Category: Autism

Judo holds promise for reducing sedentary behavior among children with autism

Judo may be just the right sport to increase the physical activity level among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and holds promise for reducing sedentary behavior, which is linked to obesity and diabetes, according to a new study from the University of Central Florida.

The pilot study found increases in moderate to vigorous physical activity among participants during and beyond the study period and a reduction of sedentary time, although researchers say the amount was not statistically significant. However, the children in the study were eager to continue judo lessons beyond the scope of the study and the few who did not continue failed to do so because of scheduling or transportation problems, rather than lack of interest. More research is needed to see if the reduction in sedentary time will last.

Full article at

PTs Among Recipients of Global Health Award

Physical therapy makes the world a better place, and now 3 members of the profession are being recognized for doing exactly that.

Health Volunteers Overseas, a nonprofit organization that educates the local health care workforce in resource-scarce countries, announced that Kay Ahren, PT, Mary Christman, PT, and Antoinette “Toni” Sander, PT, DPT, MS, CLT, are among this year’s recipients of its “Golden Apple Award” for exceptional contributions to improving global health care. According to a news release from HVO, only a “handful” of providers earn the recognition each year.

Ahren, an HVO volunteer since 1999, has completed 17 different assignments in 6 countries. HVO describes her as “exceptionally skilled at building relationships” and a leader who “consistently models the behaviors of compassion and understanding.”

Full story of PTs recipients of the Global Health Award at APTA

CMS, Private Insurers Agree on Health Care Outcome Measures

Everyone agrees that the future of health care will be driven by outcomes. But which outcomes will be doing the driving? A major-player collaborative that includes the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the country’s leading private insurers’ organization has unveiled its first answers to that question.

In mid-February, the Core Quality Measures Collaborative released its first-ever consensus document to “identify core sets of quality measures that payers have committed to using for reporting as soon as feasible,” according to CMS, which joined with America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), purchasers, consumers, and physician and other care provider organizations to develop lists of standard outcome measures in 7 clinical areas. Besides CMS and AHIP, participants included the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians.

The inaugural 7 areas addressed by the measures are cardiology; gastroenterology; HIV and hepatitis C; medical oncology; obstetrics and gynecology; orthopedics; and accountable care organizations (ACOs), patient centered medical homes (PCMHs), and primary care. According to AHIP, these will be the first in a series of “broadly agreed upon core measure sets that are aligned and harmonized across public and private payers.”

Full story of CMS and Private Insurers on health care outcomes measures at APTA

CMS Looks at Cultural Components of Hospital Readmission Rates

It’s established fact that minorities and other vulnerable populations face a higher risk of hospital readmissions for conditions such as chronic heart failure or procedures such as total knee or hip arthroplasty. But that could change if hospitals and other health care providers started to comprehensively address the matrix of cultural, economic, and comorbidity issues faced by racially and ethnically diverse patients, according to a new publication from the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“While not all readmissions are entirely preventable, it is widely understood that a portion of unplanned readmissions could be avoided by addressing a series of barriers patients face prior to, during, and after admission and discharge,” write authors of a recently release CMS guideline. The publication, titled “Guide to Preventing Readmissions Among Racially and Ethnically Diverse Medicare Beneficiaries,” lays out key issues related to the higher readmission rates, and accompanies those issues with a set of ambitious strategies for reducing those rates.

Full story of CMS and hospital readmission rates at APTA

Painkiller Abuse to Heroin Addiction: Can Physical Therapy Help Stop It Before It Starts?

An alarming rise in opioid abuse is sparking an important related conversation about the effectiveness of physical therapy and other nondrug approaches to treat pain.

Recent coverage has been driven by a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that documents a resurgence in heroin use, with rates more than doubling for individuals aged 18-25, and females in particular. The CDC report coincided with an announcement from the White House of a new $13.4 million program to battle heroin trafficking.

The CDC report links the rise in heroin use to increased rates of addiction to opioid painkillers, an addiction that often begins with legitimate prescriptions to treat pain. That link, in turn, has prompted discussion about the importance of nondrug approaches to pain treatment.

Full story of pain killer abuse to heroin addiction at

Researchers Say Cardiac Rehab Not Reaching Enough People

Even though cardiac rehabilitation (CR) is strongly supported as an intervention for patients who have suffered a heart attack, too few people are getting referrals for CR programs, and an even smaller number is actually following through once they get a referral, according to a research letter recently published in JAMA.

