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  • New 'Rehab Therapists Give Back' Effort Helps Channel Donations to Hurricane Victims in Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico

    Though the storms themselves have passed, people affected by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, and Hurricane Maria will struggle with the devastation for the foreseeable future. Physical therapists (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs), and other rehabilitation professionals now have an opportunity to come together as a unified community to help those in need.

    Earlier this month, electronic medical records system provider WebPT announced the launch of "Rehab Therapists Give Back," an online giving program with the goal of raising $1 million for people affected by recent hurricanes that destroyed parts of Houston, Texas, Florida, and Puerto Rico. Accessible through a GlobalGiving website, the initiative allows donors to contribute any amount to any of 4 relief funds.

    To help kickstart the campaign, WebPT made a $10,000 donation to the effort. APTA followed suit by committing a $10,000 donation match, which was met within 24 hours.

    "Many of our members have been asking about where they could make a relief donation," said Justin Moore, PT, DPT, APTA's chief executive officer. "The Rehab Therapists Give Back campaign is an ideal opportunity to join other professionals in showing our commitment to helping people rebuild their lives."

    Another future opportunity to give to a different cause through GlobalGiving: keep an eye on the new Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) GlobalGiving website for future fundraising efforts that support education for the health care workforce in resource-scarce countries. APTA is a supporter of HVO, and several APTA members have participated in HVO efforts to support physical therapy in places such as Haiti, Rwanda, and Myanmar.

    State-Level PT Advocates Honored at Policy and Payment Forum

    From expanding direct access provisions to including physical therapists (PTs) in concussion management teams and to securing fair copay laws, some of the physical therapy profession's biggest wins have been at the state level, thanks in large part to individual leaders who refuse to give up. APTA acknowledged some of those leaders at this year's State Policy and Payment Forum, held last month in Detroit.

    This year, 3 PTs were honored for their service to the profession at the state level:

    Cristina Faucheux, PT, was presented with an APTA State Legislative Leadership Award for her work on behalf of the physical therapy profession in Louisiana, particularly her leadership in a successful effort to expand direct access in the state. In addition to all the necessary relationship-building at the statehouse, Faucheux's multi-session direct access effort also included mock hearings to help supporters hone their messages, and quick, thorough responses to misinformation campaigns launched by opponents of the legislation. Ultimately, the expanded provisions were signed into law in 2016.

    Joanne Zazzera, PT, DPT, also earned an APTA State Legislative Leadership Award. In 2016, the APTA Hawaii Chapter lacked a lobbyist, but when Zazzera saw an opportunity to make legislative inroads toward including PTs in recognized concussion management teams, she seized it and became the solo force in organizing members to advocate for the change. Her efforts paid off when PTs were included in the final bill, which passed in 2016. Since then Zazzera has been organizing the chapter's government affairs committee and establishing work groups to map the chapter's long-term advocacy strategies.

    Chris Marsh, PT, was honored with the APTA State Legislative Commitment Award. Marsh, whom APTA President Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD, described as a "force" for the Missouri Chapter, has a long list of advocacy accomplishments that include passage of legislation prohibiting physician-owned physical therapy services, the establishment of direct access in the state, adoption of fair copay laws, and the inclusion of PTs among the professionals able to provide certification of disability for parking tags and license plates. Most recently, Marsh led the Missouri Chapter's successful efforts to adopt the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact.

    The APTA State Policy and Payment Forum is an annual 2-day event that focuses on advocacy and legislative issues at the state level.

    2017 State Forum Awards
    From left: Chris Marsh, PT (MO), winner of this year's legislative commitment award; Joanne Zazzera, PT, DPT (HI), legislative service award winner; APTA Board of Directors member and Treasurer Jeanine Gunn, PT, DPT; APTA Vice President Lisa Saladin, PT, PhD; APTA President Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD; APTA Board of Directors member Anthony DiFilippo, PT, DPT, MEd; Cristina Faucheux, PT (LA), legislative service award winner.