Survey: Your Boss Is Concerned About Your Retirement—To a Point

Health care employers understand the importance of offering a retirement plan to employees, and they may even be concerned that their employees are financially prepared to leave work, but taking steps to foster that kind of retirement readiness? That’s a trickier question.

Modern Healthcare survey of 523 health care executives looked at how health care employers think about retirement plans, and how they go about shaping them. The results show a strong sense of appreciation of a retirement plan as a benefit but more scattered views on whether the employer has a responsibility to do more than simply offer a plan.

When it comes to helping their employees reach retirement readiness—defined by most respondents as “when employees understand how their savings translate to income to support them through retirement”—the executives were sensitive to the role of the employer, with 87% responding that their organizations “feel responsible for helping employees become retirement ready.”

For more information on the healthcare survey, visit APTA

APTA Members: Important PT Evaluation and Reevaluation Code Values Survey Coming; Your Input Critical

APTA members are being alerted to be on the lookout for an important survey that will help to shape values for PT evaluation and reevaluation current procedural terminology (CPT) codes.

In the coming weeks, a random sampling of APTA members will receive a survey that focuses on CPT codes related to physical therapist evaluations and reevaluations. The survey is designed to determine the “professional work” value and time involved in the physical therapist’s provision of the services identified by each of these codes.

“Professional work value” includes the mental effort and judgment, technical skill, and psychological stress involved in providing the service.

Full story of PT evaluation code values at APTA

Beyond the Fitbit: Self-Monitoring As a Way of Life

A recent article in The Washington Post examines how the trend in self-monitoring technologies has quickly moved beyond the Fitbit, and now includes the ability to document and analyze—and widely share, if you want to—an almost-scary range of daily activities.

Welcome to your life, now more quantified than ever.

Post reporter Ariana Eunjung Cha explores the influence of wearables as part of “a global movement among ordinary people to ‘quantify’ themselves using wearable fitness gadgets, medical equipment, headcams, traditional lab tests and homemade contraptions, all with the goal of finding ways to optimize their bodies and minds to live longer, healthier lives — and perhaps to discover some important truth about themselves and their purpose in life.”

Full story of self monitoring a healthy life at APTA

National Academies of Practice Inducts PTs

Eight physical therapists (PTs) have been inducted into the ranks of the National Academies of Practice (NAP), a prominent health care advisory group focused on interdisciplinary collaboration.

According to a news release from NAP, induction is extended “to those who have excelled in their profession and are dedicated to further practice, scholarship, and policy in support of interprofessional care.”

Full story of PTs and ranks in the National Academies of Practice at APTA

Additional Day-Per-Week of Physical, Occupational Rehab Therapy Results in Cost-Savings

What a difference a day makes.

Researchers in Australia say that a study of inpatient rehabilitation there has revealed that adding Saturday physical and occupational therapy sessions to a weedays-only schedule can lower overall health care costs after 1 year while it increases functional independence.

For the study, researchers tracked public and private health care costs of 996 patients admitted to 2 inpatient rehabilitation facilities. The patients were divided into 2 groups: 1 group of 500 that received 1 hour each of physical therapy and occupational therapy Monday through Friday, and a second group of 496 patients who received the therapy sessions on Saturdays, too. Authors of the study were interested in finding whether the cost of the additional day of rehab therapies was offset by patient gains that resulted in lower health care expenditures after 1 year.

Full story of additional days to therapy at APTA

Death Rate From Falls Doubles for Americans 65 and Older From 2000-2013

The rate of deaths from fall injury among Americans 65 and older nearly doubled between 2000 and 2013, and falls now represent over half of the total deaths from unintentional injury among that group, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In a data brief issued on May 7, the CDC reported that from 2000 to 2013, the age-adjusted fall injury death rate rose from 29.6 per 100,000 Americans 65 and older to 56.7 per 100,000. Falls-related deaths now represent 55% of all unintentional injury deaths for that group, 1 of only 2 unintentional injury categories that actually rose during the study period (unintentional poisoning was the other category that showed an increase, but the uptick was slight, and at 4% represents the next-to-smallest cause).

Full story of fall death rates doubling at APTA

Use of Mobility Devices Up By 50% Among Adults 65 and Older

Americans 65 and over are using mobility devices such as canes and walkers more than ever—and increasingly, using more than 1 device, depending on the setting. And while that use doesn’t necessarily mean that these adults are experiencing more—or fewer—falls than their counterparts who don’t use mobility devices, the usage rates could challenge professionals who provide training to rethink their approaches, according to a new study.

In an article published in the May 6 issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers shared data collected from National Health and Aging Trends (NHAT) surveys conducted in 2011 and 2012, and compared those data with earlier surveys. The 2011-2012 data included a nationally representative sample of 7,609 community-dwelling Medicare beneficiaries.

Full story of health mobility devices up 50% at APTA

Air Force Adopts Direct Access

The US Air Force has officially joined the ranks of supporters of direct access to physical therapist services: in a transition that will roll out over the coming months, all active duty members with acute musculoskeletal injuries will be able to make an appointment directly with an Air Force physical therapist without referral.

According to a May 5 announcement, part of the motivation for a move toward direct access was driven by the fact that for 3 of the past 5 years, musculoskeletal injuries have been the biggest reason for Air Force members to seek health care, and accounted for nearly half of the reason for limited duty in 2013.

Full story of Air Force to adopt Direct Access at APTA

FDA Wants More Data on Effectiveness, Safety of Health Care Antiseptics

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) thinks that it’s time to take a closer look at how well health care antiseptics work, and whether they pose safety risks to the health care personnel who use them.

On April 30, the FDA announced a proposed rule that would require manufacturers of the antiseptics to provide “additional scientific data” on the safety and effectiveness of active ingredients of health care antiseptics. Companies have up to 1 year to submit new data and information, after which the FDA will issue its opinion.

The antiseptics that would be subject to the additional scrutiny include hand washes and rubs, surgical hand scrubs and rubs, and patient preoperative skin preparations, including pre-injection preparations.

Full story of FDA on antiseptics safety at APTA

5 Things to Think About Before Taking a Break or Leave From Physical Therapy

For many physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs), the time will come for them to take a break from active practice. Sometimes it’s relatively brief—time off to care for a new baby, for example—and sometimes it’s longer-term. And chances are that sooner or later, most of these PTs and PTAs will want to return to the profession they love.

APTA offers a solid set of resources on career management, including career management resources useful for women in physical therapy, that will help you prepare yourself for a break, and get your head around what it takes to reenter the profession.

Full story of leaving PT active practice at APTA