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  • Student Loan Repayment Program to Include PTs? Health Services Corps Bill Reintroduced in US Senate

    It's back: APTA-supported legislation that would list physical therapists (PTs) among the professions included in a federal program to provide greater patient access to health care in rural and underserved areas has been reintroduced in the Senate. If passed into law, the program could open up access to a student loan repayment program for participating PTs—and help address the nation's opioid crisis in areas that have been especially hard-hit.

    The bill (S.970) would allow PTs to participate in the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) loan repayment program, an initiative that repays up to $50,000 in outstanding student loans to certain health care professionals who agree to work for at least 2 years in a designated Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA). An estimated 11.4 million Americans are served by the NHSC. The bill was introduced by Sens John Tester (D-MT), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Angus King (I-ME).

    APTA is a strong supporter of legislation that extends student loan forgiveness to PTs, particularly as a way to improve access to physical therapist services in areas already experiencing shortages. But according to APTA Vice President of Government Affairs Justin Elliott, there's an additional important reason that the association is advocating for the bill's passage.

    "The opioid epidemic has been especially devastating in rural and medically underserved areas," said Elliott. "And while the role of physical therapy as an important nonpharmacological alternative in the prevention, treatment, and management of pain is well-established, the current services corps law doesn't include any physical rehabilitation component. Allowing PTs to participate in the NHSC could help increase patient access to better ways to manage pain, especially for individuals who have or at risk of developing a substance use disorder."

    Advocacy for S.970 (and its yet-to-be-introduced companion in the US House of Representatives) was a major focus of Capitol Hill visits conducted by APTA members as part of the APTA Federal Advocacy Forum held from March 31 to April 2. APTA encourages members to join the push for the bill by contacting their senators to urge them to become cosponsors by way of a prewritten letter, available at the APTA Legislative Action Center, that helps to deliver a unified message (member login required).

    APTA staff will closely track the progress of this legislation—be on the lookout for more opportunities to advocate for this important change.

    Statehouse Roundup: Licensure Compact Progress; Chapters Press for Changes to Direct Access, Pain Management Policy, Payment, and More

    Providing all goes as hoped during current state legislative sessions, the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact could pass the halfway mark in its progress toward adoption in every state, with a potential for 28 states to be participating in the system that allows physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) licensed in 1 compact state to obtain practice privileges in others.

    "Thanks to the hard work of APTA state chapters and state licensing boards, we've been able to keep up the momentum around the compact," said Angela Shuman, APTA's director of state affairs. "As more states join, it will make the case even stronger for the remaining non-compact states to sign on."

    Compact bills are now being considered in Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania. If the legislation is successful, those states will join 23 others already in the system: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

    But that's not all that's been going on at the state level during an extremely active legislative season. Here's a roundup of other activity:

    Practice

    • Direct access. Efforts to expand direct access to physical therapist (PT) services and remove restrictions on existing laws continue, with Wyoming becoming the 19th state to adopt unrestricted direct access—"a very, very big win," according to Shuman. Other states that are considering positive direct access changes include Alabama, Indiana, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Texas.
    • Dry needling. Legislation is being considered in Hawaii, New Jersey, and Washington that would lift prohibitions on dry needling by qualified PTs, while advocates in Indiana are seeking to include the treatment as part of a sweeping revision of the physical therapy practice act. Meanwhile, PTs and supporters in Nevada are fighting an attempt to make dry needling the exclusive practice of oriental medicine practitioners.
    • Telehealth. "There's a lot going on right now related to telehealth," Shuman said. "State legislatures are considering everything from changing practice standards that would increase telehealth options for all health providers to legislation that would require insurers to cover remotely delivered services in the same manner they cover in-person visits." States that are considering other changes include Florida and South Dakota, which are debating the adoption of statewide telehealth standards; and North Dakota, where the legislature is asking the governor sign a bill that adds a definition of telehealth to the physical therapy practice act.
    • Concussions. Bills to add PTs as providers authorized to remove student athletes from activity due to a concussion, as well as make return-to-activity decisions, are being considered in Colorado, Massachusetts, and Texas. A similar change in West Virginia already has been signed into law.
    • Disability determinations. PTs in Florida and Texas soon may be permitted to make disability determinations for license plates and placards; the provision is now law in Minnesota.
    • PTA Issues. Montana is considering a law that would allow PTAs to be supervised through telecommunications, while New York is looking to change the status of PTAs from "certified" to a licensed profession. In North Dakota, a bill that changes supervision requirements for assistive personnel has been sent to the governor to be signed into law.
    • Mandatory reporting. Legislators in Michigan are considering including PTs and PTAs as mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse.

