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  • The Good Stuff: Members and the Profession in the Media, March 2020

    "The Good Stuff" is an occasional series that highlights recent 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. More than ever these days, we need to know there’s good stuff out there. Enjoy!

    There's no place but home: Jacob Kmiecik, PT, DPT, provides tips on wellness for people working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.(KING5 News, Seattle)

    When tech's a pain: Colleen Louw, PT, offers five tips that can help undo muscle tension associated with the use of phones, computers, and other tech. (Real Simple)

    Custom tai chi: Jennifer Penrose, PT, DPT, has developed tai chi and yoga programs customized to her patients and clients.(Thurston County, Washington, Thurston Talk)

    Wii will rock you: Jeanette Tousignant, PT, explains how her clinic uses videogame technology to help address balance deficits.(UPMatters.com)

    Bike to fight cancer: Catherine Kennedy, PT, DPT, MS, explains her approach to encouraging stationary bike exercise to patients in the Comer Children's Hospital pediatric unit in Chicago, which has received a donated bike as part of "Bike to Fight," an initiative started by a pediatric cancer survivor.(Washington Post)

    Dilation training: Sara Reardon, PT, DPT, outlines why vaginal dilators can help decrease vaginismus pain. (insider.com)

    Data dive: Lee Marinko, PT, BSPT, ScD, is part of a Boston University Physical Therapy Center project that collects extensive patient data to create personalized plans of care. (Mirage News)

    Ruck and roll: Michael Polascik PT, BSPT, ATC, DScPT, and Don Walsh PT, DPT, MS, are part of a research team monitoring the physiological responses of U.S. Army Corps of Cadets soldiers during "ruck marches" conducted in full combat gear while shouldering a 35-pound sack. (University of North Georgia News)

    Exercising with joint pain: Anne Marie Bierman, PT, DPT, suggests five workouts that should be considered by individuals who are experiencing joint pain. (sheknows.com)

    Improving batting averages: Kelly Chance, PT, helps a local quilt guild understand how to reduce muscle strain while working on their projects.(Victoria, Texas, Advocate)

    Protecting and serving the protectors and servers: Sarah Greytak, PT, DPT, and Daniel Jonte, PT, are part of a newly created program that has embedded a physical therapy program within the Denver Police Department. (CBS4 News, Denver)

    Quotable: "While I personally enjoy utilizing a variety of body-work professionals, I do believe physical therapists are the movement specialists. They are trained to look at muscular balance, fatigue, neuromuscular control and much more. Physical therapists are not just for surgical recovery anymore! In many areas your physical therapist can be your first entry point into medical care and help get you back to moving pain-free! "– Dana Reid, on the importance of seeking out a PT for treatment of running-related injuries. (womensrunning.com)

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

    Alert: Suspect 'Checks' Are Making the Rounds

    It isn't really payment for services — it's a tactic that makes it easy for you to unwittingly agree to join a provider network.

    Did you recently receive what appears to be a check for payment of services from a national proprietary provider network? Be careful: It may not be what you think.

    APTA has been made aware that some PTs are receiving what looks like a check but is in fact an agreement to participate in a provider network. The fine print that accompanies the check makes it clear: Endorsing and cashing or depositing this check constitutes acceptance of network participation, and acceptance and agreement of all terms and conditions of the agreement. APTA is sharing this information with you as a reminder of the importance of thoroughly reading all information from a payer or third-party administrator, or TPA.

    Before cashing or depositing checks from payers or third-party administrators make sure you are aware of any conditions associated with its processing. If you have office staff that manages checks received by your clinic, it is strongly recommended that you inform them of this practice and the need for you to be alerted to this type of communication from a payer or TPA.

    If you have questions or concerns contact advocacy@apta.org. Additionally, if you have been solicited by a network such as the one described above please let us know. For more information regarding managed care contracting, visit the APTA Commercial Insurance webpage.

    Please share this information with your colleagues.

    APTA Launches Fundraising Campaign for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    The first 10,000 people to contribute at least $10 will have their name included on the Community Wall at APTA’s new headquarters.

    APTA’s centennial is fewer than nine months away, but already the association is building a foundation for its next 100 years.

    Today, APTA opened online donations for the Campaign for Future Generations, a two-year fundraising initiative to support the association’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

    The campaign aligns with the association’s current strategic plan, which includes a goal to foster the long-term sustainability of the profession by making APTA an inclusive organization that reflects the diversity of the society the profession serves.

    APTA has a long history of providing support to PT and PTA students and faculty of ethnic and racial minorities through the Minority Scholarship Fund, which is included in the campaign. In addition, the Dimensions of Diversity Fund has been established to support additional DEI initiatives, as approved by APTA’s Board of Directors. Unrestricted donations made to the association’s Physical Therapy Fund also would support the Dimensions of Diversity Fund or the Minority Scholarship Fund, as needed.

