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  • APTA Podcast Offers Instruction on PQRS Falls Measures Reporting

    Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) measures for reporting patients’ risks for falls are intended to help minimize falls—and resulting injuries or death—in adults aged 65 or older.

    A new APTA podcast walks you through the reporting process for these measures, measure 154 Falls: Risk Assessment and measure 155 Falls: Plan of Care. Listen to APTA's Heather Smith, program director of quality, explain how these measures are a paired set, what to do if the patient’s falls history is positive or negative, and how to report if you have a valid reason not to perform the risk assessment.

    APTA podcasts are prerecorded discussions and interviews, not live events. Members can listen to podcasts at their convenience by clicking on the links provided in News Now articles, visiting www.apta.org/Podcasts/, or subscribing to APTA podcasts on iTunes.

    Proposed Bill Provides for Tricare Coverage of Targeted Therapies

    After denials by Tricare to cover a young patient's physical therapy on a horse, and similar denials for other beneficiaries, a proposed bill would require the military health insurer to cover certain forms of physical therapy.

    Rep Michael Burgess (R-TX) introduced the Rehabilitative Therapy Parity for Military Beneficiaries Act (HR 1705) on Wednesday. The law calls for Tricare to cover "therapies provided on a horse, balance board, bolster, and bench" if these therapeutic exercises or activities are included in the individual's plan of care. APTA was heavily involved in developing the bill's language, which bolsters the argument that a horse, like a ball or balance board, is simply a tool the physical therapist uses and not an alternative form of therapy.

    "Every patient is different, has a different set of needs, and therefore may respond very differently to various types of therapy," Burgess stated. "Ensuring access to needed services is critical for patients to maintain, improve, or regain function."

    APTA applauds the efforts of Rep Burgess to ensure all patients have access to therapy services, particularly those who are fighting for our country and whose families bear the greatest weight.

    The Dallas Morning News covered the story of the young patient, Kaitlyn Samuels, last month.

    Students Lead Successful Advocacy Effort on Workforce Legislation

    The Flash Action Strategy (FAS) led April 23-25 by the Student Assembly Board of Directors in conjunction with APTA generated more than 20,930 letters to Congress asking for support of the Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act (HR 1252/S 602), legislation reintroduced in the 113th Congress to include physical therapists in the National Health Service Corps.

    More than 6,976 individuals, both APTA members and nonmembers, sent letters through APTA's Legislative Action Center and Patient Action Center on this issue, far exceeding the initial goal of 16,000 letters over 72 hours. This single effort surpasses any other letter-writing campaign on behalf of the profession, APTA said. Through e-mails and social media outreach, the Student Assembly Board met its goal with 13 hours left in the campaign. Josh D'Angelo, Student Assembly Board president, said, "Thank you to the many students, professionals, friends, and families who submitted letters and encouraged others to do the same. Your efforts brought attention to critical issues facing physical therapy, took advocacy to classrooms and clinics across the nation, and served to unify and strengthen our voice. The Student Assembly Board of Directors is inspired by your leadership, dedication, and passion."

    The goal of FAS is to encourage students to participate in advocacy and unite with fellow peers on a national scale on a single issue. Members can still take action to support this legislation through APTA's Legislative Action Center and can learn more about APTA's grassroots network and other ways to stay active on APTA's advocacy initiatives in the Take Action webpage.