    Payment and referral

    • Copays and patient cost-sharing. Four states—Georgia, Rhode Island, New Mexico, and New York—are moving on legislation that would set limits on out-of-pocket patient costs, with New Mexico's bill already on the governor's desk.
    • Utilization management and other insurance issues. Lawmakers in California, Michigan, Washington, and Oregon are considering changes that would decrease unnecessary delays in care caused by prior authorization and other utilization management practices by insurance companies. The California legislation focuses on workers' compensation.
    • Medicaid. PTs and supporters in Iowa are fighting a proposal to implement multiple procedure payment reduction (MPPR) in Medicaid, while legislators in Maine are looking at improving provider reimbursement for physical therapy.
    • Tax breaks for PTs. It isn’t payment per se, but a move that would keep more money in the pockets of PTs and PTAs: New Mexico may adopt a law that would provide state tax credits for PTs and PTAs working in rural areas.
    • Referral sources. Oklahoma is considering a change that would allow nurse practitioners to make referrals to physical therapy; North Dakota and South Carolina are discussing similar legislation that would apply to physician assistants.

    The Opioid Crisis

    • Nonpharmacological approaches to pain management. "There's so much going on in this space at so many levels," Shuman said, "but the trend is definitely toward changes that increase patient access to nonopioid and nondrug options for pain."

      Several APTA chapters have been directly involved in policy discussions, including in Connecticut, which is establishing guidelines for nonpharmacological pain treatments that include physical therapy; and Minnesota, which is considering a bill that would direct a new Health Services Policy Committee to seek consultation with PTs as it develops recommendations on pain management. In Tennessee, changes are being considered that would add physical therapy as an "alternative treatment" that prescribers may discuss with patients before prescribing opioids, while in Indiana, lawmakers are considering requiring certain health insurers to include physical therapy as a medically necessary (and thus covered) service in the treatment of chronic pain.

    Practice acts, licensing boards, and the National Physical Therapy Exam (NPTE)

    • Improving terms and protecting titles. Terms such as "PT," "DPT," "physiotherapy," and "doctor of physical therapy" could be reserved for the exclusive use of PTs in Alaska and Indiana if legislation moves ahead in those states. North Dakota has sent a similar bill to its governor to be signed into law.
    • Licensing boards. PTs could be getting better representation and autonomy in the state regulatory arena. Indiana is looking at moving away from its current regulatory system based on a physical therapy committee under the state's medical board and toward a freestanding board of physical therapy. Connecticut and North Dakota are making changes to the composition of their physical therapy boards, with Connecticut possibly eliminating rules that require a physician to be a member of the board and North Dakota reducing physician board members from 2 to 1—and adding a PTA member. The North Dakota bill is now on the governor's desk.
    • The NPTE. Indiana, South Carolina, and North Dakota are discussing imposing a lifetime limit of 6 NPTE attempts, while Utah, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina are considering changes that would allow PT students to take the NPTE before they graduate.

    Your Help Needed to Guide Movement System Integration

    APTA is leading the way in advancing the integration of the movement system as the core of physical therapist (PT) practice, education, and research. Now the association needs input from you to take an important next step: making the crucial leap from the conceptual to the practical through the development of a movement system diagnosis framework and movement screen.

    Draft diagnosis and screening templates have been created by the Movement System task force and work groups, and APTA would like you to take them for a test drive and provide your comments by the June 1, 2019, deadline.

    "We're at an exciting point in the evolution of the movement system concept and now need the widest possible stakeholder input," said Sue Whitney, PT, PhD, APTA Board of Directors member and chair of the Movement System Task Force. "Many PTs have been incorporating movement system concepts into their practice and teaching for some time now, but the development of these diagnosis and screening resources has the potential to accelerate the adoption of these concepts across the profession. That's why participation in the review and comment process is so critical—with the development of a repository of movement system diagnoses and the development of the screening templates, we hope to move the bar and create excitement about using the movement system in daily practice."