    APTA will also donate any net proceeds from its centennial year events and activities to support the Campaign for Future Generations.

    “As we think about the profession and association we want to be in our next century, we have to be intentional about DEI,” said APTA President Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD. “It was important to our board that we use our centennial year to establish a legacy gift that will support the stewardship of our association and profession.”

    APTA is already expanding its efforts on DEI. For example, last year APTA conducted or attended 25 recruitment events, reaching over 10,000 students, parents, teachers, and guidance counselors to improve pipelines to the profession. APTA also is advocating for the Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act, which creates a scholarship program for individuals from underrepresented populations for the fields of physical therapy, occupational therapy, audiology, and speech-language pathology.

    DEI was also a theme of President Dunn’s 2018 and 2019 annual addresses to the House of Delegates.

    What you can do:

    Coronavirus Reports: What We Know, and What We Don't

    Every day there are new developments in the spread of coronavirus — also known as COVID-19 — but there are also debates among experts on how the disease is spread and its impact on people who become infected. While overall risk of catching the disease is low, health care professionals are at higher risk. APTA reminds PTs and PTAs to follow precautions for reducing the spread of infectious diseases — an important aspect of health care to be mindful of at all times, not just during periods of high risk.

    Since the disease first appeared in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, it has affected over 92,000 people in more than 70 countries on every continent. As of the afternoon of March 3, the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker registered 108 COVID-19 cases in the United States, including six deaths.

    Note: at this time all APTA national events are continuing as scheduled. Contact APTA member services if you have questions related to attendance of an upcoming event.

    As with all public health situations, we primarily rely on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, and the U.S. Office of the Surgeon General for the best information and preventive strategies.

    Here is a roundup of what is being reported by public health and infectious disease experts:

    The World Health Organization says risk of global spread "very high." (Bloomberg)
    On Monday, March 2, WHO increased its warning of global spread and impact risk from "high" to "very high." In response to the disease's spread, many countries have tightened border controls, restricted flights, shut down schools, and cancelled large events. (The CDC provides a travel update webpage.)

    The average infected patient spreads the virus to 2.2 others. (NEJM)
    Researchers in China estimate that on average individuals with COVID-19 have been spreading the illness to at least 2 people, compared with 3 with SARS. Authors write, "Measures to prevent or reduce transmission should be implemented in populations at risk." According to the CDC, among travel-related U.S. cases there has been "no sustained person-to-person transmission" of symptomatic COVID-19.

    The mortality rate is estimated around 3.4%, but some say it may be less than that. (Reuters)
    While the current mortality rate from COVID-19 is approximately 3.4%, some experts say that the mortality rate could be much lower because many carriers with mild or no symptoms may not be identified.

    Experts are unsure why some recovered patients appear to become reinfected. (Reuters)
    In confirmed cases in Japan and China, some recovered patients have again tested positive for COVID-19 but were not contagious. Experts are uncertain whether these are new infections. People could become reinfected because they didn't build up enough antibodies while they were infected the first time, but it's also possible that the virus could lie dormant and symptoms could reappear again later.

    Debate still is under way about transmission via hard surfaces. (Reuters)
    While experts agree that the virus is mainly transmitted by respiratory droplets in the air — coughing or sneezing on a person — research is ongoing on whether hard surfaces are a significant route of transmission. CDC Director Robert Redfield told Congress, "On copper and steel it's pretty typical, it's pretty much about two hours, but I will say on other surfaces — cardboard or plastic — it's longer, and so we are looking at this." (WHO recommends disinfecting any hard surfaces.)

    The Surgeon General discourages masks for non-health care providers. (CNN Health)
    U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, asks the public to stop buying face masks to prevent COVID-19 infection. According to Adams, it results in a shortage for the health care providers who need them, and people who wear them incorrectly could actually increase their chance of being infected.

    To keep abreast of evidence-based news on COVID-19, here a few free reputable sources:

    A Space Odyssey: Architects and PTs Talk Clinic Design

    When architect Maryam Katouzian says "one size does not fit all" in terms of physical therapy clinics, Lauren Lobert, PT, DPT, likely couldn't agree more. Katouzian is part of the architectural team that designed the Ivy Mountain Musculoskeletal Center, a 194,000-square-foot facility for the University of Virginia now under construction. Lobert, meanwhile, is the proud owner of a 1,300 square-foot clinic repurposed from a strip mall clothing store in Brighton, Michigan.

    Yet Katouzian and Lobert have a common vision: creating the most effective spaces for patients, no matter the scale of the endeavor.

