The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) unveiled an unwelcome New Year's Day surprise for outpatient therapy providers, including private practitioners and facility-based settings, when it announced it will no longer allow two frequently used therapy billing codes to be used in combination with evaluation codes. It's a decision that flies in the face of standard PT practice and effective patient care—and CMS and the National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) contractor need to hear that perspective loud and clear, from as many stakeholders as possible as soon as possible.
At issue are current procedural terminology (CPT) codes 97530 (therapeutic activities) and 97150 (therapeutic procedures, group, 2 or more individuals) which, until January 1, were allowed to be billed on the same day as physical therapy or occupational therapy evaluation. Under new CMS NCCI edits, however, that's no longer allowed. And in a further complication, the latest NCCI edits also require use of the 59 modifier—the modifier that's used to indicate that a code represents a service that is separate and distinct from another service to which it is paired—whenever code 97140 (manual therapy) is billed with an evaluation.
[Editors' note: to view the full list of edits that went into effect January 1, visit the CMS PTP coding edits webpage, and scroll down to the "related links" area, where you can select your setting to find out what's changed.]
The problem, according to APTA Director of Regulatory Affairs Kara Gainer, is that the changes ignore accepted PT practice, which often includes the startup of care on the same day as evaluation, as well as continuation of care on the same day as revaluation.
"The whole NCCI process is supposed to put a check on payment for codes that represent overlapping services," Gainer said. "These edits not only miss that mark, they actually have the effect of restricting patient access to the most effective, efficient care, and risking a patient's ability to achieve the best possible outcomes."
APTA usually receives notice of intended NCCI edits well in advance. That didn't happen in this case, making it imperative that the association, its members, and other stakeholders take action quickly to convince NCCI to reverse its decision. APTA is in communication with Capitol Bridge, LLC, CMS' NCCI contractor, as well as with the American Medical Association, to press for a resolution to the problem.
What you can do: APTA has developed a comment letter template that you can fill in with your personal information and email to Capitol Bridge, LLC, at NCCIPTPMUE@cms.hhs.gov. Make your voice heard.
The Fall meeting for APTA of Montana (MAPTA), saw changes to our delegation with appointment of myself to the the Chief Delegate position, relieving Mary Beth Wilson. So, here I am heading the HOD's portion of the newsletter. Firstly, I would like to thank Mary Beth for her service to MAPTA and her support of the delegates. We will miss you. I am excited to welcome back Joseph Parker who was elected to the Four Year Delegate Position. I think Joe will be a key figure in our association moving forward. Welcome to Holly Ferguson, our new One Year Delegate. Holly has 25 year of PT experience. She is eager to serve, looking for ways to stay involved in the Association beyond her one year position. Finally, Lori Graybill remains our representative for the PTA caucus. Her contributions at the state level with the PTA vote have been invaluable. For all of us, I anticipate a great year ahead.
Fall and winter are the quieter seasons for the House of Delegates. There is one motion, however, coming down the house pipeline which I believe is of interest to us all and the profession. To be part of the House of Delegates is an honor. There is an energy to the house which infuses us all. It is a patriotic experience which fills one with pride to be part of the Physical Therapy Profession. The most inspiring aspect to me, is president Sharon Dunn's keynote speech. She asks us to be more, do more and aspire to lead our profession to greater heights. This year, President Dunn challenged us to address the financial burden of Student education and debt. See link below:
In July, the Arizona delegation started a conversation with robust dialogue ensuing. As one would guess this is a complex, multifaceted issue which is not unique to our profession. However, let’s go back to get a little perspective. At the 2106 HOD, RC-11-16 passed. The motion was written as follows:
“That the APTA evaluate existing and emerging data available from internal and external sources, such as ACAPT and CAPTE, to identify potential effects of student loan debt upon the physical therapy profession, and to develop a plan with feasible options to address the identified issues, with implementation initiated no later than June 2018.”