    Evaluation of each template involves a 2-step process. For the diagnosis template, reviewers are asked to submit an example of a movement system diagnosis using a specially developed online form, and then provide feedback about the template itself. The movement screen—a tool that helps PTs identify patient movement impairments observed during functional tasks and activities so that they can pinpoint which additional tests and measures should be brought into play—doesn't need to be filled out, just reviewed and evaluated through an accompanying survey. Click here to view the templates and provide your feedback.

    Work toward the development of the movement system concept in the physical therapy profession began in 2013, when APTA adopted a new vision statement with guiding principles that characterized the system as "the foundation of optimizing movement to improve the health of society." The association produced a white paper on the movement system in 2015 and held a Movement System Summit in 2016 that brought together 100 thought leaders to discuss how best to integrate the system throughout all facets of the profession. Since then, members of APTA’s Movement System Task Force have been developing resources to make widespread integration a reality.

    Want to learn more about the movement system? Visit APTA's Movement System webpage for a history of the association's work.

    APTA Working for You: Practice-Related Updates, February 2019

    APTA brings the profession's insights and expertise to bear in a variety of settings. Here's a quick rundown of some of the latest news and APTA activities.

    Professional Issues

    • APTA helps the National Institutes of Health's (NIH’s) "Go4Life" exercise campaign spread the word about the benefits of exercise: APTA was featured on the Go4Life website for the strong ties between APTA and NIH's National Institute on Aging (NIOA). APTA Senior Staff Specialist Hadiya Green Guerrero, PT, DPT, a certified sports physical therapy specialist, is working with NIOA on consumer fact sheets about physical activity for people with musculoskeletal conditions.
    • Understanding of the APTA Physical Therapy Outcomes Registry continues to grow: APTA is working with US Department of Health and Human Services Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information (ONC) and professional societies toward standardization of elements of practice, a key concept for the Registry. APTA staff also are collaborating with professional organizations on getting electronic health records to understand certain standard data elements.
    • APTA is helping staff at the Medstar National Rehabilitation Hospital (NRH) better understand the elements of culturally competent practice: APTA Practice Department staff will emphasize APTA’s mission, vision, and strategic plan at an upcoming NRH event, and explain how being a culturally competent practitioner can improve outcomes and patient satisfaction.
    • A list of consumer questions on pain management is now part of the #ChoosePT online toolkit: APTA practice staff helped to create a set of questions on pain and pain management for patients to ask their providers. Those questions are now featured within the #ChoosePT toolkit.
    • Could primary care become the next APTA board-certified specialty? An APTA House of Delegates charge to explore the role of physical therapists on the primary care team is being pursued. Led by member John Heick, PT, DPT, PhD, board-certified clinical specialist in 3 different areas--orthopaedics, neurology, and sports—APTA is petitioning for primary care to be recognized as a board-certified clinical specialty area of practice by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties (ABPTS). Signatures are being collected now for the ABPTS petition.

    APTA at the Table

    • National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity
      APTA representatives attended the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity’s congressional briefing promoting the release of the latest edition of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. Hadiya Green Guerrero has been named to the coalition's board of directors.
    • National Institutes of Health
      Staff from APTA took part in a strategic planning session for NIH's National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
    • Movement is Life National Caucus
      APTA Director of Minority Affairs Johnette Meadows, PT MS, who serves on the Movement is Life national caucus steering committee, provided leadership on understanding health disparities at the group's most recent gathering.
    • Osteoarthritis Action Alliance (OAAA)
      APTA continues its participation in OAAA and is helping the alliance to promote the Arthritis Foundation's evidence-based self-directed "Walk With Ease" program guidebook on creating a community-based walking program for individuals with OA.

    Clinical Practice Guidelines: Updates

    • Adults With Neurologic Conditions
      The APTA Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy (ANPT) has published an APTA-funded clinical practice guideline titled "A Core Set of Outcome Measures for Adults With Neurologic Conditions Undergoing Rehabilitation." APTA is working with the ANPT now on implementing the CPG and sharing resources that have been developed by the section.
    • Total Knee Replacement
      The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS) is working with APTA practice staff to finalize action steps related to a clinical practice guideline on total knee replacement.The CPG will appear in an upcoming issue of PTJ (Physical Therapy) in 2019.

