The past year had its share of challenges and downright disappointments. That's all the more reason to celebrate the successes.
Besides our initiatives to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the physical therapy profession, and our efforts to support our members' continued professional growth, there were other reasons to look back on the year with a sense of pride. Here are four of them.
We made significant advocacy gains for the profession.
The proposed Medicare cut loomed large in 2020, but that didn't stop us from achieving other significant wins, including a moratorium on a 2% Medicare sequestration cut for 2020, the launch of a TRICARE pilot that waives cost-sharing for physical therapy visits for low back pain, confirmation from the Department of Veterans Affairs that its PTs can practice anywhere in the country with a single license, and the lifting of code pairing prohibitions by CMS that got in the way of best practices. But some of the most significant gains made during the year involved CMS and most major commercial insurers allowing PTs and PTAs to engage in telehealth — a change that APTA has advocated for years.
We increased the public's understanding of physical therapy.
More people than ever are understanding what it means to ChoosePT. Whether you were in Times Square on New Year's Eve (or the three months after), to see the ChoosePT digital billboard at 43rd Street and Broadway prior to the pandemic, or you visited our retooled consumer-facing website, ChoosePT.com, you saw a new message that has expanded past its beginnings as safe pain management campaign.
The new consumer website is easy to navigate, includes an improved Find a PT database, and offers content customized to a visitor's location. And it's facilitating a new public awareness campaign that launched this year and will continue through APTA's centennial year: promotion of the importance of physical activity and the role of PTs and PTAs in helping people get and stay moving. (Much more to come!)
Additionally, we educated the media about the important role PTs play in patient care during the coronavirus pandemic. We continue to field media requests about recovery in a variety of settings including acute care, private practice, home health, and telehealth.
Our members were more engaged than ever (and setting records).
We started the year with a record turnout for the APTA Combined Sections Meeting in Denver — more than 18,000 participants. But that was just one facet of our members' growing engagement with the association: The APTA’s NEXT virtual conference drew 7,000 registrants, and this year's APTA National Student Conclave was the largest ever, with more than 3,200 virtual attendees. And we conducted a highly successful APTA House of Delegates in June in a virtual format, made possible through delegates' commitment to governance of APTA under any circumstance.
We positioned ourselves to enter APTA's centennial year with a new brand and website.
Yes, we have a new logo and look. But our new brand is much bigger than that: It's about strengthening our community, empowering our members, and providing trusted leadership. Anchored by a completely redesigned website that makes it easier than ever to find the information you want, our new brand is all about giving our members what they need to thrive, and setting the tone for the profession as it enters its second century.