As a result of this motion, the APTA developed the Financial Solutions Center. In 2016, the Education Leadership Partnership (ELP) was formed in response to the Excellence in Education Task Force. It is a collaboration of APTA, the Academy of Physical Therapy Education (APTE), and the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy (ACAPT). ELP created a task force to further investigate, “the issues influencing student debt,” A final report is due at the 2020 CSM.
Addressing student debt is aligned with the APTA's strategic plan for Stewardship, which aims to, “foster Long-Term Sustainability of the Physical Therapy Profession- champion students and early-career issues including debt burden and career-earning potential.”
Arizona is now proposing a motion which reads as follows: “Charge- Financial Transparency of Education Programs for Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants.”
Full disclosure would entail annual publication of data to assist students and all stakeholders to make informed decisions. Arizona proposes collecting the following information:
Cohort size of the first-year class at the time the report is submitted to CAPTE
Total cost of tuition for the entire program (not by unit, semester, or term because these vary by institution)
Total additional fees charged for the entire program
Average annual living expenses for the geographical area of the program
Total program operational costs including total faculty and staff payroll costs (including full-time, part-time, adjunct, etc.)
The amount of subsidy required by the university, state or other sources to meet total program operational costs, or the amount of surplus above total program operational costs that accrued to the university in the previous fiscal year
A link to each program’s curriculum, listed by each academic session each year
Ultimate National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE) pass rates for each program (not the first time, but ultimate pass rates)
Graduate employment rate at 6 months after graduation
This is a comprehensive list. There is a definite need for more information to understand the problem of student debt. But here are some other areas to consider:
Student financial literacy. There are resources available through APTA and educational institutions however what is the literacy level of applicants/students?
Student perception of debt. Is it now the cultural norm to expect that at graduation one will be saddled with a large debt?
Public Education funding through legislature vs Private with endowments. Is it enough? Does society value Higher education?
Costs of overseas clinical education.
Has the transition to a doctoral program been a contributing factor to debt?
Program length. Is a different model a solution? Decreasing undergraduate requirements.
For further discussion look also to the HUB where more facets of this problem are found in detail.
So, in conclusion, I invite you to join me and my fellow delegates on this conversational journey with the goal of making a difference and taking a different path than we've taken. President Dunn's path of change! As she says,
“It's the path we take when we embrace the idea that every day deserves our heartfelt best effort-not just to live that day to the fullest but to shape the future more than it shapes us. Because we want to pay it forward. Because we demand that we leave something better than we had for ourselves.”
I look forward to hearing back from you.
One of my friends called me recently to ask about her rehabilitation that she is doing for her injured shoulder. She called to tell me that she noticed that she has more pain free range in her shoulder when she engages her pelvic floor first when doing her shoulder exercises. She asked me if she is cheating by doing this. I said, “Heck no!” As a pelvic floor therapist, I was then able to easily explain to her why the pelvic floor should be engaged (ideally automatically) with any shoulder movements.
My friend is not a PT, she is a dancer. So, she has not read any of the research published by Paul Hodges which shows that the inner core muscles, including the pelvic floor muscles, engage in anticipation of movement, including movement of the arms or movement of the legs or prior to impact such as during gait. She did not read the 2007 study by Hodges, Sapsford & Pengal, which showed that the pelvic floor muscles were active prior to arm movements performed by the participants in the study.
While it makes sense that my friend, being a dancer, has a good understanding of how inner core control ideally precedes movement, I couldn’t help being impressed with how much she understood about her motor recruitment patterns when doing her shoulder rehabilitation. Her experience as a dancer taught her what we PTs know after years of school and ongoing learning of evidence about core control. Thanks to the extensive research of Paul Hodges and other great researchers for over 20 years, PTs now understand and can teach their patients about the inner core, and how to improve movement patterns with less pain.
As evidence evolves, so do we as PTs. With this evidence, we now know that we need the inner core muscles, including the diaphragm, transverse abdominis, deep multifidi and the pelvic floor muscles to “anticipate” movement. Ideally, our inner core activates prior to movement in order to provide a stable base or anchor, from which the outer core muscles and limbs can move off of.