    Clinical Practice Guidelines: Resources

    APTA offers a wide range of resources for learning more about practice-related topics and staying connected. PTNow is a central source for evidence-based practice information including CPGs; other online resources include APTA's Annual Checkup by a Physical Therapist and Cultural Competence webpages. Members can stay connected by joining 1 or more APTA practice-related councils—the Council of Health Systems Physical Therapy, the Council on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Wellness, and Frontiers in Rehabilitation, Science, and Technology (FiRST) Council—and keep up with the latest practice-related news by subscribing to the Professional Issues and Evidence and Care editions of APTA's Friday Focus newsletter series to receive monthly compilations of practice-related news and resources. Questions? Email Practice-Dept@apta.org.

    New Medicare SNF Payment System Explained in Upcoming Q-and-A Sessions

    PTs and other providers in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) will face an entirely new payment methodology beginning in October. APTA can help you get up to speed.

    Similar to an earlier-announced educational series on the upcoming home health payment system change, APTA will host 2 live Q-and-A sessions with staff and member experts on the new SNF payment system, known as the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM). Presenters for the hour-long sessions—offered on March 12, 1:00 pm-2:00 pm ET, and March 14, 7:00 pm-8:00 pm ET—will answer questions from registered participants who've reviewed a prerecorded webinar that will be available after February 22. The recorded webinar and live sessions are free to APTA members

    Interested? Start by registering now for 1 of the Q-and-A sessions, then check back in on the SNF Patient-Driven Payment Model Webinars page on or after February 22 to download and review the recorded webinar. Have your questions ready for the hosts, including APTA Director of Regulatory Affairs Kara Gainer, JD; APTA Senior Payment Specialist Alice Bell, PT, DPT, board-certified geriatric clinical specialist; Jon Anderson, PT; Robert Latz, PT, DPT; and Ellen Strunk, PT, MS, board-certified geriatric clinical specialist.

    Clinicians in home health care will face a similar change in payment methodology beginning January 1, 2020, with implementation of the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM). APTA will host 2 Q-and-A sessions on the PDGM March 5 and 6.

    [Editor's note: Even more information on both the new SNF and new home health payment models is available on a specially created APTA webpage that includes resources from APTA and the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.]

    New APTA Policy Priorities Push for a More Wellness-Oriented, Value-Based, and Accessible Health Care System

    APTA's newest advocacy roadmap puts the current state of health care in the United States in stark terms—and commits the association to working for change.

    Describing the United States as being "at a crossroads," the association's 2019-2020 Public Policy Priorities document characterizes the country's health care system as one that favors treating illness over investing in prevention and wellness. It's an approach that APTA believes leaves too many Americans underserved, including people with disabilities, chronic conditions, and opioid addiction.

    The association's response? "This must change."

    The need for systemic change throughout the health care system is the common thread running throughout APTA's new resource, a high-level exploration of the areas that will be the focus of the association's advocacy efforts for the next 2 years. Much like the association's recently adopted strategic plan, the priorities point to an association that will fuel change at the societal level.

    The guide lays out 4 broad areas of emphasis for 2019 and 2020: population health; patient choice and access; value-based care and practice; and research and innovation. Within each area, the association lists multiple advocacy opportunities. Some, such as working for increased funding for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, are targeted at specific existing programs. Many others, however, such as a continued press for increased direct access to physical therapists (PTs) and decreased administrative burden, are more open-ended.

    The mix of general and specific was purposeful, according to Katy Neas, APTA's executive vice president of public affairs.

    "Over the course of 2018, the APTA Public Policy and Advocacy Committee [PPAC] developed policy recommendations that enhance the role of the profession as integral to an effective and efficient health care system that ensures better health outcomes for our patients," Neas said. "This guide advances the APTA Board of Directors' approval of the PPAC recommendations in ways that clearly reflect our commitment to true change in the health care system, and position APTA to partner with other stakeholders in innovative ways."

    Part of the reason the priorities take a more expansive approach is that an earlier advocacy goal—ending a hard stop on therapy services under Medicare part B, known as the "therapy cap"—was achieved in early 2018. With the nearly 2-decade battle over, the association found itself with an opportunity to survey an even wider advocacy landscape.

    Next: turning that plan into action, something that's already happening in many advocacy areas, according to Justin Elliott, APTA's vice president of government affairs.

    "Advocacy never stops for APTA and its members," Elliott said. "The new policy agenda includes many APTA existing priorities, such as our work to finalize the coverage of physical therapist assistants in the Department of Defense TRICARE program, but also creates opportunities to act as new legislation and policy possibilities arise."

