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  • Medicare Data Released; Analysis Will Require Time, Context

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' (CMS) release of payment data sparked plenty of dramatic headlines across the country, but sweeping pronouncements may need to be approached carefully until the information is fully analyzed from multiple perspectives, including overall usefulness.

    On April 9, CMS opened public access to payment records on more than 880,000 providers, including almost 37,000 physical therapists (PTs), 48 of whom are listed in the top 2% of providers receiving payment. News sources quickly reported on the overall data, with some even offering an online tool to look up information on providers.

    While almost all media outlets tagged the release with headlines pointing to "big payouts" for a small percentage of providers—the New York Times' headline of "Sliver of Medicare Doctors Get Big Share of Payouts" being 1 such example—at least 1 news source noted the need for a more nuanced approach. In its article on the release, the Los Angeles Times reports that "federal officials cautioned against drawing sweeping conclusions about individual doctors from the numbers. High payouts do not necessarily indicate improper billing or fraud, they say. Payments could be driven higher because providers were treating sicker patients who required more treatment or because their practice was focused more on Medicare patients."

    APTA staff members are reviewing the data and its organization, and already have one caveat. “It’s important to look at this data in context,” said J. Michael Bowers, chief executive officer of APTA. “It should not be used to draw conclusions about physical therapists and physicians without information about expenses, quality of care, complexity of patients, and volume of  patients treated.”

    2014 House of Delegates Motions Posted

    In preparation for the 2014 House of Delegates (House), APTA posted this year's House motions to the House of Delegates page of the APTA website.

    Motions are accessible to members and nonmembers, with the opportunity to leave comments or discuss the motions on Twitter using motion-specific hashtags.

    APTA members are encouraged to use these public forums, but not as a substitute for contacting their delegate directly to provide feedback.

    Delegates are welcome to engage in these public forums but should continue using the House of Delegates Community (open to all APTA members), to participate in or monitor delegate discussion. The Packet I discussion board is for conceptual discussion surrounding this year's motions, and the Motion Cosponsors discussion board is for delegations to indicate cosponsorship for a motion (only the chief, section, and assembly delegates, or their designees, may post messages on these House discussion forums on behalf of their delegations).

    "Packet I," a compilation of all main motions to this year's House of Delegates, can be accessed on the House of Delegates Community. The House of Delegates Handbook, which contains reports to the House, was also posted to the House of Delegates Community. Delegates are welcome to use the House Handbook discussion board for discussion related to House reports. Background papers for the House motions will be posted on April 25.

    The 2014 House will convene June 9-11 in Charlotte, North Carolina, and will be livestreamed for APTA members.

    Please contact Cheryl Robinson with any questions.

    Foundation Gala Tickets On Sale

    Planning on attending the NEXT Conference and Exposition this June? Take some time out to be fabulous.

    The Foundation for Physical Therapy has announced that tickets are now available for its 35th Anniversary Gala at The Westin Hotel in Charlotte, Thursday, June 12, 7:30 pm-12:00 am. Tickets are $150 for individuals and $100 for students, and include dinner. Table sponsorships are also available for $2,000 and include 10 tickets. Tickets can be purchased when registering for the NEXT conference online or by calling 877/585-6003.

    In addition to honoring this year's Foundation service award winners (.pdf), the gala will commemorate 35 years of Foundation efforts to support physical therapy research.

    New this year: Program sponsorship opportunities that offer full or half-page ad space in the program that will be distributed to all gala attendees. The deadline for reserving ad space is April 28.

    For any questions about ticket purchases or to find out more about table sponsorship opportunities, please contact Erica Sadiq.

    NIH Rehab Research Center Opens Director Search

    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) center that oversees the NIH grant portfolio for rehabilitation research has announced its search for a director. The National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research (NCMRR) is looking for "an exceptional and visionary leader" to manage operations that involve over 150 research projects with a budget of more than $66 million.

    The primary focus of NCMRR is on research around the health, productivity, independence, and quality of life for people with disabilities. According to the vacancy announcement recently posted, the center's areas of research include a range of subjects from improving movement, promoting recovery, and adapting to a disability to evaluating rehabilitation effectiveness and training in rehabilitation methods and techniques.