Recognition of the importance of nonpharmacological pain therapies, adoption of the physical therapy licensure compact, a higher-profile role for physical therapists (PTs) in concussion management, and improving the legal scope of practice for physical therapists were among the accomplishments of this year's APTA State Legislative Leadership and Legislative Commitment Award winners recognized at the association's recent State Policy and Payment Forum in Kansas City, Missouri. The event was co-hosted by the Missouri and Kansas chapters of APTA.
This year, 4 PTs were honored for their service to the profession at the state level:
Mark Bishop, PT, PhD, FAPTA, was presented with an APTA State Legislative Leadership Award for his work in Florida to address the opioid crisis. Bishop's leadership and expertise was instrumental in the Florida Physical Therapy Association's development of a legislative amendment, adopted into the Florida Substance Abuse Act, that requires prescribers of controlled substances to complete a 2-hour continuing education course on prescribing controlled substances that must include information on nonpharmacological therapies.
Cynthia Driskell, PT, also earned an APTA State Legislative Leadership Award in recognition of her achievements over 8 years as state legislative chair for the Arizona Chapter of APTA. Driskell's skills at facilitation were most recently brought to bear on a multisession effort to include PTs among the providers empowered to make return-to-play decisions for athletes and a successful push to include PTs with a sports specialty certification to participate in a concussion management pilot program.
Derek Gerber, PT, DPT, of Idaho, was the third recipient of a State Legislative Leadership Award. Gerber led a successful push to eliminate the state's prohibition on dry needling by PTs, a change that was signed into law in March. Thanks to Gerber's extensive involvement in the effort, Idaho now allows PTs to practice dry needling after they have completed specified education and training requirements.
Emilie Jones, PT, DPT, was honored with the APTA State Legislative Commitment Award. Jones, who served 3 years as legislative committee chair for the Washington Chapter of APTA, was instrumental in addressing several crucial issues in the state, including assistive personnel revisions, progress on dry needling, and the adoption of the physical therapy licensure compact.
The APTA State Policy and Payment Forum focuses on advocacy and legislative issues at the state level.
This year's state legislative award winners (from left): Emilie Jones, PT, DPT; Derek Gerber, PT, DPT; and Cynthia Driskell, PT. Not pictured: Mark Bishop, PT, PhD, FAPTA. Jones, Driskell, and Bishop received State Legislative Leadership Awards; Gerber received a State Legislative Commitment Award.