As my career led to my becoming a pelvic health therapist, I have had the opportunity to become very well acquainted with the evidence that supports enhancing inner core control for improved function. Since I now do both internal and external palpation of the muscles “down there,” the pelvic floor muscles, I am seeing how much I can help a patient improve their function with better pelvic floor control. Yes, I am often working more with complaints of bowel and bladder dysfunction and pelvic pain, but a lot of these patients have other complaints and impaired function (back pain, hip pain and balance issues to name a few) and these do often improve when my patients gain more functional mobility and strength of the pelvic floor.
It is very encouraging to see that there are so many PTs, not just the ones with a pelvic health specialty, who want to keep learning more about the pelvic floor muscles. Obviously I have a bias towards wanting everyone to see how much the muscles of the pelvic floor have such a BIG impact on our activities of daily living. I want to give these little muscles all of the attention that, I feel, they clearly deserve.
I want to continue to provide more education to all PTs, not just pelvic health PTs, about the impact that we can have on any dysfunction when we at least consider the pelvic floor muscles in treatment. This is why I was so excited to have Michelle Nesin, PT, OCS, FCFMT, FAAOMPT agree to teach a Pelvic Health course in Montana. The goal of Michelle and her co-founders of the Pelvic Education Alliance, has been what I was imagining for a Pelvic Health course: the goal of bridging the physical therapy orthopedic and pelvic health worlds.
I have taken a course from Michelle many years ago, a course that was not geared to the pelvic health therapist at all. I took her Functional Gait course with the IPA, with a PNF course being a pre-requisite. Michelle’s experience as an orthopedic therapist and teacher of all things orthopedic is extensive. She earned an Orthopedic Manual Therapy Fellowship, studying with Gregg Johnson of all people! With her experience with teaching orthopedic and gait concepts, in addition to her experience teaching pelvic health courses and her experience as a Pelvic Health therapist, Michelle’s course is expected to provide new skills and treatment ideas, for Montana PTs treating a variety of populations.
Lucky for Montanans, Michelle is interested in developing her course, “Treating Pelvic Girdle and LE Dysfunction using Pelvic Health and Orthopedic Concepts,” such that it appeals to therapists, serving a variety of populations. In her course, therapists will learn how to evaluate the pelvic floor muscles, and enhance pelvic floor function, with external techniques only. At the end of this course, Michelle will be able to give a demonstration of how a pelvic health trained PT does an internal pelvic assessment to any interested participants. However, internal pelvic floor assessment will not be part of this course’s objectives. Instead, the objective of the course is to provide tools for all Montana PTs, not just pelvic health therapists, to help them treat patients, by maximizing the function of their inner core muscles, including the pelvic floor muscles.
By Kimberlee Raynovich, PT, PCS
Programming Director, APTA Montana
To register or to find out more information about Michelle Nesin’s course, Treating Pelvic Girdle and LE Dysfunction using Pelvic Health and Orthopedic Concepts, a 2 day course hosted by APTA Montana in Bozeman February 1-2, 2020 go to: http://www.mapta.com/mapta_events
PLEASE GO TO THE ABOVE WEBSITE FOR ALL UPCOMING APTA MONTANA EVENTS
Fellow Physical Therapists, we are looking for some help in June, 2020. A fun volunteer activity putting your therapy skills to work!
Missoula will be hosting the Montana Senior Games June 11-13, 2020 and we are looking for help to be able to offer the SAFE - Senior Athlete Fitness Exam.
We are anticipating that we will have 2 hour shifts at two locations on Thursday the 11th and Friday the 12th of June. The screen takes about 20 minutes and the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy has quality pre-made handouts that we can provide for education.
We would like to have a planning meeting to share the SAFE and to start prepping so we are well prepared come June 2020.
Missoula Parks and Rec will be sending out their brochures soon and we would like to insert our SAFE into their schedule of events.