    This month in PT in Motion magazine: "Designing for the Future" a Q&A session featuring six individuals — a mix of PTs, architects, and executives — who have been involved in creating or recreating clinic spaces. Those spaces range not only from large to small clinics, but from multifacility plans to a clinic subarea devoted to patients’ family and caregivers. In one case, the project even involved downsizing.

    Interviewees answer questions about their overall goals when designing the new space, use of architects in the process, involvement of patients in design, and lessons learned along the way. The range of perspectives and approaches makes it clear that the one-size-doesn't-fit-all concept applies to far more than just square footage.

    "Designing for the Future" is featured in the March issue of PT in Motion magazine and is open to all viewers — pass it along to nonmember colleagues to show them one of the benefits of belonging to APTA.

    PT, PTA Education Leadership Institute Accepting Applications for Award-Winning Program

    Being a director for a PT or PTA education program can seem as lonely as it is overwhelming — but it doesn't have to be that way. Again in 2020, APTA is inviting a select group of emerging and current program directors to its Education Leadership Institute, a program that provides opportunities to learn from mentors and each other in ways that will enhance their own work and strengthen the profession. Applications are being accepted through March 15, 2020.

    The yearlong program, also known as ELI, uses a blended learning approach (online and onsite components) to help directors in physical therapy education programs develop the skills and resources they need to become innovative, influential, and visionary leaders. The institute is highly rated by past participants and in 2019 earned national recognition from the American Society of Association Executives for its innovative programming.

    ELI is a collaborative effort of APTA, the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy, the Academy of the Physical Therapy Education, and the Physical Therapist Assistant Educators Special Interest Group. It is accredited by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education.

    Considering the fellowship experience? Check out video testimonials of ELI graduates. Questions? Contact annereicherter@apta.org.

    '100 Milestones of Physical Therapy' Celebrates the Profession's Proud History

    Think there's nothing special about history of the physical therapy profession? We've got 100 reasons you should think again.

    Now available: "100 Milestones of Physical Therapy," a web-based, multimedia journey through the past 99 years of the profession, beginning with APTA's founding in the wake of World War I through the celebration of the association's centennial, coming in 2021. The timeline touches on not just the history of the profession and the association, but the ways in which the profession affected the broader U.S. health care system — events such as the enactment of Medicare legislation in 1965, the signing of Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, the elimination of the hard cap on therapy services under Medicare in 2018, and more.

    The layout of the milestones page makes for easy browsing, allowing visitors to dive more deeply into any of the achievements listed, and to select a specific year from a running index. The new resource includes fascinating photos from historical moments, and features audio and video of some of the profession's greats, including Florence Kendall, Helen Hislop, and Charles Magistro.

    "Putting these milestones together was a labor of love, and a moving reminder of how passion and dedication are an inherent part of the therapy profession," said Emilio J. Rouco, MA, APTA's director of public and media relations who headed up the project. "APTA has an amazing story to tell, and one that should make members proud."

    The milestones listing is the latest addition to APTA's website celebrating the association's upcoming centennial. In addition to getting in touch with the profession's history, visitors to the site can also stay up to date with the latest plans for celebrations and other special events in 2021 and find out how to participate in centennial related service activities.

    The Good Stuff: Members and the Profession in the Media, February 2020

    "The Good Stuff" is an occasional series that highlights recent 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!

    Walk(er) this way? Karen Litzy PT, DPT, and Rob Landel, PT, DPT, FAPTA, weigh in on whether alleged sex offender Harvey Weinstein is using a walker to garner sympathy during his trial. (Hollywood Reporter)

    A virtual reality reality: Kirsten Siggs, PT, DPT, describes the benefits of a new virtual therapy headset targeted at helping kids engage in needed exercise. (WTSP 10 News, Tampa)

    Quotable: “I think it’s pretty awesome for students to help develop other people and help themselves at the same time. Every student I have worked with always listened to what I had to say about what they were doing during therapy, positive or negative, and used it to learn. They all have had great attitudes and are a lot of fun to be around, and we spend a lot of time together.” – Phil Reinoehl, a patient who worked with physical therapy students from Trine University during the past five years of his rehab. (Fort Wayne, Indiana, Business Weekly)

    Getting the most out of physical therapy: Nicole Haas, PT, DPT, offers tips on how patients and clients can maximize their experience in physical therapy. (Outside)

    Shagadelic: Judy Abel, PT, is one of the cofounders of Eugene, Oregon-based SHAG — Sexuality Health Advocacy Group — a group focused on helping health care providers understand the importance of asking patients about their sexual health. (Eugene Weekly)

    Pillow talk: Eric Robertson, PT, DPT, shares his thoughts on what to keep in mined when considering a cushion for back pain. (Bustle)

