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  • The Good Stuff: Members and the Profession in the Media, August 2019

    "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!

    PT compassion: Paul Erwin, PT, DPT, provides care and friendship to Yousef Zein, a 16-year-old refugee from Syria who has a brittle bone condition. (lancasteronline.com)

    What's best in the long run: Mike Moravec, PT, DPT, provides tips on the best ways to prep for a marathon. (Scottsbluff, NE, Star-Herald)

    "So every kid can play": Maria Fragala-Pinkham, PT, DPT, MS, helps to lead an adaptive baseball program for kids in the Boston area. (WBZ4 News, Boston)

    When cryotherapy's not cool: Michael Conlon, PT, explains the proper use of cryotherapy and what may have led to Oakland Raider Antonio Brown experiencing frostbite from the treatment. (The Ringer)

    5 signs your baby may need physical therapy: Magdalena Oledzka, PT, DPT, PhD, discusses infant characteristics that may indicate the need for pediatric physical therapy. (Romper)

    Softening fall rates: Lindsey Nordstrom, PT, DPT, stresses the importance of falls prevention in helping to curb the rising number of falls being experienced by adults who are older. (La Salle, IL, News-Tribune)

    Brace yourself—or not: Robert Gillanders, PT, DPT, discusses the pros and cons of knee braces. (Creakyjoints)

    Taking control of arthritis pain: Randy Siy, PT, makes the case for physical activity's role in managing pain related to arthritis.(WJZ13 News, Baltimore)

    Aching for a healthy back: Karen Joubert, PT, DPT, offers daily routines to help alleviate back pain. (KTLA5 News, Los Angeles)

    Pelvic tilt: Carrie Pagliano, PT, DPT, explains structural pelvic tilt and how to address it. (Openfit)

    When PTs rein: Sara Montgomery, PT, DPT, shares thoughts on how the Equine Assisted Therapy Alaska hippotherapy program is improving area kids' lives. (KTUU2 News, Anchorage, AK)

    Who ordered a side of pain? Kati Mihvec-Edwards, PT, DPT, discusses strategies for runners who experience side stitches. (Popsugar)

    Exercise and recovery poststroke: Elizabeth Regan, PT, DPT, and Stacy Fritz, PT, DPT, PhD, discuss findings from their research into the benefits of aerobic exercise for individuals poststroke. (US News and World Report)

    Pulmonary rehab's breath of fresh air: Noah Greenspan, PT, DPT, provides a vibrant, nonconformist, and fun setting for patients who visit his New York-based pulmonary rehab clinic. (COPD News Today)

    A weighty topic: Matt Ernst, PT, MPT, offers tips on safe backpack weight, fit, and use for kids returning to school. (WKRC Local12 News, Cincinnati)

    Exercise and DMD: Claudia Senesac, PT, PhD, outlines how to create effective exercise programs for boys with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. (Muscular Dystrophy News Today)

    Blanket rules? Theresa Marko, PT, DPT, MS, explains the potential recovery benefits of weighted blankets. (Muscle & Fitness)

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

    Physical Therapy Gets Low (Tech)

    There's a place for virtual reality treadmills, robotic exoskeletons, and motion-capture sensors—just not in Eva Norman's car trunk.

    Eva Norman, PT, DPT, president of a mobile wellness practice in Minnesota, is one of the physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapy device industry professionals who share their thoughts on "unplugged" equipment for "In Praise of Low-Tech Tools," an article in the August edition of PT in Motion magazine.

    Norman's business model, which brings providers including PTs to patients and clients, includes the use of what she calls a provider "toolbox," aka a car trunk. That toolbox contains items such as ankle weights, foam pads, resistance bands, and foam rollers—the "evergreen" tools of the rehab trade, according to Norman. She emphasizes that "all of the tools we use must be practical for our purposes—portable, easy to use, durable, and low-cost for people to purchase for themselves."

    Author and PT in Motion Associate Editor Eric Ries explores how PTs are using low-tech tools, and conveys manufacturers' views on the staying power of stability balls, hand exercisers, yoga mats, and the like. Bottom line: They aren’t going away anytime soon.

    A big reason for the enduring popularity of low-tech tools is that they work, of course. But Ryan Bussman, marketing director of Orthopedic Physical Therapy Products, tells PT in Motion that there's another reason: They allow PTs to do what they truly love.

