October 2020 l InTouch Newsletter Print

President's Report

Dear Fellow Association Members,

I had the pleasure of attending the first in-person meeting of the Early Professional SIG (EPSIG) meeting recently. It was at Stinson Park, where it's so easy to socially distance. It was great to talk to fellow therapists/assistants on each end of the spectrum – early career therapists/assistants and seasoned therapists (mentors for the group).  The leaders of this special interest group are doing some great things and I am excited to see where this goes. We talked about student loan debt, COVID and therapy, job market, and how therapy has changed over the years. EPSIG membership is free to any members who are entering their last semester of school all the way through the first 5 years of your career.  Check them out here!

Combined Section Meeting (CSM) next year will be held virtually.  I am on the CSM steering committee and the APTA staff are doing a great job of developing this virtual meeting in under 6 months time!  For some of you, going to CSM is an annual affair, for others it might be the year that you received recognition for your certification of a clinical specialist, and others have never attended but always wanted to. This is the year for all of us to experience the magic of CSM, the ability to connect with therapists across the country to discuss new research, new business models, latest products in the exhibit hall or get the annual update on rules/regulations. Registration starts November 12th and it will be affordable with a discount for first time attendees. It will be held during the entire month of February and will include live stream events in the evenings, Monday through Thursday, access to recorded sessions with scheduled live Q&A sessions. Watch for emails coming soon and register early! 

We are still working with the athletic trainer’s association in assisting them in getting their practice act revised. There is another Technical Review Committee meeting on October 22nd.  We are hopeful we can come up with a mutual agreeable language to their practice act proposal soon. All documents associated with the athletic trainers practice act revision proposal can be read at the DHHS website in the 407 Process webpage.  

If you haven’t signed up for the APTA's ENGAGE platform, I encourage you to opt-in today! First, opt-in here, then create a free profile and then you'll see all kinds of opportunities to get involved locally or nationally. As a member-run association, we must rely on all members in order to have a vibrant and engaged community of therapists, assistants and students. Having an ENGAGE profile will give you an opportunity to be informed of volunteer opportunities at the state, section and national level. Volunteer opportunities can range from a one hour event to a year long commitment. You get to pick and choose. Believe me, it will enrich your professional career. 

Part of our PT-PAC funds were used this election cycle to support various candidates for the Nebraska unicameral. We pick candidates that have an interest in healthcare issues and have a desire to get involved.  Julie Erickson of American Communications continues to provide excellent lobbying services to our association and provides an overview of each candidate for us to assist us in this selection process. We are very fortunate to have a long-standing relationship with this lobbying firm.

Our next board meeting will be October 17th from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm at Hillcrest Home and Community Education Center in Bellevue, Nebraska at 1902 Harlan Drive. Members are welcome to attend. 

Lastly, do not forget that Saturday, October 10th is PT Day of Service.  That day is recognized as a day that we give back to the communities we serve. It can be helping at the local food bank, cleaning up trash in your community, helping a neighbor. Check out PT Day of Service website here.   

Lots happening at your state association. Please reach out to me if you have any suggestions or concerns about YOUR association.

Sincerely yours,

Grace Knott PT

Nebraska Chapter-APTA President

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State Board of Physical Therapy

On behalf of the Board of Physical Therapy, I am pleased to provide news that the Physical Therapy Regulations have been promulgated (172 NAC 137). Claire Covert-ByBee, Board Administrator, and the Board acknowledge the hard work of everyone involved during the several-year process.  A copy of the regulations are available on the Department of Health and Human Services website here

The rationale for the regulations update was to minimize duplication and reduce regulatory burden for professions.  It was a Statewide project affecting all chapters of regulation, spurned by an Executive Order issued by Governor Ricketts.  During the regulation review process, the Nebraska PT Board took the opportunity to revise the regulations to ensure that several items were updated.  Some updates relate to foreign-educated applicants, continuing education requirements, and activities that are considered unprofessional conduct.  Additionally, language was removed which allowed for Nebraska to enter into the Federation of State Board of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) Alternative Approval Process (AAP) for the National Physical Therapist Examination (NPTE).  The AAP allows students to take the NPTE prior to graduation, instead of applying for licensure through the Department in order to be authorized to take the exam.