    The new advocacy opportunities available to the profession will be a major focus of the upcoming APTA Federal Advocacy Forum in Washington, DC, a 3-day conference that provides the latest on regulatory and legislative issues affecting the profession, and ends with a chance for attendees to apply what they've learned by making in-person visits to Senate and House offices. The event is set for March 31 – April 1; registrations are open until March 18.

    APTA, ACSM Partnership Agreement Formalizes Long-Time Collaboration

    A longstanding collaborative relationship is now official: APTA and the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) have entered into a formal partnership that the organizations believe will strengthen their work toward improving health through movement.

    ACSM is now a participant in the APTA Partnerships Program, an initiative aimed at enhancing relationships between the association and other organizations that share common goals. ACSM joins Special Olympics, Move Together, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists, the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs in the program.

    ACSM and APTA aren't strangers to each other. The organizations have worked together before, and they hope to build on their relationship to bolster advocacy efforts as well as expand participation in each group's events and initiatives.

    "I am so pleased we were able to formalize our already productive and positive relationship with ACSM," said APTA CEO Justin Moore, PT, DPT, in an APTA news release. "Both organizations are founded in helping individuals live their best lives, and this partnership will help better achieve our goals."

    ACSM EVP and CEO Jim Whitehead also sees promise in the new partnership.

    "The American Physical Therapy Association is a recognized leader in promoting recovery, health, and wellness," said Whitehead. "Our 2 organization have a shared vision to improve lives through exercise and healthy lifestyles, so this partnership will open the door to tremendous opportunities that wouldn't be possible otherwise. We can't wait to get moving."

    ACSM's members number more than 50,000 and include physicians, scientists, researchers, educators, exercise professionals, and others in the field of sports medicine and exercise science. The mission of the college is to advance and integrate scientific research to provide educational and practical applications of exercise science and sports medicine.

    New Medicare Home Health Payment System Explained in Upcoming Q-and-A Sessions

    Private practice physical therapists (PTs) aren't the only ones facing major changes in the way Medicare provides reimbursement: PTs and other providers in the home health setting will face an entirely new payment methodology beginning next year. APTA can help you get up to speed.

    Coming in early March: 2 live Q-and-A sessions with APTA experts on the coming payment system, known as the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM). Presenters for the hour-long sessions—offered on March 5, 2:00 pm-3:00 pm ET, and March 6, 7:00 pm-8:00 pm ET—will answer questions from registered participants who've reviewed a prerecorded webinar that will be available February 20. The recorded webinar and live sessions are free to APTA members.

    Interested? Start by registering now for 1 of the Q-and-A sessions, then check back in on the Home Health Patient-Driven Groupings Model Webinars page on or after February 20 to download and review the recorded webinar. Have your questions ready for the hosts, including APTA Director of Regulatory Affairs Kara Gainer, JD; Bud Langham, PT, MBA; Carol Zehnacker, PT, DPT; and Ellen Strunk, PT, MS, a board-certified geriatric clinical specialist.

    Providers in skilled nursing facilities will face a similar change in payment methodology beginning in October, with implementation of the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM). APTA will host 2 Q-and-A sessions on the PDPM March 12 and 14.

    [Editor's note: Even more information on both the new home health and skilled nursing facility payment models is available on a specially created APTA webpage that includes resources from APTA and the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.]

    New APTA Strategic Plan: Leading the Profession and Association Into the Next Century

    Take a look at the new APTA strategic plan covering the next 3 years, and almost immediately something becomes abundantly clear: the association has no intention of kicking back and cruising into its centennial in 2021. Dig deeper, and you're likely to find that the goals to be reached between now and the beginning of APTA's next century are as ambitious as anything the association has ever attempted.

    The plan, now available on the APTA website, is the result of an 18-month-long Board of Directors effort that included input from nearly 4,000 stakeholders to identify where APTA needs to go to realize its vision of transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience. The end result: a roadmap built around 4 outward-facing goals, with measurable objectives that don't shy away from some ambitious targets.

    In an APTA Media Center interview conducted during APTA's 2019 Combined Sections Meeting, President Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD, characterized the plan as a new phase in the association's evolution.