    "Physical therapists always will prioritize putting their hands on patients, and the sorts of tactile tools that go along with that," Bussman says in the article. "Will they still have uses for the 'sexy' stuff? Absolutely. Those things have their time and place. But the simple stuff will always be around."

    "In Praise of Low-Tech Tools," featured in the August issue of PT in Motion magazine, is open to all viewers—pass it along to nonmember colleagues to show them 1 of the benefits of belonging to APTA. Also open to all: "Greetings From PTs and PTAs Who Travel," an article on the life of the travel PT and PTA, and "Recruiting Tomorrow's PTs and PTAs," a look at the ways PTs, PTAs, students, and educators work to bring newcomers into the profession.

    Gregory Hicks Appointed to APTA’s Board of Directors

    Gregory Hicks, PT, PhD, FAPTA, has been appointed by the APTA Board of Directors (Board) to complete the leadership term of Sheila K. Nicholson, PT, DPT, MBA, MA, following her death in June this year.

    Hicks, who has been an APTA member for 17 years, is chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of Delaware, where he also is director of the school’s Advancing Diversity in Physical Therapy program, known as ADaPT.

    In 2018, Hicks was named a Catherine Worthingham Fellow, APTA’s highest membership category, for demonstrating unwavering efforts to advance the physical therapy profession through leadership, influence, and achievement. Also that year, he received the University of Delaware College of Health Sciences’ inaugural Diversity Advocate Award.

    “My Board colleagues and I are elated that Greg has consented to serve our association,” said APTA President Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD, board-certified orthopaedic clinical specialist. “Greg will bring wisdom, experience, and leadership to help propel our pursuit of APTA’s 3-year strategic plan.”

    Hicks’ Board service begins immediately and ends with the completion of Nicholson’s 3-year term in June 2020, at which point the vacant seat will be filled through the annual slate of candidates process and election by the House of Delegates.

    The Good Stuff: Members and the Profession in the Media, July 2019

    "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!

    "Life is always going to find a way": Dakota Kay, PT, DPT, who grew up in the Navajo Nation in Kayenta, Arizona, endured hunger and homelessness in pursuit of his undergraduate degree and DPT. (Inside Edition)

    Back to basics: Theresa Marko, PT, DPT, MS, explains the importance of exercise that strengthens the lower back. (livestrong.com)

    Staying strong and giving back: Nelson Almeida, PT, DPT, describes how he doesn't allowing speaking with a stutter to stand in the way of being a great PT, and how he's helping other individuals with stutters become confident in their abilities. (WLRN News, Miami)

    The hip new thing: Karena Wu, PT, DPT, shares her perspectives on how to choose the best pillow for hip pain. (bustle.com)

    Mythbuster: Chris Wilson, PT, debunks 6 common myths about back pain and how to treat it. (Wasilla, Alaska, Frontiersman)

    Gaining in the poles: Jon Schultz. PT, MPT, has launched a Nordic urban poling program at his clinic. (WFLA News 8, Tampa, Florida)

    A song of ice and…heat: Robert Gillanders, PT, DPT, evaluates the pros and cons of ice baths and hot therapy for recovery. (Yahoo! Lifestyle)

    Hanging leg tuck and overhead throw, anyone? Amy Schultz, PT, DPT, explains why the hardest exercises in the US Army's new fitness test may be good for cyclists. (Bicycling)

    PT Ninja Warrior: Conor Galvin, SPT, has been wowing viewers across the country with his skills on "American Ninja Warrior." (Riverhead, New York, Times-Review)

    Water you waiting for? Patrice Hazan, PT, DPT, MA, provides tips on exercises that can be performed while in the pool with family and friends. ("Your Carolina," WSPA TV, Spartanburg, South Carolina)

    Rising falls numbers, and what to do about them: Mindy Renfro, PT, DPT, PhD, and Leslie Allison, PT, PhD, editor of the Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy, discuss recent research into rising rates of falls-related deaths among Americans who are older, and how falls prevention programs can help made a positive change. (Kaiser Health News)

    Physical therapy's role in addressing developmental delays: Beth Ennis, PT, EdD, explores the role pediatric physical therapy can play in helping children develop. (MD-Update)

    Finding that tweet spot for phone-viewing: Eric Robertson, PT, DPT, has some suggestions for avoiding neck pain from overuse of handheld devices. (Popular Science)

    Exercise after giving birth: Susan Clinton, PT, DScPT, and Marianne Ryan, PT, BS, offer advice for women who are ready to begin (or restart) exercise postpartum. (New York Times)