Authors looked at CR enrollment and participation rates by comparing Medicare records of 58,269 acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients with a national registry of coronary treatment intervention outcomes (National Cardiovascular Data Registry Acute Coronary Treatment Intervention Outcomes Registry). They found that between 2007 and 2010, only 64.2% of AMI patients were referred to CR at the time of hospital discharge, and only 12,000 of those patients attended at least 1 CR session during the following year.

Broken down in another way, the rates of CR referral and engagement are even more disappointing: according to the researchers, among all patients included in the study, only 23.1% attended at least 1 CR session. Just 5.4% completed 36 sessions or more—the number of sessions typically covered by health insurance.

Full story of not enough people getting cardiac rehab at APTA

Final 2015 Physician Fee Schedule Rule Announces 1% Payment Rise for PT, Increase in PQRS Reporting, Delay of VM for PTs

The final 2015 Medicare physician fee schedule rule released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) includes an aggregate increase in payment for physical therapy services of 1%–provided Congress stops implementation of a payment cut due to the flawed SGR formula by March 31. In addition, despite objections from APTA and other organizations, the new rule increases the number of Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) measures required for reporting of physical therapists (PTs) in private practice and other health care professionals to as many as 9.

The PQRS change will increase the number of individual measures PTs are required to report in order to avoid the 2016 2.0% PQRS penalty, from 3 to between 6 and 9, depending on whether the PT is using claims (9 required, or as many as apply to the provider), or registry (6 required, or as many as apply to the provider). As in 2014, the reports must be made on at least 50% of eligible Medicare patients. APTA opposed these changes.

Full story of raises in the 2015 Medicare physician fee schedule rule at APTA

PT Researcher Lets Seniors Take a Trip

A new method being tested in Chicago aims to “vaccinate” individuals who are elderly against falls—by tripping them.

Actually it’s not as weird as it sounds. The Associated Press reports that University of Illinois-Chicago researcher and physical therapy professor Clive Pai, PT, PhD is using a specially-built moving walkway that can suddenly shift under a user’s feet, tripping them up and—Pai hopes—triggering subconscious learning that will help prevent future falls. Users are outfitted with a special harness that prevents them from actually falling during the training.

The AP story quotes Pai as saying that the approach could work as a kind of “vaccine against falls.”

Full story of tripping the elderly at APTA

New Guide to PT Practice Debuts as Online-Only Resource

The physical therapy profession’s preeminent guide to practice has taken on a new format, added new information and resources, updated others, and is now ready for use. The new online-only APTA Guide to Physical Therapist Practice offers more dynamic content while continuing to deliver the most comprehensive description of an evolving profession—and it’s free to the public for a very limited time.

“It was a long process, but we did want to get it right,” said Lisa Saladin, PT, PhD, who contributed to the revision of the Guide as former chair and current member of the Board Oversight Guide Work Group. In an APTA video dispatch, Saladin describes how the revisions moved from staff to volunteer subject matter experts to the work group. The end result: a “really dynamic” experience that will deliver current information, and allow users to dive more deeply into evidence-based practice resources and in-depth visual supports through direct online access to PTNow and other offerings. Users will “feel the similarities, but they’re going to see the differences,” Saladin said.

For more information on the new guide, visit APTA

APTA: Disability Rights Convention Should Be Approved

APTA has added its voice to the long list of supporters of an international treaty on the rights of persons with disabilities, stating that it fits squarely within the association’s vision of transforming society. The letter of support from APTA coincided with rallies held on Capitol Hill to press Senate passage of the United Nations (UN) Convention of the Rights of Person’s with Disabilities (CRPD) that would establish protections against discrimination and support equal access to education, among other basic human rights.

The UN drafted the CRPD in large part as a response to nations that, unlike the US, do not clearly articulate the rights of persons with disabilities. “Because of discriminatory practices, persons with disabilities tend to live in the shadows and margins of society, and as a result their rights are overlooked,” write the convention’s authors. “A universal, legally binding standard is needed to ensure that the rights of persons with disabilities are guaranteed everywhere.”

Full story of disability rights convention at APTA