    Dunn said that APTA's previous 5-year strategic plan served as a "pivot" away from work that supported the earlier "Vision 2020" statement and toward the association's current vision, adopted in 2013. During 2017 and 2018, and especially after listening to stakeholders and evaluating the association's opportunities, it became clear to the Board that the pivot was complete.

    "We were ready to make some bold moves toward actually transforming society," Dunn said.

    The 4 main goals in the new plan are centered on increasing member value and engagement, fostering the long-term sustainability of the physical therapy profession, elevating the quality of care provided by physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs), and maximizing stakeholder awareness of the value of physical therapy.

    Each goal contains 2—and in 1 case, 3—objectives that lay out specific activities that APTA will pursue. The goal aimed at stakeholder awareness of the value of physical therapy, for example, sets APTA on course to advocate for payment policies that increase patient access to physical therapy, to leverage the #ChoosePT campaign and MoveForwardPT.com as public information platforms, and to "embody the APTA mission and vision through an integrated brand strategy." The sustainability goal directs the association to "champion student and early-career issues including debt burden and career-earning potential," and to "make APTA an inclusive organization that reflects the diversity of the society the profession serves."

    The plan isn't designed to be all-inclusive. Many ongoing activities central to APTA—including federal and state advocacy—will continue to be integral parts of the association's operations. Rather than covering every area in which the association will be working, Dunn said, the new plan "looks at what is absolutely necessary to take us into our next century."

    According to Dunn, one of those elements—the long-term sustainability of the physical therapy profession—is a goal that reflects a pervasive sentiment among the stakeholders providing input on the strategic plan's development and, in the case of student debt and early-career earning potential, "one of the things that keep's [APTA] leadership up at night."

    Dunn explained that APTA's efforts in this area must include not only providing program faculty with resources and tools to help keep a lid on education costs but also a wider effort to make the profession itself as diverse and inclusive as possible—something Dunn believes is key to the profession's long-term sustainability.

    "We need to make the path [to becoming a PT or PTA] easy, make it affordable, and engage and mentor along the way," she said.

    All of the goals and objectives in the plan are equally ambitious and equally capable of having a strong impact on the profession and society, according to Dunn. Here's what she had to say about other elements of the plan:

    • On translating the latest research into tools and resources for practice: "There's a lag time to translating evidence into practice. The environment doesn't allow for that lag time anymore."
    • On supporting the growth of the APTA Physical Therapy Outcomes Registry: "Payers have our data, and we need to have our data and use it to advocate for the benefits of physical therapy."
    • On advocating for PTs on the primary care team: "Putting a physical therapist on the front end of anything—pain, chronic disease—rather than the back end, [results in] a lot of quality and cost savings."
    • On expanding the #ChoosePT campaign beyond the opioid epidemic: "[#ChoosePT] will evolve into other opportunities for the physical therapy profession to meet societal need."

    What's next? With the goals and objectives in place, APTA leadership is now developing metrics to not only measure progress but to help keep the association on course as it attempts to achieve results that, as Dunn said, "meet the needs of not only our society but our members as we treat our patients."

     

    2019 Federal Advocacy Forum Coming March 31; Registration Open Through March 18

    When it comes to federal advocacy for the physical therapy profession, the watchword is "new"—new priorities after the end of the hard cap on therapy services under Medicare last year, new challenges that have surfaced in the wake of rulemaking and other changes, and a new Congress that needs to be well-acquainted with the profession's message of patient-centered, transformative care. APTA's 2019 Federal Advocacy Forum, set for March 31-April 2, promises to help attendees navigate all those new twists and more.

    Registration is now open for the annual event, which brings together physical therapists (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs) and students together in Washington, DC, for a 3-day conference that provides the latest on regulatory and legislative issues affecting the profession, and ends with an opportunity for attendees to apply what they've learned by making in-person visits to Senate and House offices. Registration deadline is March 18.

    Other activities at the Forum include an evening reception, awards presentations, and breakout sessions on state and federal advocacy, regulatory affairs, and student action.

    "While 2018 was a year of real accomplishment, much more needs to be done with the new Congress that started this month," said Michael Matlack, APTA director of congressional affairs. "There are now almost 100 new members of Congress who need to learn about the essential role that physical therapy plays in the nation’s health care system—and in the lives of their constituents."

    [Editor's note: Want to get a feel for what the Federal Advocacy Forum is all about? Check out the video recap of the 2018 Forum on the Federal Advocacy Forum webpage.]