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  • APTA Learning Center Offers Free Online Courses

    The opportunities include both live and recorded telehealth webinars, as well as self-paced courses on a range of topics — all free to APTA members.

    In these challenging times, PTs, PTAs, and students face multiple pressures — including the pressure to keep up with changing practice dynamics in the wake of a global pandemic.

    APTA's Learning Center can help. The association's online continuing education platform now offers a collection of webinars and courses that can provide you with insight into telehealth, where some of the most significant changes are happening to the profession in response to the COVID-19 emergency. APTA has also collected self-paced courses on a variety of other topics that are perfect for when you need to give yourself time away from the current crisis.

    All listed offerings are free to APTA members; some are free to everyone. Unless otherwise noted, all offerings include the opportunity to earn CEUs.

    Courses include:

    Live Online Telehealth Webinar

    Recorded Webinars on Telehealth

    Self-Paced Courses on Other Topics

    APTA Wants To Hear From You About Your COVID-19 Experiences

    Are you on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic? APTA would like to hear from PTs, PTAs, and students about their experiences.

    The COVID-19 pandemic continues to change lives in dramatic ways, with more to come even after the crisis ends. APTA wants to know how you're doing.

    For example:

    • How are you meeting the needs of your patients under current conditions?
    • Are you volunteering to make a difference in your community?
    • Are you transitioning to or retraining for a new setting?
    • What challenges are you overcoming in your clinic or facility that are specific to your setting or patient population?
    • What advice would you give to other PTs facing similar challenges?

    “APTA is committed to helping all PTs, PTAs, and students navigate this crisis," says Heidi Kosakowski, PT, DPT, APTA senior practice specialist. "One PT’s experience could help another in their decision-making process — and help APTA elevate the collective voice of our members.”

    If you would like to share your story, you can submit via APTA Engage. Responses may be published in APTA publications or on APTA's website.

    APTA House of Delegates Packet Posted

    The online resource provides information on 41 motions, including seven proposed amendments to the APTA bylaws.

    APTA members can now access the first official packet of motions that will be considered by the 2020 APTA House of Delegates (House) when it convenes June 1-3, 2020.

    Called "Packet 1," the compilation contains 41 motions to the 2020 House of Delegates and is provided as the official notice of all motions. In May, “Packet I” will be replaced with a document titled “Packet I With Background Papers,” which will also include background papers on various motions.

    There are seven bylaws amendments that are coming before the 2020 House of Delegates. These amendments are:

    • RC 1-20 Amend: Bylaws of the American Physical Therapy Association to Grant Life Members the Privilege of Serving as Delegates to the House of Delegates
    • RC 2-20 Amend: Bylaws of the American Physical Therapy Association, Article IX. Finance, Section 3: Dues
    • RC 3-20 Amend: Bylaws of the American Physical Therapy Association and Standing Rules of the American Physical Therapy Association to Change the Date That National Elected Leaders Assume Office
    • RC 4-20 Amend: Bylaws of the American Physical Therapy Association and Standing Rules of the American Physical Therapy Association to Allow a Public Member to Serve on the APTA Board of Directors
    • RC 5-20 Amend: Bylaws of the American Physical Therapy Association, Article XIV. Amendments
    • RC 6-20 Amend: Bylaws of the American Physical Therapy Association to Allow Sections to Vote in the House of Delegates
    • RC 7-20 Amend: Bylaw Amendment and Standing Rule Amendment to Restructure APTA Board of Directors by Removing the Officers of the House of Delegates

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 House of Delegates will be conducted in a virtual format over the scheduled June 1-3 dates. APTA will share additional information with delegates as it becomes available via the House of Delegates online hub.

    Delegates should continue using the Motions Discussion forum in the House of Delegates online hub to participate in discussion.

    Contact APTA’s Justin Lini with any questions.

    APTA Wants Your Physical Activity Videos

    A new project will collect and share videos that help Americans remain physically active during social distancing and isolation.

    APTA is seeking physical therapists willing to record video of themselves leading exercises specific to their area of practice or clinical expertise that can be safely and easily done at home.