Lisa Hamiliton and Mary Thane
To volunteer at this event please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Montana PTA Caucus Representative Montana’s Physical Therapist Assistants celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the profession Friday, September 27th. PTAs, student PTAs, and PTs enjoyed an evening of good food and enriched conversation. Past president, Jay Shaver, and current president, Christian Appel, gave heartfelt speeches on the importance of the PTA on the PT/PTA team, as well as the importance of PTA membership in the APTA.
History was made in Montana when PTAs were granted the full vote at the chapter business meeting the following afternoon. Joining Montana in this historic vote for inclusion is the Colorado Chapter of the APTA. At press time, the outcome of the Wyoming vote is unknown. Idaho has moved their vote to the spring 2020 meeting according to Chandra Price, PTA, Idaho PTA Caucus Representative. Laurie Roberts, PTA and Lori Graybill, PTA were named Co-PTAs of the Year by the Montana Chapter of the APTA.
Current issues being discussed by the PTA Caucus delegates are ideas for an updated welcome process/welcome kit for new reps and mentors, ongoing discussions of upcoming motions that affect PTAs, as well as the PT profession as a whole, as well as Core Values and PTA Pledge. Further discussion has been had on the effects of social media, especially with the recent CMS ruling and the negativity expressed after. PTA Caucus Representatives are encouraged to respond with positive and accurate information, as well as not being too quick with a response.
A PTA Caucus Town hall meeting is expected at CSM 2020 in Denver.
If you’re like me, the years spent in PT school went by much slower than the practicing years have been. The working years seem to fly by. My impressions of what physical therapy has to offer a community has certainly changed over the years. I thought it would be a valuable exercise to spend some time reflecting back upon my physical therapy journey. I’ve been spending time trying to recall what drew me to the field in the first place and if those same things still draw me today. Has my understanding and view of health changed over the years? How and why have my practice patterns changed over time? Theresa Kelly-Mitchell is a third year PT student getting ready to graduate from the UM. Theresa has spent a great deal of time helping MAPTA and has been a leader and advocate for the profession long before actually becoming a PT herself. I have much respect for Theresa and wanted to have a refresher on what it was like to be in PT school and just be starting out in the profession. Theresa was kind enough to share her thoughts with me and respond to a few questions I had. It was a valuable exercise for me and hope it will be for you also.
1.) What initially attracted you the physical therapy profession? Had you considered other medical professions? If so which ones and why did you choose PT in the end? I have a background in yoga, martial arts, and theater, and what the human body is capable of has always amazed me. My whole life, anytime someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say scientist. I went the arts route, but never lost my love of science. I think PT blends these worlds so beautifully. I wanted to be able to prescribe movement to people because the body is meant to move, not stay still. I wanted to tie my backgrounds together and expand my ability to help others. Getting a DPT gives a legitimacy to my passion for creative movement in the medical field. I think I have always wanted to go into some type of therapy field of study, and honestly, yoga was what pushed me into the physical therapy world. I have a similar story to many others who chose PT- I got injured in high school and PT helped me. However, the PT I worked with recommended yoga to me to increase my ROM and maintain the gains I had made. Fast forward 10 years and I was teaching yoga as my main job and I found myself advising and modifying movement and poses for people who had injuries. The only thing I couldn't do was offer MORE movement, because I didn't have the education (and insurance) to prescribe exercises. I didn't want to tell people not to move, that seemed counter to what I stood for, so I began to look into going back to school- and here I am!
2.) Reflecting back upon physical therapists you have been taught by or mentored from; does any particular therapist stick out to you as having been particularly influential and if so, why?
I have worked with a few PT's that were right out of school, and while there were really new to the scene, their dedication to their patients and an evidence-based practice astounded me. Also, I think back to them often, because they always seemed confident, even if it was uncharted territory. I think about them when I am nervous in the clinic and am not sure of my next step. They give me courage because I watched them take time to think through the problem, always focus on the patient, and adapt to each changing circumstance. Also, I think- if they made it through school and found a job, so can I! New grads are very inspiring (I hope I can offer that to a student when I get out of school).
