PTs Play Prominent Roles in Warrior Games, Coverage of Women’s World Cup

From the Women’s World Cup to the US Department of Defense (DOD) “Warrior Games” taking place this week, you don’t have to look too hard to find a physical therapist (PT) or physical therapist assistant (PTA) involved—and sometimes in some high-profile ways.

Recently, Fox Sports tapped John Gallucci Jr, PT, DPT, to serve as its sports medicine analyst during the network’s coverage of the Women’s World Cup soccer tournament taking place in Canada. According to an article in the Staten Island Advance, Gallucci will be on call for phone or live interviews, offering his analysis should injuries need to be discussed during Fox coverage.

Besides bringing the expertise of a PT to the discussions, Gallucci will also bring insights gained through his role as the medical coordinator for Major League Soccer.

Full story of PT’s role in Women’s World Cup at APTA

From the Foundation: CoHSTAR Looking to Fund Studies; Fellowships and Scholarships Announced

The physical therapy profession’s first center of excellence for health services and health policy research is now accepting letters of intent for pilot study funding, but the July 15 deadline is fast approaching.

The Center on Health Services Training and Research (CoHSTAR) pilot study program is designed to provide funding for pilot research into areas related to health services research, and will be funding up to $25,000 in direct costs for each study approved.

According to CoHSTAR, pilot studies “may be designed to provide preliminary data that will support larger subsequent funding efforts, or develop new infrastructure … needed to pursue physical therapy health services research questions.” Application details, funding priorities, and other resources are available at the CoHSTAR pilot study webpage.

For more information on CoHSTAR looking for fund studies at APTA

Ready to Own Up to Your PT in Motion Cover Preference?

Get a new lease on your artistic life by taking ownership of the August PT in Motion magazine cover.

It’s time once again for members to help PT in Motion magazine decide the design to be used on the cover of an upcoming issue. For August, editorial staff is proposing 3 designs and asking members to vote on their favorite cover to illustrate the pros and cons of leasing versus buying physical therapy equipment.

Vote by June 25. Just pick the design you think is likely to get you to open up the magazine, and then check out the August issue to see which cover was most popular.

Fore more information on the PT in Motion Magazine, visit APTA

More Evidence Questions Benefits of Arthroscopic Knee Surgery

The case continues to mount around the lack of evidence to support arthroscopic surgery for degenerative knees—this time, by way of research that calls for a “reversal of a common medical practice,” even among patients with knee osteoarthritis. Authors of the article write that the procedure produces “small inconsequential” benefits in pain and that surgery produced no benefit in function.

In an article published in BMJ, researchers share the results of a systematic review and meta-analysis of 9 trials, involving 1,270 individuals, that looked at the benefits of knee arthroscopic surgery in middle-aged and older patients with knee pain and degenerative knee disease. Patient data were analyzed in several different ways, including in terms of those with no knee osteoarthritis (OA) found by radiography, those with knee OA confirmed through radiography, and a mixed OA and no-OA group.

Full story of benefits of arthroscopic knee surgery at APTA

FDA Approves Second Deep Brain Stimulation Device for PD, Essential Tremor

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a second deep brain stimulation (DBS) device that it says can reduce Parkinson disease (PD) symptoms and essential tremor, and could even allow essential tremor patients to control their symptoms without the use of medications.

Developed by the St Jude Medical Center, the Brio Neurostimulation System consists of a 2-inch square, half-inch thick rechargeable battery pack and electrical pulse generator implanted under the skin of the upper chest, with wire leads that attach to electrodes placed in specific locations in the patient’s brain (locations vary depending on whether the device is being used to treat PD or essential tremor). The pulse generator supplies continuous low-energy pulses to the brain.

Full story of deep brain stimulation device at APTA

Intensive Motor Learning Can Improve Function Poststroke, Even if it Begins a Year Later

Authors of a small study of motor learning (ML) treatment with patients poststroke claim that not only can the approach make a difference more than a year after the stroke event, but that ML alone works about as well as ML that uses robot-assisted training or functional electrical stimulation (FES). They say that the real key to success may have more to do with the intensity of therapy sessions—5 hours a day, 5 days a week, for 12 weeks—than with any particular combination of treatments.

The randomized controlled trial compared treatment approaches among 35 patients who had experienced a stroke more than 1 year earlier and still had an upper extremity impairment. Participants were included if they had at least a trace muscle contraction in the wrist extensors, and mobility and function sufficient for independent activities.

Full story of motor learning and poststroke at APTA

Physical Activity’s Effects at the Molecular Level Focus of New NIH Program

When it comes to the benefits of physical activity, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is thinking big by thinking small. Like, really, really small.

Last week, NIH unveiled a $170 million program to look at the molecular-level changes that take place as a result of physical activity. The program, titled Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity in Humans, will involve studies of multiple age groups, fitness levels, and other demographic variables, and incorporate blood and tissue sampling into exercise studies. Those samples will undergo analysis “using high-throughput technologies that allow rapid identification of many different biological molecules from large numbers of samples,” according to an NIH press release.

Full story of the new NIH program at APTA

Medicare Provides Tips on Reducing Errors Around Insufficient Documentation

According to Medicare administrative contractors (MACs), physical therapy procedures are among the “more common” procedures that get denied due to insufficient documentation. It’s a pattern they’re hoping to change through additional information aimed in part at physical therapists (PTs).

Earlier this month, a task force made up of all 8 MACs issued a fact sheet and a task force scenario”  that highlights, among other things, what PTs should be aware of when it comes to developing a plan of care. According to the fact sheet, the main problem encountered with physical therapy services is insufficient signatures and dates on plans of care. The fact sheet provides details and links to the specific requirements.

Full story of medicare documentation at APTA

From the Foundation: CoHSTAR Looking to Fund Studies; Fellowships and Scholarships Announced

The physical therapy profession’s first center of excellence for health services and health policy research is now accepting letters of intent for pilot study funding, but the July 15 deadline is fast approaching.

The Center on Health Services Training and Research (CoHSTAR) pilot study program is designed to provide funding for pilot research into areas related to health services research, and will be funding up to $25,000 in direct costs for each study approved.

According to CoHSTAR, pilot studies “may be designed to provide preliminary data that will support larger subsequent funding efforts, or develop new infrastructure … needed to pursue physical therapy health services research questions.” Application details, funding priorities, and other resources are available at the CoHSTAR pilot study webpage.

Full story of CoHSTAR foundation at  APTA

Researchers Say Long-Term Care Hospitals Structure Discharges to Get Maximum Payments

In what authors call a “distortion” of a Medicare prospective payment system (PPS) adopted 12 years ago, a new study says that long-term care hospitals (LTCHs) are basing discharge decisions less on patient status and more on capitalizing on a schedule that maximizes their reimbursements.

For their study, researchers looked at LTCH discharges for 55,840 patients 65 and older who were admitted for a respiratory symptom diagnosis that required prolonged ventilation—a sample that authors write “is persistently the most common and highest-reimbursed [diagnosis related group].” Authors reviewed records from 444 LTCHs of varying sizes across the country, looking to see if they could discern a pattern of discharges clustered around day 29, the end of the “short stay threshold,” after which reimbursements peak for this particular diagnosis group.

What they found didn’t really require much discernment.

Full story of long-term care and discharge payments at APTA