The Board of Physical Therapy members include:

  • Betsy J. Becker, PT, DPT, PhD, CLT-LANA (Chair)
  • Kirk Peck, PT, PhD, CSCS, CCRT, CERP (Vice-Chair)
  • Tom Victor, Secretary and public member
  • Kim Oliphant, PT


The Board Administrator is Claire Covert-Bybee ([email protected])

The primary role of the Board of Physical Therapy is to protect the public through recommending licensure eligibility, recommending disciplinary actions, and promoting public safety.  

The Board meets three times per year.  Each meeting is open to the public.

Please click here to find out meeting dates and times.

Are you interested in getting periodic updates via the “interested parties list”?  If so, please email your name to Antonio Carranza, Health Licensing Coordinator at [email protected].

Board of Physical Therapy website:  http://dhhs.ne.gov/licensure/Pages/Physical-Therapy.aspx

We thank you for promoting safety and competence in physical therapy.



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House of Delegates

The APTA continues to plan for major changes in their conference scheduling and the 2021 HoD is scheduled for September instead of the usual June. The Next conference is terminated. We as delegates have extra time now to prepare for a major bylaws revision, which a special committee has been created for.

The Nebraska delegates would love any feedback or comments on the bylaws to aide in bringing our wonderful association to the forefront in 2021, our 100 year anniversary. I’ve attached a link to the current bylaws of the APTA if you need some reading at night to stimulate your therapy senses instead of judging the dancers on Dancing with the Stars!!


Take care.

Bobby Griese, PT, DPT
Chief Delegate Nebraska

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Practice Management

Greetings APTA- NE members:

I first want to highlight the APTA’s website for becoming more involved in our profession—"The American Physical Therapy Association's mission statement reflects why we exist: “YOU. Your efforts impact the lives of patients, students, and colleagues on a daily basis. Your engagement in the conversation and the work of this association is how we move this profession forward. Build your community by volunteering. You are APTA.”


Here is a link for the recently available resource via the APTA for Evidenced Based information from EBSCO.  Click on the link to access thousands of articles to boost your patients’ treatments.


Recently, the Centers for Medicare Services (CMS) has created a CPT code to bill your patient for the increased cost of cleaning and cleaning products, as well as screening related to COVID-19.  Click on this link to learn more.  A value has NOT been assigned yet.  However, it will be available soon.


United Healthcare has approved telemedicine for physical therapy through December 31, 2020.


In speaking with Wanda Evans, Senior Payment Specialist with the APTA, she reported that the APTA is working hard on 2 major issues involving reimbursement and CMS.  The first issue is related to the 9% cut in Medicare fees that is slated to begin January 1, 2021.  Please contact your Congress members to voice your opposition to this cut and do it NOW!!  Please call, write letters, email, tweet, and/or have your patients do the same to help stop this very detrimental cut!!!!


A second issue that started October 1, 2020, is the reinstatement of the CMS NCCI edits.  Take a close look at these as one important edit is that you may not bill manual therapy (97140) on the same date as the initial evaluation and re-evaluation are billed. Wanda reports that the APTA is striving to get this decision reversed as well.


Kind regards, 

Brian Brunken, Practice Management Chair

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Member Recognition

Congratulations to Katie Jo Shalon! We are excited to introduce Katie as the APTA Nebraska Centennial Scholar. Katie graduated from UNMC in 2018 and currently works as a float physical therapist for CHI. Katie is passionate about pursuing meaningful changes in healthcare including improving Nebraskans' accessibility to physical therapists through telehealth.

Katie will participate in a 12-month program that will run throughout 2021 with a goal of engaging 100 scholars, including approximately one scholar sponsored by each of APTA’s chapters, sections, and academies. The curriculum will cover association leadership and management topics. Additionally, scholars will work directly with their sponsoring chapter to design and complete a capstone project that addresses an existing need. Scholars will also benefit from the guidance of Centennial Scholar mentors who will work directly with the scholars in small groups to support the completion of their projects.

Katie brings a new and exciting energy to our association. We look forward to watching her grow as a future leader within our association and helping her achieve her goals. 

Learn more about Katie and the Centennial Scholar Program locally and on the national level here. 

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Education Committee

The Education Committee is currently working on putting together the 2021 Annual Conference and Business Meeting. Next year's conference will be done virtually due to the continued risk associated with large gatherings and the challenges we have run into with finding a venue that would fit our needs and allow for enough spacing to appropriately distance.

The Education Committee is currently working to find speakers who are willing to offer virtual courses . We hope to offer multiple courses with more variety, including the potential option of a course series spread out over multiple dates throughout next year.

We will send out emails with the details for these offerings when it is finalized. As always, if you have any course recommendations or requests we would love to hear from you. 

Nick Weber, Vice President, APTA Nebraska

Alex Habegger, Education Committee Co-Chair

Jen Bruursma, Education Committee Co-Chair

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Continuing Education Committee

Hello, Nebraska NPTA members!

We would like to provide you with a few updates and reminders from the Continuing Education Committee.

We continue to pre-approve CEU courses as a service to ensure your courses meet minimum licensure requirements. We use CEU locker as the online portal for the approval process.

Home Study & Remote Synchronous Courses Welcome

We welcome home study and remote synchronous courses, which we know are more prevalent, convenient, and safe as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Please remember if you develop a home study course there needs to be a testing mechanism, and if you host satellite program (remote synchronous course), there needs to be a live facilitator.

More information can be found here.


We are looking for an additional committee member to help with the course review process. If you are interested in supporting the continuing education activities for the membership and joining the committee, please reach out to one or both of us:

Kelly Nelson: [email protected]

Raegan Muller: [email protected]

Thank you, and best wishes on your professional development journey!

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Eastern District

Hello from the Eastern District!

We would like to thank everyone who attended our Eastern District fall meeting in September, including everyone who gave us feedback on the course that was offered! Our first virtual meeting was a success thanks to all of you, but especially thanks to our excellent speaker.

As an association, we are anticipating that online meetings will be the default not only for the remainder of the year, but into next. With that in mind, we are working hard to explore quality options for virtual continuing education. As always, if there's anything you'd like to see offered, please reach out to us! Our number one priority is to make sure we're offering courses that are exciting for you all. 

Additionally, we are planning some fun virtual events and raffles to celebrate centennial milestones next year, so stay tuned! We hope you're all having a happy and healthy fall.

Your Eastern District Co-Chairs, 

Katherine: [email protected] 

Austin: [email protected] 

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Central District

Hello from the Central District!

This fall we are hard a work, putting together a Central District Meeting. We are working with a speaker to solidify a date and time in November for this event.

Watch the website, your email and our social media for more details soon!

Tessa Wells and Stacie Christensen, Central District Co-Chairs

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NE Methodist PTA Program

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SCC PTA Program

Happy Fall!

The Southeast Community College Physical Therapist Assistant Program has had many exciting changes this past year.  The most exciting is the construction of the new Health Science Building on the Lincoln Campus slated to be finished during the month of October.  The building itself is designed to promote interdisciplinary care among all of the Health Science Programs at SCC.  The new lab for the PTA Program is state of the art and has new equipment thanks to a generous donation from the Nebraska Foundation for Physical Therapy.  With this new facility, the program is planning to extend its outreach into the community to provide clinicians with more continuing education opportunities.  At the beginning of construction, all SCC students had the opportunity to sign a beam that would be part of the new building (see picture below).  This beam is located in the ceiling of the PTA lab.  Classes in the new building will begin in January 2021.

The SCC Student Physical Therapist Assistant Association continued to promote the profession of physical therapy through fundraising efforts and volunteer opportunities.  Students volunteered by leading exercise classes on several occasions at an assisted living facility in Lincoln and participated in PT Day of Service in October of 2019 by providing clean-up at Holmes Lake Park (see picture below).  Students will again participate in PT Day of Service this year with an even larger group as both year 1 and year 2 students will be on campus.  Fundraising through a volleyball tournament and T-shirt sales allowed the Student Association to donate money to an outreach effort during the first months of the pandemic where the SCC Culinary Program and volunteers from various departments provided meal delivery to medically compromised individuals. 

Lastly, as we all know, this past 6 months have been challenging in both the world of education and patient care.  Fortunately, the program has been able to return to in-person learning this fall with extra safety and sanitizing procedures in place.  The response of the PTA students has been extraordinary and will equip them with the tools needed to be part of the healthcare team in the current environment. 

Stay safe. 

Bridget Clark, PT, Program Director

Southeast Community College Physical Therapist Assistant Program

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UNMC Program Update

PT2 John Lysinger’s Nebraska Army National Guard service

John Lysinger is a second-year student in the Division of Physical Therapy Education and a member of the Nebraska Army National Guard. John was activated in April for the COVID-19 response. His unit activated to support the Nebraska Accommodation Project. The National Guardsmen staffed UNO residence halls, which were made available free of charge to people who may have been exposed to the Coronavirus and needed a safe place to quarantine, particularly those who couldn’t quarantine or isolate at home because they had vulnerable loved ones.
John states, “I joined the National Guard because I wanted to be in a position to help when bad things happened, so I was proud to serve in this way. We provided a safe place for people to quarantine by providing medical care, food, and a 24-hour presence for anything else they might need.

“Keeping up with school was difficult during this time; however, my unit leadership as well as faculty and fellow students were all great about understanding my dual commitments. I was able to study during slower times, and my classmates were always available to catch me up on things I might have missed. This allowed me to successfully finish the summer semester and serve the state of Nebraska during this difficult time. I’m proud to be able to do my small part, and I pray for all of those affected.”

Assistant professor and associate director Sara Bills, PT, DPT, GCS said, "We are so thankful for John's service, and he is a really amazing representative of our college and university."

PPE preparation for clinical education experiences

(l-r) PT2 John Lysinger, PT2 Dani Gruber, PT3 Liv Dwornicki and PT3 McKenzie Dolph

The health and wellness of our students, faculty, and staff is a primary point of focus this semester. In PT Education, a dedicated team of faculty and staff came together to procure personal protective equipment (PPE) for 192 DPT students and the faculty members and lab instructors teaching clinical skills labs for the Fall 2020 semester. The necessary equipment includes roughly 220 eye goggles and face shields and 10,000 surgical masks.

In addition, student education materials illustrating correct infection control and the PPE procedures required in face-to-face and clinical education environments were curated or created. Students submitted video assignments demonstrating competency of these practices.

Preparations also included the organization and execution of PPE pick-up drive-throughs on both the Omaha and Kearney campuses over a two-day period.

And... there is so much more...

To continue reading this full article, please click here. 

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Creighton Program Update

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has changed all our lives, and not without exception, the way PT education is currently being delivered as well.  Faculty and students alike have fast-tracked into hybrid teaching models that include both campus-based and online education.   

Since mid-March of 2020, Creighton faculty and students have shifted into super-hybrid mode with a primary goal of keeping all students on track in the curriculum and prepared for graduation.  To date those goals have been accomplished.  The Class of 2020 all graduated last May despite having been pulled from their clinical sites six-weeks prior.  Faculty in fact had to create several additional credit hours of academic material to fill the void.  Not an easy task to do on the fly, but the mission was accomplished, and students met the challenge.  

The Class of 2021 also experienced a mid-semester clinical postponement that shifted curricular sequencing for late spring and summer terms.  As a result faculty quickly converted campus-based teaching to online didactic learning, including multiple laboratory experiences.  The Department learned that you literally can take what seems like the impossible and turn it into something very doable with the power of a little creativity and ingenuity.  In the end, the cohort of students remained on track in the curriculum and successfully began the fall semester on schedule. The class photo depicts the “new way” of teaching on campus while incorporating social distancing and use of personal protective equipment (PPE).  

New Faculty Hires:

Several new faculty members have joined the Creighton University DPT Program in the last year.  Janice Loudon, PT, PhD, ATC, CSCSPT started in January 2020.  She brings years of expertise in the areas of clinical orthopedics, biomechanics, and running injuries.   Kathleen “Katy” Sutton, PT, PHD, DPT, MPH came to Omaha in May 2020.  She shares a wealth of knowledge in public health, motor control, and cardiopulmonary PT.  Abbis Jaffri PT, PhD began his employment in July 2020 and is currently teaching human dissection, and medical imaging. In addition, Dr. Jaffri has a distinct interest in public health concerns, especially those from Pakistan, his native homeland.  Finally, Katherine “Kate” Kugler, PT, DPT, NCS will be joining the Creighton family in November 2020.  Dr. Kugler has clinical expertise treating neurologic conditions, especially in acute care, and will serve the department in the clinical education program, in addition to coordinating laboratory instruction.  

Phoenix Development:

Creighton University is spreading its wings to the southern warmth of Phoenix, Arizona. A new campus to support several healthcare programs will be located adjacent to Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in the heart of Phoenix. Academic programs in Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy are all slated to be fully operational by 2021/22. 

The new Doctor of Physical Therapy program in Phoenix will be separately accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education, but will have close academic ties with the DPT program located in Omaha, Nebraska.  Both programs will share faculty expertise in addition to other institutional resources to function as a unique collaborative unit. 

Dr. Jim Lynskey is the founding chair for the Phoenix DPT Program in Creighton University’s School of Pharmacy and Health Professions. Dr. Lynskey began employment July 1st, 2019.

Dr. Lynskey is a licensed physical therapist with expertise as a neuroscientist, and academician with experience in neurorehabilitation, neuroplasticity, and academic leadership.  Dr. Lynskey served over 13 years in various roles at A.T. Still University in Phoenix, AZ.  Dr. Lynskey may be reached at [email protected] or 602-812-3131.


Chair, Department of Physical Therapy

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Series: A Day In The Life

One Day in the Life of a Rural Physical Therapist

The life of a rural physical therapist starts just like everyone else's, with the daily commute to work. The difference of rural healthcare is there is hardly a traffic jam, except when an occasional piece of farm equipment is blocking the highway.

Our clinic is located in a 25 bed critical access hospital that serves our county and surrounding areas. Like many other rural clinics,  where we cover a large geographical area, this requires some patients to drive one to two hours round trip for an appointment.   

When looking at the schedule and preparing for the day, a patient population with a vast array of diagnoses await in orthopedics, pediatrics, inpatient, SNF and wound care. This varying population requires rural clinicians to have expertise in both clinical care and insurance policies to perform therapy to our wide variety of patient needs. Looking at the patient schedule, rural therapists tend to know a majority of the patients as many will be on the same local boards, involved in community groups and clubs as well as shop at the same grocery store. During our normal day,  we are required to wear many different hats. Whether it is using our creative minds working with kiddos with autism, switching to a patient with low back pain, to an adult patient with MS, to high school athletes.  Being a rural clinician truly covers the gamut of birth to death and every ability level in between.

Even at the end of the workday our job is not necessarily over.  The personal relationship that we have built leaves us open to consulting of injuries after hours whether it be at the grocery store or high school sporting events.  The ability to constantly communicate and interact with patients both in the clinic and outside of the clinic allows for us to create a strong personal relationship and gives satisfaction that we are making a difference in patient outcomes.

Adam Peetz, PT, DPT, OCS


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