3.) What has been the most challenging aspect of your physical therapy training thus far? The most challenging is that in order to become a general practitioner, you have to learn the general information in every PT specialty, and that makes it hard to stay fresh and comfortable in different skills. For example, we spend the first year and a half learning orthopedic tests and techniques, but I spent my second clinical in an acute care setting where I didn't get to use those skills very often. So, I have to constantly go back to the things I learned over a year ago and try to find time to practice and refresh my memory. It's hard when you are not confident in your skills yet to even know if you are reviewing and practicing correctly.
4.) What is one thing you wish you knew before starting PT school? The didactic learning is to lay foundations and sometimes it doesn't feel applicable to real life. It's scary and frustrating to feel like you have to know everything all at once. But, luckily, the more practice in clinic settings and the more you use your resources, the more things will come naturally to you. It's a process, like everything else- and it's ok to look things up if you don't know it off the top of your head!
5.) If you could change one thing about the physical therapy profession right now, what would it be and why? I would love to have more interdisciplinary collaboration integrated into our DPT training and school work. I think if we built relationships with students of other professions, we can set ourselves up for better collaboration within care teams across our profession. I know there are a lot of amazing PTs out there who really work for outreach and community partnerships, but I would like to see us more involved in the public health realm. Looking for ways to partner with public health initiatives more frequently could push the PT's who want to focus more on prevention and wellness into a more integral role in our community. (For ex: Eat Right Missoula does BMI screens at elementary schools- could PT help change that to more functional testing of health? Could PT's hep with increasing support for breastfeeding initiatives by providing education and therapy to new mothers?) This would help us expand our community's knowledge of what physical therapy is and how we are advocating for the entire realm of health. I think the collaborative approach will also help with accessibility to our services. I wish more people could take advantage of what we have to offer.
6.) Reflecting back on what your expectations were prior to physical therapy school. What has changed since starting PT school? I think being a non-traditional student, I mostly had expectations that I just had to work hard, study, and practice and it would come to me with time. I also had a sense that if I didn't study every night I was going to get left behind. I also thought that I had enough foundational knowledge to feel like I was at the same level as the Ex Phys majors...I was wrong! However, I quickly found my routine and I found out that as long as I know my study habits and work within my limitations, it's just like any other thing you want to be good at. And, there were some classes that I had to do extra work on my own to learn more about the language and background of the class just to stay on top of things. Those were hard, but other things came easier for me. So it's all about balance.
I can't really explain my specific expectations, I just had a sense that this was the right thing for me to do in my life and I just needed to do what had to be done. I think that still lines up today.
7.) What are you most excited about becoming a physical therapist? Firstly, I am excited to actually have a career set out in something that I love. I’ve worked for a long time to find the right path for myself and it's finally here. The more I learn about PT, the more I know I can help others in ways I never knew were possible 3 years ago. I am really, really excited to see how I can tie my DPT degree in with my MPH degree. I can't wait to move into chronic disease management and prevention and wellness. I want to expand our profession into more collaborative settings and promote PT as a sustainable option for people to live healthier lives. I am excited to use my creativity and clinical reasoning every day, and get paid for it! (What?!? Imagine that!)
In the news recently:
BUTTE, Mont. — A five-year report from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services and the Montana Board of Pharmacy shows a decline in opioid prescription rates. However, physicians in Butte say physical therapy should still be considered an option when treating chronic pain.
“We talk about that a lot as far as what is the research showing that’s effective for breaking those chronic pain cycles as opposed to the acute pain that opioids were designed to treat,” said Holly Ferguson, director of therapy services at St. James Healthcare in Butte.
She says the first step is breaking the perception of pain.
“We’ve sort have been trained that ‘I want a pill to fix this,’” Ferguson said.
She says a pill can only do so much, since opioids are effective for two to four weeks.