    Approved videos will be posted to ChoosePT.com, APTA’s official consumer information website, and shared on our social media platforms geared toward consumers. Last year, ChoosePT.com attracted nearly 4 million unique visitors.

    Participants can choose to create either a 20-minute video featuring a series of exercises, or several shorter videos featuring one exercise (with possible modifications for various fitness levels). Check out this video, produced by APTA member Megan Brown, PT, DPT, for ChoosePT.com for an example.

    "The goal is to encourage Americans to keep moving while they are at home following the CDC’s guidelines to prevent the further spread of COVID-19," said Jason Bellamy, APTA's executive vice president of strategic communications. "This is also an opportunity to help APTA raise awareness about physical therapists’ roles as movement experts and to connect the public with ChoosePT.com, where visitors can learn about the value of physical therapy and find a PT in their area."

    Interested? Let us know through this dedicated page on APTA Engage, the association's online center for volunteer opportunities. APTA staff will follow up with instructions for recording your video.

    Tell Congress: Improvements in Telehealth, Reimbursement Should be Part of Pandemic Response

    As lawmakers craft the next COVID-19 relief package, now's the time to make the case for the profession's role in telehealth services and the need for easing reimbursement cuts.

    The COVID-19 relief package signed into law last week wasn't the last word on temporary changes that could help blunt the impact of the pandemic: There's another package being worked on in Congress right now, and the physical therapy community needs to make its voice heard.

    APTA is making it easy. Visit a dedicated page in the APTA legislative action center to quickly contact your lawmakers and remind them to help the profession respond to the pandemic by establishing telehealth for PTs and addressing reimbursement reductions.

    Your patients can do the same, by way of APTA's patient action center.

    Take a few minutes now to create long-lasting change.

    New COVID-19 Volunteer Resource Connects PTs, PTAs, Students With Facilities in Need

    APTA's new service allows facilities to share their needs and creates matches with volunteers able to provide key services.

    The physical therapy profession has never backed away from a challenge. Now there's a new opportunity for PTs, PTAs, and physical therapy students to respond to the current COVID-19 pandemic through volunteer efforts.

    APTA has launched a new online service that helps connect members of the physical therapy profession with facilities looking for volunteers. The service offers two points of entry — one for facilities in need of PT, PTA, or student volunteers, and another for PTs, PTAs, and students willing to offer their services, by way of the APTA Engage volunteer portal.

    Volunteers could serve in a wide range of capacities as areas around the world move through acute, response, and recovery phases: PTs and PTAs with appropriate experience can help to free up needed ICU beds and ventilators by providing treatments that can reduce some patients’ need for mechanical ventilation. As areas and people recover, there will also be a need for volunteers able to help individuals get back to work through improving mobility, function, and quality of life.

    Michel Landry, BScPT, MBA, PhD, a professor in the Doctor of Physical Therapy Division in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Duke University School of Medicine and an affiliate in the Duke Global Health Institute, is coordinating volunteer-facility matches for the program. He can be reached through Twitter at @ptcovid19.

    For more insight into the pandemic, disaster response, epidemiological background, and the role the profession can play in care and recovery, check out this recording of a March 27 APTA FaceBook Live event at the bottom of the volunteer connection page.

    The Good Stuff: Members and the Profession in the Media, March 2020

    "The Good Stuff" is an occasional series that highlights recent media coverage of physical therapy and APTA members, with an emphasis on good news and stories of how individual PTs and PTAs are transforming health care and society every day. More than ever these days, we need to know there’s good stuff out there. Enjoy!

