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  • Forum Focuses on Therapy Cap Repeal, Service Corps Loan Repayment

    More than 260 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students from across the United States wrapped up APTA's annual Federal Advocacy Forum in Washington, DC, today.

    "The forum provides an invaluable opportunity for APTA members to hear from decision makers and communicate with elected officials," explained APTA President Paul Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS, during the forum. "Lawmakers also have the chance to learn about the challenges facing our patients, which aids discussion about the issues of significance to the physical therapy profession and the patients we serve."

    Topics discussed at this year's forum included the Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act (HR 713/S 367), which includes permanent repeal of the therapy cap, and the Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act (HR 1252/S 602), which would add physical therapists to the list of professionals eligible to participate in the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program. Members also lobbied Congress to support APTA's sustainable growth rate (SGR) priorities. Earlier today, forum participants visited members of Congress and their staffs on Capitol Hill to advocate for these important issues.

    Also today, APTA recognized its annual forum award winners and others for their efforts toward physical therapy initiatives.

    On Monday, Mike Allen, chief White House correspondent for Politico and creator of Politico Playbook and Politico Morning Money, gave the breakfast keynote address. Later, Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress and counselor to the Center for American Progress Action Fund, discussed the Affordable Care Act and the health care climate in Washington, DC. Forum breakout sessions featured updates to legislative issues facing the physical therapy profession, strategies and techniques for effective lobbying, and updates on APTA's PT-PAC and grassroots advocacy efforts.

    Social media was constantly buzzing during the forum—Twitter followers can go to @APTAtweets or hashtags #FAF2013 and #PTadvocacy for updates and photos; Facebook users can visit facebook.com/APTAfans.

    Cardin, Lockard, and Klonowski Recognized at APTA Forum

    At the APTA Federal Affairs Forum today, APTA President Paul Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS, conferred APTA’'s 2013 Public Service Award to Sen Ben Cardin (D-MD) for his longtime support of the physical therapy profession and his leadership to repeal the Medicare therapy cap. The Public Service Award recognizes legislators, agency officials, health and legislation association staff, and public figures who support physical therapy on a national level.

    Rockar presented APTA's 2013 Federal Government Affairs Leadership Award to APTA member John Lockard, PT, OCS, owner of Northwest Physical Therapy in Philadelphia, for his work with Rep Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) on initiatives to move toward comprehensive reforms of Medicare payment and delivery systems. The award honors APTA members who make significant contributions to APTA's federal initiatives.

    Rockar also recognized physical therapist Mike Klonowski, PT, DPT, PCS, who is currently treating Sen Mark Kirk (R-IL) after the lawmaker's stroke in January 2012.

    From left: Paul Rockar stands with Federal Government Affairs Leadership Award winner John Lockard and Drew Bossen of the Iowa Chapter, who nominated Lockard. 

    Mike Klonowski (left) stands with APTA President Paul Rockar. 

    CEO John Barnes Leaving APTA

    The American Physical Therapy Association today announced that CEO John Barnes will be leaving the organization effective July 31. The Board of Directors will launch a national search for a new CEO in the near term, and members will receive information on the process to be used in the search. The Board will appoint an interim CEO to lead the organization during the search process and will announce the interim appointment prior to July 31.

    "The Board is grateful to John for his 6 years of service," said APTA President Paul A. Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS. "John has been instrumental in bringing a new perspective to the management of APTA as a very successful professional association. Based on a collaborative assessment of next steps for the organization, we believe that this is a time for a change in organizational leadership."

    During Barnes' tenure from 2007-2013, APTA increased its membership by 15%, increased its revenues by 20%, and increased its meeting attendance by 51%, providing outstanding meetings and other professional development opportunities for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants. Barnes oversaw an internal reorganization and a review of governance structure and policy. Due to APTA's solid foundation, the association is well poised to move to its next level of growth.