Ferguson says physical therapy can play a role in treating long-term chronic pain.
“There’s also desensitization therapy that we do, where we touch the limb that’s hypersensitive to touch or motion with different things -- sometimes sharp, sometimes dull -- in different places, and then we ask you, the patient, to tell me what you feel,” Ferguson said.
Ferguson’s says the exercises are designed to build up your body’s tolerance to pain.
No matter which option you’re considering -- opioids or physical therapy -- officials say it’s important to talk to your doctor first. That’s because there are a lot of different options for dealing with chronic pain.
“If you have had chronic pain -- and chronic pain is something defined as you’ve had it for three months, and it’s not gotten better, and you’ve been to doctors, and you’ve had tests, and they’re not finding something to fix -- then I think you need to start thinking about what are my other options besides this pill, because we know that pills don’t fix it long-term,” Ferguson said.
Hello APTA Montana. I will take over as president at the fall membership meeting in Missoula. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself. Before I do so, I must recognize the contribution of others.
Thank you, Jay Shaver, for serving as the president of APTA Montana for the past 8 years. Your leadership and commitment to the profession is unmatched. Thank you! On a personal note; thank you for your mentorship during the past year. I only hope that I can perform the duties of this position as well as you.
I would like to thank the membership for APTA Montana for electing such a fantastic board with whom I get to serve. The current board comprises individuals representing the many different fields of our profession and from many different geographical areas in the Last Best State. I expect each board member will bring varied view points and perspectives to our discussions. I encourage good professional dialog and debate amongst our board and membership. APTA Montana will be stronger and more successful when we have good professional dialog and debate.
My first challenge is setting the agenda for our membership meetings. We meet 3x/ year for 2 hours. During which time we eat, hear reports, old business, new business, motions and professional discussions. Two hours passes quickly! The board members and I want to encourage and engage in discussions with and amongst our members. We must follow Roberts Rules of Order; which will allow meetings to proceed in an organized manner and allow organized professional discussion. Moving forward we will be looking at ways to leverage technology to continue good discussion following our meetings.
At our November board retreat we will be reviewing our strategic plan, committees and governance and outlining how we will successfully meet the needs of APTA Montana during the following year. We look forward to working for you and with you. Yes, WITH you! We will be looking to bring members on to committees and to help serve in other roles as well. In this way, when we transition off the board, there will be other members who are ready and excited to step into our positions.
A little about me; I am an old has been that never was. My wife and I are both graduates of the University of Montana PT program class of 1991. I have previously served on the MT board as vice president, served 2 terms on the MT board of physical therapy examiners, have served on other boards unrelated to our profession and have been appointed to collaborative groups to help resolve issues at local, state and national levels. I currently am co-owner of an outpatient orthopedic, sports and women’s / pelvic health clinic in Bozeman, MT. I will do my best to keep the APTA Montana ship sailing on course under the power and momentum created by our members.
Thank you APTA Montana!
We walked into his house-or rather, we walked under his roof as there were no walls surrounding the structure. Inside, a harsh man who had suffered from a stroke, the painful process of losing his wife, addiction, and a lifetime of poverty, sat in his wheelchair in the heat of day. There was hardly room to maneuver for him as every cubic meter of space was filled with items appearing untouched for years. Finding ourselves so far outside of our element in this foreign environment, we used the tools at our disposal: our clinical instructor and translator, Dr. Pakaratee, some fine-tuned (certainly not awkward) body language, and our wits to provide this man physical therapy. As we carried on, the shock wore off, and the treatment session remarkably gained a sense of normalcy. We practiced gait, like in the States, to ambulate to the toilet next to the chicken coop inside the attached house. We educated him in his home exercise program, as we would, sticking a detailed stick figure illustration drawn on wrapping paper onto his wall. When we left, he bowed and said something later translated to us as “Thank you, my children.”
