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Listening Time — 13:36

On this episode, APTA staff experts share highlights from APTA's final COVID-19 report, updates on telehealth payment, and a preview of the APTA Future of Physical Therapy Summit.

The following were discussed in this episode:


Our Speakers

This episode features APTA Practice Specialists Sarah Amesbury, PT, DPT; Jeanine Kolman, PT, DPT; and Stacey Schwartz, PT, DPT. Kellen McCarthy, associate managing editor of PTJ: Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Journal and a specialist on APTA's Scientific Affairs team, also joins the conversation. APTA Practice Associate Candace Lambert hosts this episode.  

The following transcript was created using artificial intelligence and may contain typos, omissions, or other errors.

Candace: Hi everyone. It's Candace Lambert, APTA practice associate and it's time for some updates from the practice team. We're counting down the days to the future of physical therapy summit and we want to share some information about a few of our key tools and resources for clinicians. Today I'm joined by three of APTA practice specialists, Jeanine Kolman, Stacey Schwartz and Sarah Amesbury. We also have Kellen McCarthy from our APTA scientific affairs team. Hi, ladies. How's everyone doing?

Jeanine: Great.

Stacey: Great.

Kellen: Great.

Sarah: Yeah.

Candace: First I wanna start off by giving our listeners a reminder about some important deadlines. So, Jeanine, what should our Members know about specialist certifications?

Jeanine: So if you are a physical therapist and you're ready to take your career to the next level. You can apply for specialist certification and join a prestigious group of over 30,000 of your peers who demonstrate competency in specialized knowledge and advanced clinical proficiency in 10 different areas. Board-certified specialists are making a difference in the lives of patients and APTA members always save 45% off combined application and exam fees, new this year, apply early and save an extra $100 off fees. Both members and non members can take advantage of this early bird discount. Got a couple of dates to let you know about, so if you're interested in sitting for the Board certification exams for cardiovascular and pulmonary, clinical electrophysiology, oncology, Women's Health, or wound management, the early bird deadline is July 1st. Submission fees go up on July 2nd and the final application deadline is September 30th.

If you're interested in sitting further board certification exam for geriatrics, neurology, orthopedics, Pediatrics, or sports, the early bird deadline is July 31st. Submission fees will go up August 1st and the final application deadline is also September 30th, so get started today and apply at

And if you're a physical therapist assistant, you can journey to excellence with APTA's PTA Advanced Proficiency Pathways program. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, and applications that are received by August 31st will be reviewed in September. You can learn more about this program at

Candace: Thanks, Jeanine. So let's take advantage of those early bird deadline folks. Now we want to check in with Stacy for updates on a few helpful resources. Stacy, we know that the newly published APTA Guide to Physical Therapist Practice 4.0 included some major revisions, including information on social determinants of health, career advancement and imaging. What should early career PT and PTA's know about the guide?

Stacey: As our members know the guide to physical therapist practice is the seminal description of physical therapist practice, and the newest addition reflects the evolution of the profession. The guide is popular with the PT and PTA educators, but I wanna highlight a few ways early career professionals can really get the most out of the guide: Anchor your practice in strong foundational concepts found in the guide; playing integral role in optimizing your patients and clients, quality of life and performance through prevention, health, promotion, Wellness and fitness; maximize the power of your evaluative skills and quantify outcomes by using tests and measures in the guide. Of course, APTA members receive free unlimited access to the guide.

Candace: That's right, Stacey. We encourage everyone to check out the guide and bookmark it online. Over the course of the public health emergency for COVID-19 APTA surveyed our members and monitored how the pandemic was affecting the physical therapy profession. Our final report, three years of physical therapy in a public health emergency, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the physical therapy profession compares data from our surveys. The first one, conducted in spring 2020 and the last survey conducted in July and August 2022, each survey offered a snapshot in time. Now that the public health emergency has ended, data shows the physical therapy profession has largely returned to its prepandemic norms. But there are some areas of the workforce that may be changed forever. Stacy, what are those highlights?

Stacey: Nearly 10,000 more physical therapists left the workforce in 2021 than graduated into the workforce in 2021, according to data from CAPTE and Definitive Healthcare. About half of all PTs and PTAs surveyed reported knowing someone who has left the field of PT. Before the pandemic. 4% of PT S said they used telehealth to provide patient care and 6% reported seeing one to five patients per week via telehealth. As of our latest survey, 33% of PTs reported that they provide telehealth based services, with 25% of those seeing one to five patients per week using telehealth. A majority of PT and PTAs reported seeing patients with long COVID.

Candace: As APTA president Roger Herr said in the report, the physical therapy profession has overcome many challenges but PT and PTA's will be crucial in shaping our recovery from COVID 19. So Speaking of public health emergency, let's pop over to Sarah and talk about telehealth.

