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  • Contact Your Legislators on November 4 to Stop the Therapy Cap

    Congress is approaching the 60-day mark for its opportunity to finally end the Medicare therapy cap and sustainable growth rate formula, and now is the time to amplify a grassroots effort to make the needed changes.

    Physical therapists (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs), students, faculty, patients, and all other supporters are being urged to e-mail their legislators on November 4 to call for a full repeal of the therapy cap in the sustainable growth rate (SGR) reform package, or at the very least to approve an extension of the exceptions process before the December 31 deadline. Many supporters of the repeal have already signed on to participate in a Thunderclap program that will harness the power of social media to get the word out—now it's time to add to that momentum.

    APTA has several tools that make it easy to contact legislators. Members can take action on their computers using the Legislative Action Center and can even sign up for an e-mail reminder alert by joining the PTeam. Patients and nonmembers can e-mail their legislators using the Patient Action Center.

    The Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Committees are working on legislation to permanently fix the SGR. It is essential to remind lawmakers of the importance of repeal and to urge them to address the Medicare therapy cap in this legislative package.

    For more information about the Medicare therapy cap and APTA’s grassroots campaign to stop it visit the Advocacy webpage or e-mail advocacy@apta.org.

    Falls Prevention Exercises May Lessen Severity of Fall Injuries

    Prevention exercises can help the elderly avoid falls, but can they also reduce injuries when a fall occurs? A recently-published meta-analysis indicates just such a possibility.

    In the study, published October 29 in the British Medical Journal, researchers reviewed results of 17 trials involving 4,305 patients aged 60 and older living in community dwellings. Each of the studies compared patients who received falls prevention exercises with those who did not, and contained data on subsequent falls and the extent of injury sustained. Authors of the meta-analysis then grouped the injuries according to standardized classifications and reviewed seriousness of injuries across the studies.

    The research revealed that in addition to lessening the rate of falls, prevention exercises also reduced the severity of injury when falls do occur, with estimated reductions of 37% for all injurious falls, 43% for severe injurious falls, and 61% for falls that produced fractures. Authors of the study write that "it is…thought that exercise prevents injurious falls not only by improving balance and decreasing the risk of falling, but also by improving cognitive functioning, and the speed and effectiveness of protective reflexes (such as quickly extending an arm or grabbing nearby objects) or the energy absorbing capacity of soft tissues (such as muscles), thereby diminishing the force of impact on the body."

    APTA provides education on exercise prescriptions for balance and falls prevention, and offers resources for physical therapists on balance and falls prevention, how to develop consumer events on balance, falls and exercise, and information on evidence based falls programs. Members can also access an APTA pocket guide on falls risk reduction (.pdf) as well as take part in an online community where members can share information about falls prevention.