This summer, I traveled to Thailand with three fellow students and a professor to spend three weeks exploring physical therapy there. The most persistent question asked from my colleagues upon return was, “How was PT different?” All I could answer was how similar it was. Of course, I could create a lengthy list describing the discrepancies between their practice and ours, but the base of it is so recognizable and obvious it makes me question why I expected much else.
We experienced treatments with a myriad of clients with a wide variety of issues within a large spectrum of settings ranging from individual houses to Siriraj Hospital which, with its multiple skyscrapers, took on the appearance of a city. Everywhere we went throughout our stay, we saw the type of patient care defining our profession. We witnessed so many therapists who possessed immense passion and knowledge of the field. Therapists whose work embodied the spirit of the phrase “Exercise is Medicine.” They applied that passion and knowledge with a care and kindness we are known for in America.
It was so clearly apparent not only to us, but also to the patients and their practitioners. With the kind of people drawn to our profession, why would it matter, the country we are in?
There will be a new face running the membership meeting this fall. Christian Appel, will start his term that day as the incoming president. He is a good friend and and someone I respect as a leader, clinician, and professional. MAPTA is in good hands.
There are many aspects of the organization that will make the transition easy. We are an active organization with a steady increase in membership each year. Montana has traditionally had one of the highest rates of membership in APTA, and we strive to get more PT’s involved.
We continue to be financially stable, due in part to the growth of our membership, but also due to our continuing excellent continuing education classes. Over the last eight years, programming chairs Adena Carter, Carissa Benjamin and Kimberly Raynovich have brought in local and national leaders in our profession.
He will have ample opportunity to communicate with members and others important to our organization. The newsletter will continue, although paper free as MAPTA works to decrease waste. Spearheaded by Beth Nordstrom, MAPTA has begun telecommunication with the eastern side of our state, improving our ability to get input to those who live too far away to attend all of the business meetings. Christian will continue the tradition of 7 AM meetings when important topics arise that don’t fit into the business meeting time frame. Business meetings will continue to follow state statutes that call for a 10 day notice of agenda items to ensure that everyone has a chance to understand the agenda prior to the meetings. He will have input from the licensing board through our liaison Brianna Irion and will benefit from open communication lines with other areas of interest including BCBS, MMA, MTSBA and the Montana Chiropractic Association.
Legislation issues will be an easy transition. Christian has headed the legislation committee in the past, and Ashley McDonald is currently doing an excellent job. Our lobbyists, Strategies 360, have been outstanding. Together, with helpful input to legislators from our grassroots organization, we have seen numerous bills related to PT pass over the last eight years, while none of the bills we have sponsored have been defeated.
Public relations? We are in great hands with Mike Tran working with his task force to educate health care professional and the public about PT’s role in chronic pain and how PT’s can be players in helping control the opiod epidemic.
Christian will have the support of our house of delegates. Montana was represented by Marybeth Wilson our chief delegate Adena Carter and Joseph carter in Chicago represented and Adena be working through the year to make sure that rural areas are represented fairly in all of APTA’s issues, particularly those related to self-referral. Although Lori Graybil was unable to attend, she continues to be a leader for PTA’s thought the state.
Many challenges will face Christian during his term. We are part of a changing health care system, and as with any any change there will be pitfalls but also opportunity. PT’s will always have to fight to have a better seat at the table in the medical arena. I will always believe that no one can get better results at a lower cost with excellent patient satisfaction, but we need to make our voices heard. That means being active in legislative issues, both state and federal.
We need to have the hard data that supports our place in medicine. That means the use of registries by all PT’s, and using that data to advocate for the fair reimbursement benefits that we deserve.
Christian is the right person to help guide the chapter through the next few years, and I know he will have the full support of MAPTA. I would like to thank all members who have spoken out on issues, volunteered for committees, and especially those who have given up their time to sit on the BOD, and of course, the glue that keeps us all together, Gail. It will be a nice change to sit on the sidelines, knowing that MAPTA will continue to lead our profession with members that are not afraid to speak out setting the bar high for all rural states.