years as it works to makes its vision of "transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience" a reality.

    The plan addresses 3 areas of transformation—society, the physical therapy profession, and the association—and identifies objectives in each area. The objectives in turn help APTA identify operational activities that can help to achieve these objectives.

    Far from a static document, the APTA strategic plan is intended to be a resource that will evolve based on environmental changes and member input, and one that resonates with APTA's 8 guiding principles of the vision: Identity, Quality, Collaboration, Value, Innovation, Consumer-Centricity, Accessibility, and Advocacy.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2015RSS Feed

    The Good Stuff: Members and the Profession in Local News

    "The Good Stuff," is an occasional series that highlights recent, mostly local media coverage of physical therapy and APTA members, with an emphasis on good news and stories of how individual PTs and PTAs are transforming health care and society every day. Enjoy!

    "My grandmother was all for anything that you could learn. And I didn't mind. I was terribly curious." – Emma Jane Wilder, 95, one of Nebraska's first licensed PTs, while being provided a tour of the new Health Science Education Complex at the University of Nebraska – Kearney. (Kearny Hub)

    "Helping Babies With Neuromuscular Disorders Crawl and Explore the World" – feature story on Peter Pidcoe, PT, DPT, PhD, and his Prone Progressive Crawler device. (Medical Xpress)

    Physical therapist student Monique Pineros has been featured in a profile highlighting her journey from Caldwell University to Quinnipiac University—a journey that includes physical therapy mission work in Guatemala. (Caldwell University News)

    "The future for a physical therapy career looks very bright for Chicago and all across the nation." ("Future Looks Bright for Chicago Physical Therapists," CBS 2, Chicago)

    "You don't get better faster by working harder. It's really that you need to work appropriately for the situation." – Heather Senn, PTA, on a program she provided to Sun City, Nevada, residents titled "Exercising Safely: Coming Back After Surgery." (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

    Heidi Jannenga, PT, DPT, ATC/L, and Kay Wing, PT, DPT, GCS, NCS, have been nominated tor a Phoenix, Arizona, Chamber of Commerce "Athena" award given to "women in the community who exemplify strong characteristics of hard work and community involvement." (Phoenix Business Journal)

    An Oregon news program gets tips from PTs on how to avoid overuse injuries in child athletes. (KGW News, Hillsboro, Oregon)

    Brace Hayden, PT, DPT, CSCS, OCS, finds an innovative way to help a patient manage her Mal de Debarquement syndrome. (Missoula, Montana Missoulian)

    “This has really helped more than anything, I can live a regular life.” – Carmel High School (New York) junior Breanna Hennessey on the vestibular rehabilitation provided by Vicki Seppell, PT. (Hudson Valley News Network)

    Got some good stuff? Let us know. Send a link to troyelliott@apta.org.

    Wednesday, September 02, 2015RSS Feed

    Your Input Needed on PT Professional Scope of Practice

    So what exactly is the physical therapist's (PT's) professional scope of practice, and how would you go about describing it as a definition rather than a list of things PTs do? Now's your chance to weigh in.

    All APTA members are invited to provide input on the APTA Board of Directors' efforts to create a broad definition of the PT professional scope of practice. The idea behind the project is to create a global description of practice that aims to be an overall description rather than a set of procedures and functions.

    Members can evaluate and comment on the draft scope and the guiding principles behind it by visiting an APTA webpage set aside for the survey. Deadline for responses is September 11. Send your completed surveys to Practice-Dept@apta.org.