    When resolutions are a pain: Anna Friedman, PT, provides pointers on how to identify and address pains associated with getting back into a more consistent exercise schedule. (Q13 News, Seattle)

    On the President's council: Kathryn Lucas PT, DPT, has been named to the President's Council on Sports, Fitness and Nutrition Science governing board. (health.gov)

    Long stretches of sitting: Ryan Balmes, DPT, outlines stretches and positions for people who sit most of the day. (Well + Good)

    Quotable: "Intense physical therapy, which worked wonders. I'm back in the gym now, running like I was before, pretty much doing everything I was before, which is wonderful." ‒ Emily Wasil, on how physical therapy helped her to overcome the pain of a labral tear. (WBAL11 News, Baltimore)

    Overcoming a slump: Audra Stawicki, PT, DPT, offers ideas for improving posture. (sheknows.com)

    Hip to movement: Tom Pitney, PT, DPT, ATC, stresses the importance of moving as soon as possible after hip replacement surgery. (WBBH2 News, Fort Myers, Florida)

    Quotable: "You gotta get yourself to a physical therapist, figure out what's causing those aches and pains, strengthen your muscles, and keep going." – Christie Brinkley providing advice on healthy aging. (Union Journal)

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

    2020 APTA Federal Advocacy Forum Will Feature Impressive Line-up; Registration Closes March 16

    APTA is gearing up for this year's APTA Federal Advocacy Forum, where members will have the opportunity to go to Capitol Hill to advocate on key legislation affecting the profession, including patient access to care, student loan forgiveness via the National Health Service Corps, prior authorization, and the proposal by Medicare to cut reimbursement to physical therapy in 2021.

    But the advocacy trip is just one part of the forum: The event also features educational sessions and opportunities to hear from speakers with important insights on political action and advocacy. This year's speaker lineup includes:

    Paul Begala. Begala, the forum's keynote speaker, is a political analyst and commentator at CNN. An affiliated professor of public policy at Georgetown University, Begala served as counselor to President Bill Clinton.

    Bradford Fitch. Monday's breakfast will feature Bradford Fitch, president and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that advises congressional offices on how to improve operations and advises citizens on how to improve communications to Congress. Fitch has spent 30 years in Washington as a journalist, congressional aide, consultant, college instructor, internet entrepreneur, and writer/researcher. Fitch is the author of several books, including Citizen’s Handbook to Influencing Elected Officials and Media Relations Handbook for Agencies, Associations, Nonprofits and Congress.

    Theresa Marko, PT, DPT, MS. Theresa Marko is one of the profession's most dynamic advocates. Marko is a member of APTA's Public Policy & Advocacy Committee, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists’ Practice Committee, and the Private Practice Section's Government Affairs Committee. Marko regularly goes to the District of Columbia and her state capitol in Albany to lobby for issues important to the physical therapy profession. She has been a guest speaker on patient and physical therapist advocacy at Columbia University and LaGuardia College, and recently authored a blog post for APTA on the importance of advocacy.

    Thomas Barba, PT, MPT. An active leader and volunteer in the profession, Barba serves as Federal Affairs Liaison for the Michigan chapter of APTA, Federal Advocacy Key Contact for the APTA and the Private Practice Section, and a member of the PPS Annual Conference Program Work Group. In addition, Barba is a member of the Michigan chapter board of directors and serves on the advisory boards for Delta College PTA Program and Bay Area ISD for Health Professionals.

    Want to get a feel for what the Federal Advocacy Forum is all about? Check out the video recap of the 2019 forum on the APTA Federal Advocacy Forum webpage. And if you're in the mood for a little pre-Forum inspiration don't miss this great read from a veteran advocate Eva Norman, PT, DPT, "You Cannot Complain if You're Not Involved."

    APTA Volunteer Opportunities Available

    Ready to step up your participation in APTA? Calls are now open for several Board of Directors-appointed groups.

    The Board is seeking volunteers for the reference, ethics and judicial, finance and audit, public policy and advocacy, and scientific and practice affairs committees; as well as APTA awards subcommittees on advocacy, education, lectures, practice and service, publications, research, scholarships, and Catherine Worthingham Fellows. Deadline for making your interest known is February 28, 2020, for all groups except the Reference Committee, which has a March 1 deadline. More information on the opportunities can be found on APTA's volunteer groups webpage.

    To apply, visit APTA Engage, the association's volunteer portal. In addition to the Board-appointed groups, the site features a dynamic list of opportunities ranging from one-time, low time-commitment, locally based options to long-term volunteer positions at both the chapter and national levels.

    Tip: Even if you're not interested in current openings, consider creating an APTA Engage profile soon to make the process that much easier when other opportunities present themselves. Questions? Contact denakilgore@apta.org.