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  • Leaders from Wyoming, Ohio, Minnesota, and Indiana Honored for State Advocacy Efforts

    Recognition of the importance of direct access to physical therapy for consumers, updating decades-old practice acts, and making it easier for patients to obtain handicapped parking plates and placards were among the accomplishments of this year's APTA State Legislative Leadership Award winners, The awardees were recognized at the association's recent State Policy and Payment Forum in Arlington, Virginia, hosted by the Virginia Chapter of APTA.

    This year, 4 members were honored for their service to the profession at the state level:

    Jamie Childs Everett, PT, DPT, was awarded an APTA State Legislative Leadership Award for her efforts to bring unrestricted direct access to Wyoming. As chapter president, Childs led the Wyoming Chapter in a legislative effort to remove the state's limitations on access, among the most restrictive in the country. The chapter's efforts were successful due in large part to her leadership around educating legislators on the need for change. The final bill, which was signed into law and took effect July 1, allows for unrestricted direct access in the state.

    Alan Howell, PT, ATC, received an APTA State Legislative Leadership Award in recognition of more than 7 years of service to the Ohio Chapter as state legislative chair. During his tenure, Howell led a 5-year effort to update the state physical therapy practice act’s definition of physical therapy to include diagnosis. To accomplish this, he led chapter efforts to improve grassroots involvement, PAC fundraising, and building stakeholder alliances, all of which significantly elevated the chapter’s profile in the legislature during that time. The expanded definition was signed into law in December 2018.

    Anne Johnson, PT, DPT, was recognized with an APTA State Legislative Leadership Award for more than a decade of outstanding efforts on behalf of the Minnesota Chapter. Johnson began her service by participating in the chapter’s Government Affairs Committee when she was still a student, and quickly expanded her involvement to include chairing various work groups and serving as committee co-chair since 2013. During that time, she grew the active membership of the committee, implemented a key contact program for state representatives and senators, and initiated the use of the Take Action App for the chapter’s lobby day. Johnson's leadership was integral in a recent chapter victory: the addition of physical therapists to the list of providers who may provide certification of disability for purposes of parking placards and plates. The new law became effective August 1, 2019.

    Emily Slaven, PT, PhD, received an APTA Legislative Leadership Award for her contributions to a multiyear effort in Indiana that resulted in a comprehensive update to the state's outdated physical therapy practice act. Slaven coordinated the chapter’s efforts to communicate with members about the chapter’s plans, led the organization of successful and well-attended lobby days in 2018 and 2019, and personally engaged in negotiations with several stakeholder groups to resolve their opposition to the chapter’s bill. The law, signed May 1, 2019, establishes an independent board of physical therapy, expands direct access from 24 to 42 days, includes a contemporary definition of the practice of physical therapy, adds new term and title protection provisions, and much more.

    Media Tour Takes APTA's 'ChoosePT' Message Nationwide

    Pain is complicated, and effectively addressing it requires open communication and a true partnership between providers and patients. Sarah Wenger, PT, DPT, believes that physical therapy can support just that type of relationship, and she took that message to TV and radio stations across the United States as part of a recent APTA satellite media tour.

    The "tour" involved linking up with TV and radio stations across the country to arrange for short remote interviews with Wenger, a clinician and educator with extensive experience in working with patients living with chronic pain. The daylong event was held during Pain Awareness month, and provided an opportunity to promote the association's retooled ChoosePT.com consumer site (formerly MoveForwardPT.com), as well as a more broad use of the "ChoosePT" call to action to include a wide range of conditions including pain.

    By the beginning of the tour day on September 18, 28 interviews were booked—17 for television and 11 for radio. The interviews tended to focus on how to address the opioid crisis through better approaches to pain management that involve interprofessional teams, a patient-centered approach, and honest discussions between patients and providers. Wenger emphasized how physical therapy can play an important role in the process. Most of the interviews were broadcast live, but some were recorded for later playback—meaning there's a chance you could hear an interview in the coming days and weeks. Check out this video of a live interview from WTMJ-TV 4, in Milwaukee, for an example.

    The day also included a lengthier interview with Jaqueline Andriakos, health director for Women's Health magazine. That interview, presented as a Facebook Live broadcast, allowed Andriakos and Wenger to discuss at length the more personal, patient-centered relationships physical therapists and physical therapist assistants try to build with their patients.

    In the Women's Health interview, Wenger talked about the importance of receiving a range of care for pain, including physical and mental health care, and how physical therapy's focus on movement fits into the picture.

    "When you're in pain moving is hard, and you end up in this bad relationship with pain where you're scared to move…and you end up doing less and less, and as you do less and less, you can do less," Wenger said. "You get less and less and less healthy, and movement is how you get yourself back to being healthy."

    19 - 09 - 20 ChoosePT Facebook Interview
    Sarah Wenger, PT, DPT, discussed pain management and role of physical therapy with Women's Health magazine in a recent Facebook Live event.