    Quotable: "With physical therapy, you can see patients make so many strides, and miracles happen," she said. "I've been in PT, and I've witnessed these miracles, and I believe that physical therapy is a field through which I can make a difference in the world. I believe I can help people realize, during their worst times, the strengths they may not know they have and watch as they make amazing progress." Heather Callahan-Williams, University of North Georgia student, on her plans to pursue a degree in physical therapy. (University of North Georgia News)

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

    APTA Programs Earn National Recognition

    APTA has once again received national honors from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE)—this year, for APTA resources on financial literacy and student debt management, as well as for a collaborative program that helps aspiring physical therapist (PT) and physical therapist assistant (PTA) education program directors hone their leadership skills.

    ASAE announced that APTA was the recipient of 2 "Power of A" awards: a Gold Award for the association's Financial Solutions Center, and a Silver Award for its Education Leadership Institute (ELI) fellowship program. ASAE's Power of A (the A stands for "association") Awards are the industry's highest honor, recognizing the association community's valuable contributions on local, national, and global levels.

    Launched in 2017, the APTA Financial Solutions Center is a free online financial resource that includes a customizable financial education platform featuring learning on topics such as student loan debt, repayment options, loan consolidation, budgeting, and mortgages. The center also features a student loan refinancing provider that offers eligible members a discounted interest rate. In addition, the center links to certified financial planner information, scholarships, awards, grants, and the APTA Career Center, among other resources. APTA has identified student debt burden and career earning potential as challenges to the long-term sustainability of the physical therapy profession, a key element in the association's strategic plan.

    APTA's ELI program is a yearlong educational experience that includes online learning, direct mentorship, and 3 in-person meetings focused on helping PT and PTA program directors connect with resources and develop the skills they need to be innovative, influential and visionary leaders. Partners who help APTA promote and support the ELI Fellowship include the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy, Academy of Physical Therapy Education, and PTA Educators Special Interest Group.

    "We're proud to be recognized by ASAE this year, but it's even more gratifying to know that members see the value in these programs," said APTA CEO Justin Moore, PT, DPT. "Just like the awards we've received in previous years, this year's honors are a testimony to our members' level of engagement with their association, and their investment in building a professional community."

    The most recent ASAE awards marks the third consecutive year APTA has been recognized by the association industry group. In 2018, APTA, the American Occupational Therapy Association, and the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association received a joint Power of A Gold Award for their collaborative effort to end the hard payment cap on therapy services under Medicare, and APTA's membership renewal efforts earned the association a Gold Circle award for an outstanding member retention campaign. In 2017, ASAE recognized APTA's public service announcement video for its #ChoosePT campaign as the winner for best video of the year, as well as the entire #ChoosePT campaign as one of the nation's top public awareness campaigns.

    APTA Centennial Website Makes Its Debut

    Since its beginnings, APTA has shown what can be accomplished when members are connected and engaged—it's a sense of community at the heart of the association's greatest achievements, and now it's a key element in plans to celebrate APTA's 100th anniversary in 2021. That's where a new APTA centennial website—and you—come in.

    This week, APTA launched what will become the definitive online resource highlighting the association's first century, complete with multiple opportunities for members to contribute to the effort.

    The easy-to-navigate site will evolve over time, serving as a destination not only for gaining a better understanding of the association's history but for sharing artifacts, stories, and memories, learning about opportunities for centennial-related public service initiatives, and keeping up with the latest on just how APTA plans to mark its birthday in 2021.

    In fact, right now APTA is asking members to contribute ideas, photos, and thoughts via a submission form at the bottom of the webpage. Of particular interest: members' opinions on the most important milestones in the physical therapy profession.

    Check out the new site and find out how you can get involved, then be sure to revisit in the coming months for more opportunities and announcements.

    Summer Reading: 8 Great APTA Blog Posts You Might've Missed

    Graduations, vacations, family reunions, binge-watching season 3 of "Stranger Things"…it's entirely understandable if you've been a little distracted over the past few months.

    Not to worry—PT in Motion News can help, when it comes to catching up on some engaging reads. While you were out dominating the Slip 'n Slide, contributors to both the #PTTransforms and APTA Pulse Blog were exploring a range of issues, from the personal to the societal.

    Wondering what you missed? Here are quotes from 8 notable posts, with links to the articles.