Sarah: Well guys, I'm happy to report that with the help of APTA's advocacy efforts, telehealth is here to stay for the foreseeable future. As of May 2023, CMS will allow the provision of telehealth services across a range of facilities just as they were permitted during the public health emergency. The major advocacy win means that PTs in skilled nursing facilities, home health and rehab agencies can continue to provide remote services under Medicare Part B. Although CMS has yet to say when those allowances might end, CMS stipulated that telehealth could continue through the end of 2023 in these settings. This potential end date, though, does not line up with the telehealth end dates for PT and PTA's in private practices, which are expected to be extended through December 31st, 2024. APTA, ASHA, and AOTA are pushing for answers, which CMS will most likely provide when it issues the 2024 proposed Medicare physician fee schedule later this year or just the fee schedule. Meanwhile, APTA, APTA and other organizations are pushing for lawmakers to permanently include PT's and PTA's in the list of providers allowed to provide telehealth services under Medicare. An APTA backed bipartisan bill, to do just that, was introduced in the House of Representatives on June 6th. We could really use your voice to make this a reality. Go to the APTA Patient Action Center to send a message to your lawmaker, encouraging them to support the expanded Telehealth Access Act, AKA HR 3875, and for even more good news. For the time being, Medicare fee for service beneficiaries can expect coverage of RTN and RPM procedures and patients can continue to bill for RTM codes under the Medicare physician fee schedule.

Candace: Thanks Sarah for keeping our Members in the know about the latest telehealth news. Now let's chat a bit about the future of physical therapy summit that's coming up.

Stacey: While registrations off to a great start and we're super excited about our keynote speakers, there's major Danielle Anderson who provides care to NASA astronauts while gathering information to enable human performance optimization before, during, and after spaceflight. As the US looks to the future of manned operations into space, she ensures that medical the medical community is well equipped to support and train for such operations. The other keynote speaker is Doctor Conor Walsh and he's a Paul Maeder professor of engineering and applied sciences at Harvard, Johnny Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Scientists Sciences. His multidisciplinary Harvard Biodesign lab brings students, researchers and staff together with clinical collaborators to tackle projects from multiple perspectives, with a focus on approaches that can all smoothly lead to translation of new technologies.

We'll also have presenters demoing motion AI, chart auditing AI, remote therapeutic monitoring, virtual reality, virtual front desk and force plates. There will be plenty of time for networking and a few surprises for attendees.

Candace: Exciting stuff, Stacey. Speaking of New Kellen, thanks for joining us on the podcast today for the first time, a special welcome to you.

Kellen: Thanks for having me.

Candace: You work as the associate managing editor with PTJ: Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Journal. Give us the scoop on a few key articles.

Kellen:  PTJ published 4 great articles recently. First, Seth Peterson published a point of view about narrative and physical therapy and how storytelling can help physical therapists better understand patients, themselves, and their place in the world. The article is titled How Stories Help Us See Ourselves. The power of storytelling by physical therapists, and it's gotten a lot of attention on Twitter. Check out at Doctor Seth PT and at Ptjournal to join the conversation.

Second, Ndidiamaka Matthews and colleagues published a case report titled implementation of a comprehensive Anti Racism plan in an academic physical therapy department, which describes the systematic approaches taken by a physical therapy department to implement long term support for equity, diversity, inclusion and antiracism in the University of Southern California healthcare system. The report discusses the four strategies they contribute to organizational change, which are holding ourselves accountable, developing a plan, building consensus, and providing education, support and resources.

Finally, Chris Mayne and colleagues published 2 companion perspectives on how to implement psychologically informed practice, which is a framework that includes a special focus on psychosocial obstacles to recovery. The first article titled Psychologically Informed Practice the importance of communication and clinical implementation or use the significance of clinical consultations. The second article, titled The Psychologically Informed Practice Consultation Road Map, a clinical implementation strategy, offers a guide on how to structure those clinical consultations.

But don't worry, you didn't catch all those details. We'll put the links to all these articles on the episode page on Go check them out.

Candace: Absolutely, Kellen. And remember folks, all members get free access to PTJ, so we're going to wrap things up for this episode with a few more resources for our members.

Sarah: That's right. Candace May was mental Health Awareness Month and we know just how important it is for PT and PTAs to take time for their own health and well being all year round. We gathered up resources from APTA, the American Psychological Association, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, and others to help clinicians when it comes to self care. One of my favorite resources on the list is a Ted talk on why we all need to practice emotional first aid. That's like care for the mind, the same way that you care for the body.

And finally I've got an update on APTA's digital health app formulary powered by ORCA. That site will go live for all APTA members on July 21st, the same day as APTA future of PT Summit in Washington, DC.

Candace: Thanks so much, Sarah. It's always a good time to prioritize your mental health. I want to take the time to thank Stacy, Jeanine, Sarah and Kellen for joining me today and for sharing outstanding updates about what the practice team has been working on. I know I can speak for our listeners when I say thank you for all the work you're doing. OK, that about wraps it up for this episode, but just a quick reminder to all our listeners. APTA's website is where you can find a wealth of practice information. So I hope you'll make it a regular stop if you want to keep up with all the latest happenings, be sure that you're subscribed to APTA weekly, the free member email we sent out on Wednesdays that connects you with news, resources, journal articles, and more. And since you're still hanging around, go ahead and pop over and follow us on Facebook and Twitter so you don't miss a thing. Once again, I'm Candace Lambert and thanks so much to our members and supporters for listening.

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