Tag: physical therapists

National Physical Therapy Month Campaign Shows How PTs, PTAs Can Help Americans #AgeWell

Most Americans expect to live a long life but worry that when it comes to movement, it ain’t gonna be pretty. That’s the myth that APTA and its members are taking on this October through the #AgeWell campaign launched in recognition of National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM).

The campaign is built around the idea that while some effects of aging are inevitable, many symptoms and conditions commonly associated with growing older can be delayed—and in some cases prevented—and that physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) can play a vital role transforming the aging process.

Many of the tips and other information developed by APTA for the #AgeWell campaign are based on responses to a national survey that included questions on Americans’ perception of the aging process and their own hopes and fears about aging. That survey found that while 68% of respondents believe they will be able to engage in “the same type” of physical activities at age 65 and older, about half expect to lose strength and flexibility with age. Similarly, while 42% hope to stay healthy as they age, fears loom large, including worries about not being able to live independently and being affected by debilitating disease and chronic conditions.

Full story of National PT Month and aging well at APTA

Medical Schools Teach Future Docs to Talk About Costs With Patients, Colleagues

Increasingly, medical schools are requiring that students add one more skill to their bedside manner: an ability to explain and discuss the costs of a patient’s care options.

A recent story from National Public Radio reports on an American Association of medical Colleges (AAMC) survey that showed 129 of 140 of US medical schools now require students to take a course on the cost of health care, with “a vast majority” of programs also integrating discussions of cost and value throughout coursework.

According to NPR, the change is a “departure from the past,” when doctors were expected to provide effective care, “leaving cost considerations aside.”

Full story of teaching future doctors to talk about costs with patients at APTA

Canadian Study Finds Differences in How Surgeons and Therapists Perceive Communications

If you ask Canadian orthopedic surgeons, Canadian orthopedic surgeons are pretty darn good at communicating with Canadian physiotherapists and athletic therapists about postoperative rehabilitation. Turns out that not all physiotherapists and athletic therapists would necessarily agree with that assessment.

Researchers in Canada conducted a survey of the 3 professions to assess the perceived quality of communications around “how complete participants felt referral information was provided or given for the rehabilitation of postoperative patients and whether this referral information needed further clarification.” Authors of the study especially wondered if perceptions were more-or-less equal across the professions, and if collaborative settings would improve these perceptions.

The answers: no, not really; and yes, kind of. Results of the survey were e-published ahead of print in The Physician and Sportsmedicine.

Full story of surgeons and therapists perceiving communications at APTA

What Do You Know About Foreign-Educated PTs? Take the PT in Motion News Quiz

Researchers have completed what they describe as “the first comprehensive description” of foreign-educated physical therapists (FEPTs), and produced a snapshot that covers everything from regions-of-origin to why FEPTs decide to make the move, and which states and practice settings they arrive at once they do.

The email survey was sent to 9,334 FEPTs but focused only on those who had been licensed in the past 5 years. The final results were based on responses from 1,978 FEPTs—a 22.4% response rate. The report on the survey was e-published ahead of print in Physical Therapy (PTJ), the journal of APTA. The complete article is available for free to APTA members.

Full story of foreign educated PTs at APTA

WSJ Article on Nursing Homes Alleges Productivity Pressures to Bill for Ultrahigh Therapy Hours

The volume vs value debate, long-familiar to physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs), is now getting wider exposure by way of a recent Wall Street Journal (WSJ), article on the “copious” use of ultrahigh therapy hours billed to Medicare by skilled nursing facilities (SNFs).

In a story published on August 16, WSJ describes results of an analysis it conducted on SNF billing patterns between 2001 and 2013, which found that the use of the ultrahigh category of rehabilitative therapy reimbursement—720 minutes or more a week per patient—has increased from 7% of patient days in 2002 to 54% of patient days in 2013.

While the story acknowledges the benefits of rehabilitative therapy, describing physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy as often “crucial to recovery,” it also cites interviews with “more than two dozen current and former therapists, rehabilitation directors, and others” who told WSJ reporters that “managers often pressure caregivers to reach the 720-minute threshold.”

Full story of nursing homes and billing for therapy hours 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

Physical Therapy Transforms: Over 1,000 Bring the Message to Capitol Hill

Sure, it was a little rainy. Sure, it was a bit cool for June in Washington, DC. But that didn’t stop more than 1,100 physical therapists (PTs), physical therapist assistants (PTAs), and students of physical therapy from across the United States from converging on Capitol Hill to remind lawmakers of the importance of the profession.

Galvanized by Congress’s recent decision not to include a permanent repeal of the Medicare therapy cap with legislation that eliminated the flawed sustainable growth rate formula, supporters of physical therapy showed up in record numbers on June 4 for PT Day on Capitol Hill (Hill Day), an event that began with an 8:00 am rally before participants fanned out across the halls of Congress for scheduled 440 visits to house and senate offices to discuss issues affecting the physical therapy profession and the patients and clients it serves.

In a video dispatch from the event (below), Monica Massaro, APTA congressional affairs manager, described the event as the second-largest PT advocacy event in APTA history.

Full story of PT’s on capital hill at APTA

Hospital-Based Physical Therapy Reduces Readmission Rates for Older Adults With Pneumonia

Hospital-based physical therapy for older adults isn’t just beneficial to recovery from events such as stroke and hip fracture: a new study supports the idea that it can also lead to better outcomes for patients with acute illnesses such as pneumonia—especially when it comes to decreasing the chances of hospital readmission.

For the study, published in the June issue of Aging and Disease, researchers tracked function and 30-day readmission rates for 1,058 adults 65 and older diagnosed with community-acquired pneumonia and admitted to an Ohio hospital between 2007 and 2009. Patients were administered the Katz Activities of Daily Living assessment at admission and after 48 hours in the hospital; patients whose score dropped from 6 (highest independence score possible) to 5 during that 48-hour period were targeted for the study.

Full story of hospital PT and adults with pneumonia at APTA

Inactivity Rates Continue to Climb Among Americans 65 and Older

The latest report on the health of Americans 65 and over contains some good news—except when it comes to physical activity, with 1 in 3 older Americans now failing to meet minimum requirements. That rate represents a 15% increase from 2013.

According to United Health’s latest edition of America’s Health Rankings Senior Report, gains were made in flu vaccination rates, the number of home health care workers available, use of hospice care, and the percentage of adults aged 65 and up with “excellent or very good” health status (5% in the 2015 report). Other good news included a 15% drop in hip fractures, a 9% drop in preventable hospitalizations, and decreases in hospital deaths and premature deaths.

Full story of inactivity rates climbing at APTA