    "It's the path we take when we embrace the idea that every day deserves our heartfelt best effort—not just to live that day to the fullest but to shape the future more than it shapes us. Because we want to pay it forward. Because we demand that we leave something better than we had for ourselves." -2019 Presidential Address  

    "Many black professionals have been conditioned to mask parts of their natural selves in order to avoid exclusion from professional and academic opportunities, whether in school or in a career setting." -Pressure: A Commentary on the Black Physical Therapy Student Experience  

    "When [patients] leave the hospital, they're weaker and more likely to have a fall at home. This is an unintended consequence of falls regulation and misaligned incentives." -'Bedrest is Bad': New #everyBODYmoves Campaign Is Combatting Hospital Immobility  

    "Sometimes we need to take a step back and look at things from above the ground and see that one therapist over here seems to be getting patients a little bit better, a little bit quicker… The data that the Registry will collect will help us better direct patient care, as well as identify continuing education needs." -Notes From the Field: MIPS, Quality Improvement, and the Physical Therapy Outcomes Registry  

    "After having my first academic year and clinical rotation under my belt, I sought to shift gears and get back into what made me the most happy: involvement. I decided to extend myself beyond the classroom by applying for a leadership position in my state's student special interest group." -Why Doing More Than Studying Made Me a Better Student  

    "When conducting focus groups in medically underserved communities in Chicago about residents' knowledge and use of physical therapy, my colleague and I heard several things. Two statements in particular stuck with me: 'Physical therapy is for the rich and famous,' and, 'Why don't you put a physical therapy clinic in our community?'" -Our Profession Should Be Community-Minded—and Community-Invested  

    "A few days later my grade was posted. I nonchalantly logged into the grading portal to find a 65%. Was I seriously that bad at this whole physical therapist thing? Am I just walking through life overly confident in my abilities?" -I Don't Care About My Grades  

    "Witnessing the patient's request and partaking in his end-of-life directive really forced me to contemplate and consider our physical therapist scope of practice and our role in complex situations." -Reflecting and Coping With End-of-Life Care: A Student Perspective

    APTA Members Can Now Get $175 Off MedBridge Subscription

    MedBridge, a leading provider of health care continuing education, is now a part of APTA's Member Value Program (MVP). That's good news for APTA members, who can now save $175 off the regular $375 subscription to the company's extensive list of offerings.

    The addition of MedBridge allows APTA to expand the range of educational resources offered to its physical therapist (PT), physical therapist assistant (PTA), and student members by opening up discounted access to more than 1,000 MedBridge-sponsored video courses and live webinars. For more information, APTA's MedBridge discount webpage.

    "This offering increases the value of APTA membership and supports our members in their ongoing commitment to provide the best possible care,” said APTA CEO Justin Moore, PT, DPT.

    APTA's Member Value Program provides discounts and other opportunities for APTA members, in addition to standard member benefits. To maximize the value of membership, visit the APTA Member Benefits and Value page.

    News From NEXT: Rural Health Care has Plenty of Challenges, Promising Opportunities

    When it comes to rural health, there's no denying that there are demographic and financial challenges that can affect care. But there are also opportunities for improvement, and physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) need to be ready to advocate for—and when necessary, create—those opportunities. That was the message of a session on rural health care delivered June 14 during APTA's 2019 NEXT Conference and Exposition in Chicago.

    The session explored the factors that make rural health care different from health care in more urban areas---factors that in some instances point to the need to rethink how funding is allocated. Presenters pointed to the possibility that the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) might be in the early stages of doing just that. Meanwhile, they said, the possibilities for better patient access through telehealth need to be seized in the short-term.

    Presenter Jeremy Foster, PTA, boiled down the status of rural health care into a single sentence: "We have all these conditions that are worse in rural settings, but the money's not there."

    Foster led attendees through a tour of the demographic elements that create challenges, including a higher percentage of people who describe themselves as having "fair or poor" health compared with those in urban settings, and a generally older population. Other disparities include higher rates of tobacco use, an average annual income gap of $9,242, and life expectancy that averages 2 years shorter than the life expectancy of the urban-dwelling population.

    Access to care is, of course, a significant problem in rural areas, Foster explained, and though critical access hospitals (CAHs) often provide high-quality, patient-centered care, current funding systems tend to be based on population more than on need. Under those assumptions, gaps can arise when a smaller population begins to experience conditions that lead to worse health conditions.