    There's no place but home: Jacob Kmiecik, PT, DPT, provides tips on wellness for people working from home during the coronavirus pandemic.(KING5 News, Seattle)

    When tech's a pain: Colleen Louw, PT, offers five tips that can help undo muscle tension associated with the use of phones, computers, and other tech. (Real Simple)

    Custom tai chi: Jennifer Penrose, PT, DPT, has developed tai chi and yoga programs customized to her patients and clients.(Thurston County, Washington, Thurston Talk)

    Wii will rock you: Jeanette Tousignant, PT, explains how her clinic uses videogame technology to help address balance deficits.(UPMatters.com)

    Bike to fight cancer: Catherine Kennedy, PT, DPT, MS, explains her approach to encouraging stationary bike exercise to patients in the Comer Children's Hospital pediatric unit in Chicago, which has received a donated bike as part of "Bike to Fight," an initiative started by a pediatric cancer survivor.(Washington Post)

    Dilation training: Sara Reardon, PT, DPT, outlines why vaginal dilators can help decrease vaginismus pain. (insider.com)

    Data dive: Lee Marinko, PT, BSPT, ScD, is part of a Boston University Physical Therapy Center project that collects extensive patient data to create personalized plans of care. (Mirage News)

    Ruck and roll: Michael Polascik PT, BSPT, ATC, DScPT, and Don Walsh PT, DPT, MS, are part of a research team monitoring the physiological responses of U.S. Army Corps of Cadets soldiers during "ruck marches" conducted in full combat gear while shouldering a 35-pound sack. (University of North Georgia News)

    Exercising with joint pain: Anne Marie Bierman, PT, DPT, suggests five workouts that should be considered by individuals who are experiencing joint pain. (sheknows.com)

    Improving batting averages: Kelly Chance, PT, helps a local quilt guild understand how to reduce muscle strain while working on their projects.(Victoria, Texas, Advocate)

    Protecting and serving the protectors and servers: Sarah Greytak, PT, DPT, and Daniel Jonte, PT, are part of a newly created program that has embedded a physical therapy program within the Denver Police Department. (CBS4 News, Denver)

    Quotable: "While I personally enjoy utilizing a variety of body-work professionals, I do believe physical therapists are the movement specialists. They are trained to look at muscular balance, fatigue, neuromuscular control and much more. Physical therapists are not just for surgical recovery anymore! In many areas your physical therapist can be your first entry point into medical care and help get you back to moving pain-free! "– Dana Reid, on the importance of seeking out a PT for treatment of running-related injuries. (womensrunning.com)

    Got some good stuff? Let us know. Send a link to troyelliott@apta.org.

    Alert: Suspect 'Checks' Are Making the Rounds

    It isn't really payment for services — it's a tactic that makes it easy for you to unwittingly agree to join a provider network.

    Did you recently receive what appears to be a check for payment of services from a national proprietary provider network? Be careful: It may not be what you think.

    APTA has been made aware that some PTs are receiving what looks like a check but is in fact an agreement to participate in a provider network. The fine print that accompanies the check makes it clear: Endorsing and cashing or depositing this check constitutes acceptance of network participation, and acceptance and agreement of all terms and conditions of the agreement. APTA is sharing this information with you as a reminder of the importance of thoroughly reading all information from a payer or third-party administrator, or TPA.

    Before cashing or depositing checks from payers or third-party administrators make sure you are aware of any conditions associated with its processing. If you have office staff that manages checks received by your clinic, it is strongly recommended that you inform them of this practice and the need for you to be alerted to this type of communication from a payer or TPA.

    If you have questions or concerns contact advocacy@apta.org. Additionally, if you have been solicited by a network such as the one described above please let us know. For more information regarding managed care contracting, visit the APTA Commercial Insurance webpage.

    Please share this information with your colleagues.

    APTA Launches Fundraising Campaign for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

    The first 10,000 people to contribute at least $10 will have their name included on the Community Wall at APTA’s new headquarters.

    APTA’s centennial is fewer than nine months away, but already the association is building a foundation for its next 100 years.

    Today, APTA opened online donations for the Campaign for Future Generations, a two-year fundraising initiative to support the association’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

    The campaign aligns with the association’s current strategic plan, which includes a goal to foster the long-term sustainability of the profession by making APTA an inclusive organization that reflects the diversity of the society the profession serves.

    APTA has a long history of providing support to PT and PTA students and faculty of ethnic and racial minorities through the Minority Scholarship Fund, which is included in the campaign. In addition, the Dimensions of Diversity Fund has been established to support additional DEI initiatives, as approved by APTA’s Board of Directors. Unrestricted donations made to the association’s Physical Therapy Fund also would support the Dimensions of Diversity Fund or the Minority Scholarship Fund, as needed.

