The following article describes Jen’s experience and can be found in the March 2017 OPTA magazine.
Last September I was fortunate enough to be selected to attend the APTA’s State Payment and Policy Forum. As a physical therapy student who will be graduating this spring, I truly valued the chance to learn more about the issues affecting physical therapy legislation.
Along with other students and representatives from each state, I spent the weekend discussing legislation that may affect our profession, reimbursement methods, and the scope of our practice. It was interesting to hear from each state representative, since each state has different laws regarding the scope of physical therapy. States that passed laws important to our practice gave advice and suggested ways that would make passing similar laws in other states easier. Hearing their success stories inspired me to become more proactive in ensuring laws that help protect our practice are passed.
One of the most interesting and engaging presentations was given by Harold D. Miller, the president and CEO of the Center for Healthcare Quality & Payment Reform. He spoke about a new reimbursement method for physical therapy services. Though changing reimbursement methods takes time, it was great to hear that healthcare professionals are trying to find ways to improve reimbursement, so that it may benefit both the patients and healthcare providers.
The most rewarding aspect of this conference was learning the most up-to-date information on payment and policy. One of the most talked about topics was the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact. The Compact could greatly improve the availability of physical therapists and be beneficial to physical therapists who move frequently due to their spouses being in the military. Though the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact is still in the early stages, it was highly supported by all members of the conference. State representatives from each state that had already passed the bill spoke about their experience with getting the bill passed. They gave advice to other states on how to ensure the bill gets passed in their prospective state. New evaluation codes were also discussed at the conference. Kathleen Picard gave a detailed presentation about the new codes, with very specific descriptions of what each code entailed. She also gave examples of evaluations and asked everyone at the conference to select which codes should be used. In addition to engaging the attendees, she helped everyone understand the codes and how to use them in everyday practice.
This conference informed me on the issues affecting physical therapy, while inspiring me to take action to help to further our profession. I was able to inform my classmates of these issues to help ensure that we all become active members in the physical therapy community.