At the State Level, a Very Good Year for PTs and PTAs

With the dust just about settled around most state legislatures, APTA, its state chapters, and supporters are beginning to assess how the practice and payment landscape has changed at the state level for physical therapists, (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs), and the patients they serve. The news is decidedly good.

“This has been an extremely busy year for physical therapy-related legislation in many states, and the hard work and collaborative efforts of chapters and APTA have paid off,” said Angela Shuman, director of state legislative affairs for APTA. “We have a lot to be proud of.”

Among the highest-profile wins is the steady expansion of states joining the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact (PTLC), the game-changing system that allows PTs and PTAs licensed in 1 state to obtain practice privileges in other participating states. MississippiMissouriNorth Dakota, and Tennessee have officially enacted the compact system. Other states have passed the necessary legislation and are preparing to flip the switch on the compact, with this year’s addition of IowaLouisianaNebraskaNew JerseyOklahomaSouth Carolina, and West Virginia bringing the total number of compact states to 21. A bill to adopt the compact is pending in Pennsylvania.

Full story at APTA

Survey: HIIT Tops the List of Fitness Trends for 2018

What’s the future of fitness? According to an international survey of exercise professionals, high intensity interval training (HIIT) will be the strongest trend in 2018, outpacing wearable technologies, which held the number 1 position in 2017. Group training, body weight training, and strength training are also on the list of top 10 trends expected to be strong this year, while interest in Exercise is Medicine and exercise and weight loss is expected to drop off.

The ratings are part of an annual review conducted by Health and Fitness Journal, published by the American College of Sports Medicine. Now in its 12th year, this year’s survey included responses from 4,133 exercise professionals from around the world. “Medical professionals”—the category that includes physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) as well as physicians, nurses, and occupational therapists—made up 4% of the responses.

Full story at APTA

Don’t Stop Believin’: Multistate Licensure Compact Set to Begin in 2018

The possibility that physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) could one day gain practice privileges in multiple states without having to obtain multiple state licenses is now a reality. This week, Washington signed on to the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact (PTLC), bringing the number of participating states to 10, the magic number of states needed to officially establish the system. Next up, actual implementation and an ongoing press for more states to join.

On April 25, Washington Gov Jan Inslee signed the bill that added Washington to Arizona, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, and Utah as states that have agreed to join a system that will allow PTs and PTAs to apply for privilege to practice in any of the participating states without having to be licensed in each state. It’s a milestone for the physical therapy profession that opens the door for increased mobility.

Full story of PTLC beginning in 2018 at APTA 

State Policy, Insurers Forums: The Future of Health Care – And Payment – Has Arrived. Are You Ready?

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.

Full story of value-based care at APTA

Study: ‘Safe Landing Strategies’ to Reduce Falls Injury Show Promise

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.

Full story of safe landing strategies and fall injuries at APTA

World Physical Therapy Day Focuses on ‘Adding Life to Years’

September 8 is World Physical Therapy Day, and there’s still time in this digitally connected world to plan to help your colleagues around the globe raise awareness of the benefits of physical therapy.

This year’s theme, “Add Life to Years,” emphasizes that physical therapists and physical therapist assistants can help older people to be independent, improve their quality of life, and reduce health care costs.

Full story of World Physical Therapy Day at APTA

PTs, PTAs, Students Bring the #PTTransforms Message to Capitol Hill During Federal Advocacy Forum

When it comes to issues such as repeal of the therapy cap, opportunities for student loan relief, and the ability of a physical therapist (PT) to bring in another qualified PT during absences, the halls of Congress may be just a little more physical therapy-informed than they were this time last week. But then, what do you expect when more than 250 PTs, physical therapist assistants (PTAs), and students from 46 states meet face-to-face with hundreds of legislators and staff?

The meetings were part of the APTA Federal Advocacy Forum, held April 3-5 in Washington DC, a yearly event designed to educate participants on hot legislative issues and creative outreach ideas, as well as provide an opportunity for in-person advocacy on Capitol Hill.

For their advocacy with legislative offices, participants came ready to discuss a wide range of topics related to physical therapy but placed particular emphasis on 3 bills:

Full story of #PTTransforms to Capitol Hill at APTA

Malpractice Claims Report Shows Increases for PTs, PTAs

The growth of the physical therapy profession over the past 5 years seems to be bringing another increase with it—the cost of malpractice claims filed against physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs).

According to a new report from Healthcare Providers’ Service Organization (HPSO), between 2011 and 2015, payments for malpractice claims rose to $42 million. The previous HPSO study, published in 2011, reported a total of $44 million in malpractice payments, but the older study period spanned 10 years, not 5.

In terms of the kinds of allegations made against PTs and PTAs, claims of improper management over the course of physical therapy treatment nearly doubled during the study period. Now at 22.5%, the management category represents the largest percentage of closed claims, compared with allegations related to manual therapy, failure to supervise or monitor, improper use of therapeutic exercise, and improper use of a biophysical agent.

Full story of malpractice claims increase in PTs and PTAs at APTA

Oregon First State to Sign On to PT, PTA Licensure Compact

Oregon has made physical therapy history by becoming the first state to join the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact (PTLC), a system that aims to make it possible for physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) to practice in multiple states through a single license and privilege.

The legislation, signed into law by Gov Kate Brown, adopts standard language allowing Oregon to participate in a system in which a PT or PTA with a valid, unencumbered license in one participating state may practice in any other participating state. Qualified PTs and PTAs would be able to choose any or all participating compact states to gain practice privileges, but would only need to maintain licensure in their “home” state.

The push for adoption of the PTLC among states is being led by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) and APTA, working with state APTA chapters, state regulatory boards, and supporters of increased licensure portability. That effort officially launched earlier this year.

Full story of the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact at APTA

‘Pathways’ Program Takes Center Stage as Premier Advanced Proficiency Program for PTAs

Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs) now have a single program to help them demonstrate advanced proficiency in several different areas of care.

APTA announced that the PTA Advanced Proficiency Pathways (APP) program has been elevated to the association’s sole postgraduation proficiency recognition program, and that the PTA Recognition of Advanced Proficiency program will be discontinued.

The APP program uses multiple approaches to help applicants gain and demonstrate proficiency in areas of interest that include acute care, cardiovascular and pulmonary, geriatrics, oncology, orthopedics, pediatrics, and wound management. Participants take online core courses common to all of the APPs as well as content-specific courses for the selected area of work, followed by experiences with a qualified mentor of the participant’s choosing. A dedicated program mentor at APTA makes sure that participants stay on the pathway and arrive at advanced proficiency as efficiently as possible.

Full story of Pathways program at APTA