    This must change, Foster said, because CAHs are providing much-needed care and economic benefits that are worth supporting, including contributing more than $7.1 million to local communities annually through wages and benefits, and providing needed care---an average of 39 million outpatient visits, 809,000 adult hospital admissions, and 82,000 infant deliveries per year.

    "There needs to be a lot more research around rural health care," Foster noted, but he added that providers in the rural setting have a responsibility to be "trustees of the money we receive."

    Brendon Larsen, PTA, BS, took a deeper dive into the current state of CAHs and rural health care in general, saying that rural health providers are challenged to care for a population that is considered "older, sicker, and poorer" than its urban counterparts.

    CAHs’ challenges include an aging infrastructure and a workforce shortage that isn't limited to clinicians, Larsen said, with CAH leaders reporting a 61% shortage in applicants for nonclinical and administrative support positions. At the same time, the type of services provided by CAHs is evolving, with outpatient treatment now making up 60% of CAH gross revenue. The problem, he explained, is that many funding assumptions around rural health care are rooted in inpatient care. When those factors are added to ever-increasing regulatory burdens, CAHs and other rural health providers find themselves struggling to stay afloat at a time when the need for better patient access is increasing---including the need to respond to the nation's opioid crisis.

    But could some relief be on the way? Maybe, said Larsen: CMS has formed a Council for Rural Health that is looking at developing a rural health policy initiative. The idea, Larsen explained, is to apply a "rural lens" to CMS programs, with the aim of maximizing providers' scopes of practice, empowering patient decision-making in rural areas, supporting new partnerships, and further expanding telehealth opportunities in rural areas.

    Of those potential improvements, telehealth could be of the most immediate benefit, explained Carmen Cooper-Orguz, PT, DPT, MBA. Cooper-Orguz rounded out the program by describing the promise of telehealth, and specifically telerehab, for improving patient access to care.

    There are more 'cans' than 'cannots' when it comes to telerehab," Cooper-Orguz told the audience while running through a list of the assessments and treatments that could be accomplished remotely.

    The problem, she explained, is that while most providers understand the potential for telerehab, the on-the-ground conditions for providing it need to improve. That will take action from the physical therapy community to advocate for changes to payment policies, state licensing laws and regulations, and provision of rural broadband.

    Cooper-Orguz believes one of the most important ways for PTs and PTAs to pave the way for better policy around telerehab is to press for adoption for the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact in all states. By dismantling geographic boundaries to practice, the compact opens up the possibility for increased use of telerehab---but only if compact adoption is accompanied by licensing laws and regulations that permit remote practice, she added.

    News From NEXT: Understanding Personality Types Can Enhance the PT-Patient Relationship

    Understanding one’s own personality, as well as the personalities of coworkers and patients, can make physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) more successful in both their workplace and home life, according to Jacky Arrow, PT, DPT. Arrow presented “He Said, She Said: How personality and communication can improve patient education” on June 14 at the 2019 NEXT Conference and Exposition.

    She pointed out that in communication between the PT and the patient, “It’s not their responsibility to come to us or to meet us half way. It’s our responsibility to meet them.”

    She first recommended that the attendees determine their own personality types. She mentioned several tests but focused on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, which places a person on 4 scales: extraversion vs introversion, sensing vs intuitive, thinking vs feeling, and judging vs perceiving.

    For example, Arrow explained, an introvert typically waits to be asked a question and then needs time to construct an answer. Extraverts, on the other hand, tend to be talkative and fast-paced. Regarding body language, extraverts tend to lean forward and talk with their hands, while introverts pause before answering and often sit back, sometimes with arms crossed. When treating patients who are introverts, she suggested, provide information in advance or tell them you plan on asking specific questions. Be prepared for follow-up questions either later in a session or at the next session. A strategy to working with extraverts includes active listening, thinking out loud, and planning talking points.

    Another example she provided related to judgers vs perceivers. Judgers respect rules and deadlines such as structured activity, she said, and they prefer a specific plan of care with milestones. Perceivers tend to be flexible with rules and deadlines and are open to adjustments in a plan of care. For those reasons, judgers do better with a written program calendar, while perceivers like to link progress to big-picture goals. To illustrate, she suggested that if the goal is to have a patient do an exercise for 30 seconds, tell a judger to exercise for 30 seconds. Tell a perceiver to sing the song “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” to gauge the elapsed time.

    Understanding the personality types of colleagues also can be beneficial. “Knowing the other personality types fosters better working relationships. And it allows PTs and PTAs to practice their skills with those of other personality types,” Arrow said.