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James McKillip, PT, FAPTA, a pioneer in the physical therapy profession who played instrumental roles in everything from founding the section now known as APTA Private Practice to developing a fee schedule system, was recently honored with a namesake conference room at APTA Centennial Center, thanks to a generous gift to the APTA Physical Therapy Fund by partners of Therapeutic Associates, the company he helped to create.

The James McKillip Room, located on the top floor of APTA headquarters, honors a PT whose influence continues to be felt. McKillip died in February at age 96. Therapeutic Associates partners Warner Owens, PT; Todd Gifford, PT; and Steve Anderson, PT, were on hand for the dedication event.

A lifelong APTA member who joined in 1949, McKillip shared his expertise widely at both the national and California chapter levels. Among his many chapter leadership roles, he served as president of the Southern California chapter in the 1950s — before regional chapters merged to become a single state chapter — and as a California representative to the APTA House of Delegates. He continues to be recognized through the state chapter's James B. McKillip Leadership Award.

McKillip's service to APTA national includes service as association treasurer from 1973-78, preceded by participation on the association's Finance Committee. He received the APTA Lucy Blair Service Award in 1981 and was named a Catherine Worthingham Fellow in 2010. In addition, McKillip was a founder and vice chairman of what was then known as the APTA Self-Employed Section, later to become APTA Private Practice. He also served as chair of the board of trustees for what is now the Foundation for Physical Therapy Research, and was the first president of what is now known as PTPAC, the profession's political action committee.

Beyond his leadership at the association level and his skill in business development, McKillip is perhaps best known for his contributions to the establishment of physical therapy fee schedules, which resulted in the first relative value-based system for physical therapy fees. The system, ultimately adopted by the California chapter of the American Medical Association in 1962, reflected McKillip's commitment to pairing physical therapist practice with sound accounting principles.

In addition, McKillip was among the first PTs to negotiate contracts for PT services provided in hospitals, a shift that changed the status of physical therapy in those facilities. His insights into payment were often called upon at the APTA national level, where he consulted on association payment advocacy to Congress.

In remarks made during the room dedication in November, APTA President Roger Herr, PT, MPA, said that McKillip's contributions to the profession "can't be overstated."

"Jim was a multitalented physical therapist, businessperson, and advocate for physical therapy who was known for his dedication, his strategic thinking, and his tenacity," Herr said. "Put simply: Jim got things done. He was a force for the profession, and we're all better off because of it."

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