When it comes to the number of US high school students participating in physical education in school, the good news is that rates haven’t declined much since 1995. The bad news is, rates haven’t gone up, either—and remain well below national recommendations.
Recently, the National Physical Activity Plan Alliance (NPAPA) released an analysis of 22 years’ worth of data on US high-schooler participation in physical education classes. They found that after a notable drop between 1991 and 1995, rates have remained fairly consistent, with only 29.4% of students meeting national recommendations for daily classes. Former APTA Board of Directors member Dianne V. Jewell, PT, DPT, PhD, represents APTA on the NPAPA. APTA is an organizational partner of the NPAPA.
Timing, as they say, is everything. That’s certainly the case for a recently released joint guidance document on compliance created by APTA and 3 other organizations, which arrives during a period of increased federal scrutiny of fraud associated with companies providing physical therapist services. That scrutiny resulted in settlements totaling more than $35 million.
A new resource created by APTA, the American Occupational Therapy Association, the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, and the National Association for the Support of Long-Term Care helps health care providers understand compliance: what it is, the role of corporate compliance programs, and recommended steps for reporting. The 2-page guide also includes links to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) compliance materials, and OIG national compliance hotline information.
The popularity of youth soccer has grown tremendously since 1990—and with it, the rate of emergency department (ED) visits related to the sport, say researchers, who cite a 111% jump in injury rates for players aged 7-17 over a 25-year period. Those rates also include a nearly 1,600% increase in soccer-related ED visits for concussions, a dramatic change that may be linked to wider awareness of the seriousness of mild traumatic brain injury, according to the study’s authors.
For the study, researchers analyzed ED data reported to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System 1990-2014, focusing on data linking an ED visit to a pediatric soccer-related injury and tracking demographics of the injured player as well as type and cause of injury received. These data were matched up with soccer participation rates obtained from the National Sporting Goods Association to estimate injury rates over time. The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.
Topics may have ranged from the opioid abuse epidemic, to APTA’s physical therapy outcomes registry, to the role of physical therapy in population health, but throughout APTA’s recently held Insurers Forum and State Policy and Payment Forum, it wasn’t hard to identify the strong common thread woven through nearly every session:
Things are getting real.
Over and over, speakers reminded attendees that what used to be conjecture about the move toward value-based care—and particularly its ramifications for payment—is now happening, and that physical therapists (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs), payers, managers, and state policy advocates need to pay attention.
With half of all workplace assaults involving health care workers already, and the number of violent crime episodes in hospitals on the rise, it’s time for health care facilities to address workplace violence “aggressively and comprehensively,” say authors of an editorial recently published in JAMA.
The “Viewpoint,” written by 2 employees of the Joint Commission and a representative from a Veterans Health Administration workplace violence prevention program, cites data from the Joint Commission, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to outline what they assert is a growing problem.
Rehabilitation research, one of APTA’s longstanding areas of advocacy, has just received a major boost with the publication of a revised National Institutes of Health (NIH) Rehabilitation Research Plan, a 5-year roadmap intended to address a broad swath of research science. Nearly 2 years in development, the revision is the first change to the plan made in over 2 decades, and was guided by a blue ribbon panel that included prominent APTA members and physical therapy researchers.
The plan, which will guide NIH support for rehabilitation medicine, addresses 6 priority areas: the need for rehabilitation research, NIH’s investment in rehabilitation research, current rehab research activities at NIH, coordination with other federal agencies, and opportunities, needs, and priorities. According to NIH, each area has witnessed significant change since the 1993 edition of the plan, attributable to everything from an increase in rehabilitation researchers and growth in evidence to advances in brain-computer interfaces and other technologies that have altered the rehabilitation landscape.
The final inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS) rule from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) doesn’t differ much from what was proposed in April: elimination of the payment cuts associated with the “2 midnight” rule in 2017, a 0.6% payment increase for hospitals, and more expansion of quality reporting and value-based purchasing requirements. The rule was published in August, and APTA has posted a members-only summary of the new rule on its Medicare Payment and Policies for Hospital Settings webpage.
The rule finalizes CMS’ decision to not implement a 0.2% reduction for inpatient services—a cut designed to offset what it had anticipated would be increased spending associated with the 2-midnight rule. The 2-midnight rule was intended to reduce costly admissions in cases better suited to outpatient treatment by stipulating that auditors can presume that an admission is reasonable and necessary if the patient spent at least 2 days as an inpatient, defined as 2 midnights in a hospital bed. The 0.6% payment increase is intended to offset the effects of the penalty in the years since the rule’s adoption in 2013.
A recent South Carolina State Supreme Court ruling has effectively ended the state’s ban on physician-owned physical therapist services (POPTS), but the 3-2 ruling didn’t declare the practice act provision unconstitutional. Instead, 1 of the 3 justices in the majority struck down the board’s interpretation solely due to procedural errors.
The state’s physical therapy licensing board and APTA’s South Carolina Chapter (SCAPTA) supported the prohibition against POPTS, as did APTA, but physician and orthopedic surgeon groups have been fighting it for a decade. In light of the court’s ruling, as a practical matter physical therapists (PTs) now will be able to work for a physician-owned practice.
The US House of Representatives has passed legislation that helps to protect physical therapists (PTs) and other health care providers who travel across state lines with sports teams.
The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act (HR 921/S 689) aims to provide added legal protections for sports medicine professionals when they’re traveling with professional, high school, college, or national sports teams by extending the provider’s “home state” malpractice and professional liability insurance to any other state the team may visit. On September 12, the House officially passed the bill in a noncontentious vote.
National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, coming up on September 22, helps to focus attention on the importance of reducing the risk of falls and fall-related injuries. How can physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) help patients develop ways to react if and when those falls occur? One study suggests the use of “safe landing strategies” including elbow flexion, squatting, and a “martial arts roll” may significantly reduce body impact, though more testing needs to be done.
In a study e-published ahead of print in the Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, authors reviewed results of 13 studies involving 219 participants who were instructed to react to a fall by employing 1 of 7 landing strategies: squatting during a backwards fall, slightly flexing the elbow during a forward fall, and reacting to a side fall by either rotating forward, stepping sideways, relaxing the muscles, rolling away from the impact point (martial arts roll), and “martial arts slapping,” which involves slapping the falling side arm on the ground after a martial arts roll. Researchers then measured fall velocity and impact force in various body areas such as the hips and compared these with forces recorded in falls that did not employ these strategies.