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  • New Practice Guidelines Address Treatment of Torticollis, Ankle Sprain, Shoulder Mobility

    The latest evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for ankle sprain and instability, adhesive capsulitis, and congenital muscular torticollis (CMT) have been added to PT Now, the APTA member resource for evidence-based practice information.

    The ankle and shoulder guidelines developed by the Orthopaedic Section establish recommendations for screening, diagnosis, examination, and intervention, as well as appropriate outcome measures. The guidelines also seek to provide information for policymakers and payers on the practice of orthopedic physical therapy.

    The Section on Pediatrics took a similar approach to the development of guidelines for treatment of CMT, an idiopathic postural deformity evident shortly after birth. The guidelines are the result of a critical appraisal of literature and expert opinion, and include 16 action statements for screening, examination, intervention, and follow-up. The CMT guidelines also offer resources for classification of severity and flow sheets for referral paths.

    In addition to the clinical practice guidelines, PT Now provides APTA members with free access to a wide variety of evidence-based resources including condition-specific clinical summaries, patient cases, and valuable tests and measures. APTA is supporting the sections in the development of clinical practice evidence-based documents as part of the association's strategic objectives.

    APTA Launches Action App In Time for Final Push to Stop the Therapy Cap

    Members, patients, and supporters of physical therapy can now stay up-to-date on the latest legislative and regulatory news by downloading the free APTA Action app. The smartphone app was designed to help providers and patients stay engaged in APTA’s advocacy efforts and will be a valuable tool in grassroots efforts to end the therapy cap and fix the sustainable growth rate (SGR).

     The APTA Action app allows individuals to:

    • Take action on federal issues impacting the physical therapy profession
    • Look up members of Congress and see if they have cosponsored APTA’s bills
    • Donate to PT-PAC
    • Join PTeam to receive e-mail updates on federal legislative and regulatory news, and action alerts when it is time to contact their members of Congress
    • Review talking points for issues impacting the physical therapy profession
    • Send APTA feedback after a meeting with a legislator, attending a town hall or a fundraiser, or hosting a practice visit
    • Share their advocacy activities with friends and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr
    • View the congressional schedule and upcoming APTA events
    • View APTA’s Twitter feed and the latest videos from the Public Policy, Practice and Professional Affairs Department

    The app debuts at a crucial time in the efforts to end the therapy cap and fix the SGR. APTA will launch the next grassroots push to stop the therapy cap on December 2, 30 days from the expiration of the exceptions process. Supporters who download the app and join PTeam by December 1 will be able to easily contact legislators on December 2 using the app's "Take Action" button.

    The free app can be downloaded by searching “APTA Action” in the iTunes or Google Play stores. For more information about the APTA Action app and how to get involved in the Stop the Therapy Cap campaign, visit APTA’s grassroots webpage or e-mail advocacy@apta.org.

    APTA wants to see where you use your APTA Action app. Take a photo using the app in fun, creative places and post it on Twitter using the hashtag #PTAdvocacy. Let’s get a photo from every state to show members across the country getting involved.

    Concussion Legislation Reintroduced

    Important concussion legislation supported by APTA has been reintroduced in Congress. Developed with input from the association, the Protecting Student Athletes From Concussions Act (HR 3532) establishes guidelines around prevention, identification, treatment, and management of concussions in school-age children, and acknowledges the role that physical therapists (PTs) have in evaluating and treating these injuries.

    The legislation has been reintroduced by Reps Tim Bishop (D-NY) and George Miller (D-CA), and would require states to implement concussion safety and management plans that include return-to-play requirements and academic supports. Additionally, the bill requires that any student who suffers a concussion be immediately removed from any participation in school sports until he or she receives a written release from a health care professional. Physical therapists (PTs) are explicitly listed as one of the professionals qualified to make these return-to-play decisions. APTA advocated for the legislation when it was initially introduced in 2011 and worked with members of Congress on the recent reintroduction.

    Related work continues around the reintroduction of a similar piece of legislation, the Concussion Treatment and Care Tools Act (ConTACT) (HR 3113/S 1516) introduced by Sen Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep Bill Pascrell (D-NJ). Though not passed into law when it was first introduced, the ConTACT bill helped to establish a workgroup within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) assigned to developing guidelines for mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI). APTA members Anne Mucha, PT, DPT, MS, NCS, and John DeWitt, PT, DPT, SCS, represent the role of PTs on the CDC workgroup.

    The latest iteration of the ConTACT Act bill calls for the establishment of national guidelines drawn from the CDC workgroup recommendations on best practices for diagnosis, treatment, and management of MTBI in school-aged children. The legislation also provides for grants to help states implement these guidelines. APTA will continue to advocate for these pieces of legislation as opportunities arise to support the CDC workgroup recommendations and the role of the PT in concussion management.

    APTA believes that concussion should be managed and evaluated by a multidisciplinary team of licensed health care providers that includes a PT and offers multiple resources. The association has developed policy resources at both state and federal levels, while practice-focused online concussion resources include a series of podcasts, a PT's guide to concussions, and access to evidence-based practice research through the PT Now webpage.