    APTA will also donate any net proceeds from its centennial year events and activities to support the Campaign for Future Generations.

    “As we think about the profession and association we want to be in our next century, we have to be intentional about DEI,” said APTA President Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD. “It was important to our board that we use our centennial year to establish a legacy gift that will support the stewardship of our association and profession.”

    APTA is already expanding its efforts on DEI. For example, last year APTA conducted or attended 25 recruitment events, reaching over 10,000 students, parents, teachers, and guidance counselors to improve pipelines to the profession. APTA also is advocating for the Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act, which creates a scholarship program for individuals from underrepresented populations for the fields of physical therapy, occupational therapy, audiology, and speech-language pathology.

    DEI was also a theme of President Dunn’s 2018 and 2019 annual addresses to the House of Delegates.

    What you can do:

    Coronavirus Reports: What We Know, and What We Don't

    Every day there are new developments in the spread of coronavirus — also known as COVID-19 — but there are also debates among experts on how the disease is spread and its impact on people who become infected. While overall risk of catching the disease is low, health care professionals are at higher risk. APTA reminds PTs and PTAs to follow precautions for reducing the spread of infectious diseases — an important aspect of health care to be mindful of at all times, not just during periods of high risk.

    Since the disease first appeared in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, it has affected over 92,000 people in more than 70 countries on every continent. As of the afternoon of March 3, the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus tracker registered 108 COVID-19 cases in the United States, including six deaths.

    Note: at this time all APTA national events are continuing as scheduled. Contact APTA member services if you have questions related to attendance of an upcoming event.

    As with all public health situations, we primarily rely on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, and the U.S. Office of the Surgeon General for the best information and preventive strategies.

    Here is a roundup of what is being reported by public health and infectious disease experts:

    The World Health Organization says risk of global spread "very high." (Bloomberg)
    On Monday, March 2, WHO increased its warning of global spread and impact risk from "high" to "very high." In response to the disease's spread, many countries have tightened border controls, restricted flights, shut down schools, and cancelled large events. (The CDC provides a travel update webpage.)

    The average infected patient spreads the virus to 2.2 others. (NEJM)
    Researchers in China estimate that on average individuals with COVID-19 have been spreading the illness to at least 2 people, compared with 3 with SARS. Authors write, "Measures to prevent or reduce transmission should be implemented in populations at risk." According to the CDC, among travel-related U.S. cases there has been "no sustained person-to-person transmission" of symptomatic COVID-19.

    The mortality rate is estimated around 3.4%, but some say it may be less than that. (Reuters)
    While the current mortality rate from COVID-19 is approximately 3.4%, some experts say that the mortality rate could be much lower because many carriers with mild or no symptoms may not be identified.

    Experts are unsure why some recovered patients appear to become reinfected. (Reuters)
    In confirmed cases in Japan and China, some recovered patients have again tested positive for COVID-19 but were not contagious. Experts are uncertain whether these are new infections. People could become reinfected because they didn't build up enough antibodies while they were infected the first time, but it's also possible that the virus could lie dormant and symptoms could reappear again later.

    Debate still is under way about transmission via hard surfaces. (Reuters)
    While experts agree that the virus is mainly transmitted by respiratory droplets in the air — coughing or sneezing on a person — research is ongoing on whether hard surfaces are a significant route of transmission. CDC Director Robert Redfield told Congress, "On copper and steel it's pretty typical, it's pretty much about two hours, but I will say on other surfaces — cardboard or plastic — it's longer, and so we are looking at this." (WHO recommends disinfecting any hard surfaces.)

    The Surgeon General discourages masks for non-health care providers. (CNN Health)
    U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, MD, MPH, asks the public to stop buying face masks to prevent COVID-19 infection. According to Adams, it results in a shortage for the health care providers who need them, and people who wear them incorrectly could actually increase their chance of being infected.

    To keep abreast of evidence-based news on COVID-19, here a few free reputable sources: