InTouch Newsletter l February 2021 Print

President's Report

Dear Association Members,

Happy 2021 and to the 100 Year Anniversary of APTA!   Our chapter was first started in 1948 so we are 73 years old!  Have you uploaded your photo on the Centennial Matrix yet? Here’s the link to do that!  Keep your eyes open throughout the year for many events that are planned by our chapter and association to celebrate our 100 years!   I hope some of you were able to attend the virtual Centennial celebration on January 15th.  I loved it listening to each state give a little history about their state and their association!   We were proud to have our video highlight that Creighton University was the first DPT program in the nation!  We are participating in the Centennial Scholar program with Katie Shalon as our scholar – we are looking forward to her capstone project in this year long leadership academy she is participating in at the APTA level.  

 Combined Section Meeting (virtual) started on February 1st – 20 CEUs for just $150 if you are also a section member!   I am looking forward to lots of learning during February! 

Let’s hope that the Pandemic will be behind us by this time next year!   I think we all have had to be flexible, open and creative this past year as we had to change our practices in order to provide physical therapy to our clients!  We have also learned that through Zoom we can still stay connected and business can continue!  

This is our second Focus newsletter and this issue is devoted to legislative issues affecting our profession both locally and nationally!  I have learned so much over the past 3 years as President regarding legislative issues and how we can make an impact with our advocacy  The Nebraska Unicameral recognize us and they respect what we have to say when we focus on our patients.  Our role is to educate them  so they can make informed decisions.   As part of our goals for this year, our chapter would like to increase our legislative committee, so we have a “key contact” for each of the legislative districts.  A key contact develops a relationship with the senator by providing education and information on key issues and the physical therapy profession.  If you would like to get involved and become a “key contact” for your senator, please let us know!  

Our business meeting this year will be on April 17th at 11:30 am and will be virtual.  Come join us to recognize our award winners, swear in our new officers, and recognize our outgoing committee chairpersons.  We will also have lots of information regarding the APTA as well as our chapter.  Mark your calendars and sign up!   Business meeting is FREE and we need EVERYONE to attend!  Strength is in numbers!

Your President,

Grace Knott PT  


NEW COMMITTEE – Diversity, Equity and Inclusivity

We have formed a new committee with Sara Bills PT, DPT selected as chairperson for this committee.  She will be looking for committee members and we really hope we can get students and recently graduated professionals on this committee.  APTA’s strategic goal is to foster the long-term sustainability of the profession by making APTA an inclusive organization that reflects the diversity of the society the profession serves.   I am excited about this and finding ways that we can be an inclusive organization where everyone feels part of the association.   I believe in Nebraska we have an opportunity to make a difference and start to recruit a more diverse population of therapists reflecting of our state.   Our association must be welcoming and inclusive.  Reach out to Sara Bills if you are interested in joining this committee at [email protected].     

Grace Knott, APTA NE President

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Legislative News


The Nebraska Legislature opened its 2021 session on 1/6/2021.  They have a lot on their plate with balancing the budget, deciding to build a new prison, and kicking the pandemic out of this state! This is the first session of the 107th Nebraska Legislature, which will meet for two-year sessions. We will have a 90 day session this year followed by a 60 day session in 2022.  Bills introduced this session may be carried over to the next session. We currently have 14 standing committees of the Legislature. Lawmakers take testimony on topics including revenue, appropriations, transportation, education just to name a few. They then decide on which bills should advance to the full Legislature for debate. There are 3 rounds of debate that are required to pass a bill to law. We are the only state that has a one house Legislature.  to view the actual bills discussed below.


We are having an eventful start to our Legislative session this winter.  Our fall and early winter have been focused on the 407 process with the Athletic Trainers.  It has been a long and arduous process that we initially thought was going to be a bit more simple.  Many evenings of discussion with our committee and the Athletic Trainers have led us to LB436 being introduced by Senator Ben Hansen on 1/15/2021.  Currently, our official stand is neutral on this bill.  Although we are taking the stand as being neutral, testimony will be provided by our chapter during the Health and Human Services committee hearing  regarding the 407 process that was done in preparation to this bill being introduced.  


LB100 has been introduced by Senator Walz that would amend the Medial Assistance Act. This bill specifically addresses MPPR as it applies to physical, occupational and speech therapy services. We are hoping this passes to support us not having to apply MPPR to our services. Grace Knott has been following closely and has attended the hearing on 1/28/2021. 


LB400 – last fall Grace Knott provided information to Senator Arch as well as testimony during the interim study and the hearing encouraging them to include physical therapy as a viable profession to be allowed to do telehealth in the state of Nebraska.    We are currently not included in this bill.  I have reached out to the APTA in assisting me on how we should proceed with this.


LB581 has been introduced by senator Hansen on 1/19/2021. This bill appears to be making a change to the current motorcycle helmet regulations in the state to include and require either face shields or other eye protection. It does not appear they are trying to repeal the helmet law per verbiage.


Our Legislative Day at the Capital will be virtual this year on February 9th. We are looking forward to a much larger group of students this year as they will not have to travel to the Capital to meet with our Senators.  If anyone would like to join us, please register here. 

PT-PAC (Political Action Committee)

The Nebraska PT-PAC promotes the practice of Physical Therapy by supporting candidates that understand the value of physical therapy. The strength of our profession in the state of Nebraska is dependent on the strength of its membership.  When you donate to the PT PAC you are helping your profession to be visible in the legislative and political process.

When you donate, you are helping to improve access to quality and affordable healthcare for the residents of Nebraska.

Not only do your dollars help to fund the campaigns of the Nebraska lawmakers who actively support physical therapy and are sensitive to the issues that we care about, but with your support, the Nebraska Chapter members are able to build valuable relationships with members of the Nebraska Legislature. Please be an advocate by giving, participating, and spreading the word while encouraging other members to do the same.

We have a goal to increase our PT PAC funds by double this year, If each member commits to just donating $10-20, we can more than double our resources to support the Legislative issues that are impacting our profession. 


Julie Steinmeyer

[email protected]

Federal Legislative & Advocacy Update from Brent Todd 

Hello APTA Nebraska members,

Happy New Year! As you all are probably aware, with the start of a new year there is also a new Congress. Last year much of our Advocacy efforts were driven towards fighting the Medicare cuts. While we were not successful in avoiding the cuts completely, we were successful in reducing the cuts from 9% to about 3%.  APTA will continue to work with Congress and CMS to avoid any cuts. 

As there is a new Congress, that means that all bills will need to be reintroduced for this session. Currently, none of our bills have been reintroduced other than a bill to extend the Medicare Sequestration Moratorium (-2%) to the end of the year. This is HR 315.  New bills involving telehealth, prior authorization, workforce diversity, locum tenens, Medicare opt-out, IDEA full funding, community health centers, student concussions, National Health Services Corps, and promoting physical activity etc. will be upcoming. More details will be provided in future newsletters. Stay tuned!

Thank you for all of your Advocacy, I look forward to seeing everyone in person soon.  Be happy and be well. 


Federal Affairs Liaison 

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Continuing Education

What are the requirements for continuing education? 

On or before November 1 of each odd-numbered year, individuals holding an active license in the State of Nebraska must complete at least 20 hours of acceptable continuing education for a physical therapist and 10 hours of acceptable continuing education for a physical therapist assistant during the preceding 24-month period.

What are acceptable and non-acceptable continuing education? 

The Board does not approve continuing education programs or activities. In order for a continuing education activity or program to be accepted for renewal or reinstatement of a license, the activity or program must relate to physical therapy and may focus on research, treatment, documentation, management, or education.

011.00 – 011.02(N) (starting on page 9):  acceptable continuing education subject matter and hour calculations. 

011.03 (page 12):  non-acceptable continuing education

How do I apply for a continuing education waiver due to COVID?

On the Physical Therapy licensure webpage, you'll find a mini-FAQ about the Continuing Education waiver and the Department's enforcement of such waiver.  Here is a link to that page: [] 
You'll want to click on the link entitled, "New: Continuing Competency Waiver Information"

This link is to both Executive Order s20-10 and 20-27. []

The continuing education provision is the 10th provision in Executive Order 20-27.   At the above website, you'll also find links to the Department's FAQs for both orders.  

How do I get periodic updates from the Board of Physical Therapy?

Please email your name to Antonio Carranza, Health Licensing Coordinator at [email protected].

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])

Submitted by:  Betsy J. Becker, Board Chair & Claire Covert-Bybee, Board Administrator

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.

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UNMC Program Update

Community Partnership: Fall 2020 Semester in Review
The Division of Physical Therapy Education carried on during the global pandemic with a combined schedule of virtual classes and both on-campus and community-based lab experiences during the Fall 2020 semester.
The faculty incorporated, and continues to use, learning experiences that follow best practice in distance education. These include a combination of live and asynchronous lecture, virtual and in-person labs, small and large group discussions, polling, discussions boards, live chats, and interactive eLearning modules. When material is presented asynchronously (recorded), faculty often follow with live sessions to answer questions, clarify content and link the material to the practice of physical therapy.
For in-person labs, the Division used engineering facility controls, administrative campus controls and policies and procedures, personal protective equipment, and cleaning and sanitizing procedures to minimize risk. Additional safety plans included the creation of Learning Pods consisting of eight students and a lab instructor. This allowed for reduced number of students and faculty per lab, reduced capacity in each room, attendance rosters for contact tracing, keeping lab groups the same to limit exposure and limiting the number of days per week that students were on campus. This approach was crafted using the best available evidence and recommendations. It is also being used in the Spring 2021 semester.
Using the appropriate PPE, the students completed three 2-hour labs per week. In order to de-densify campus, students learned once per week at a clinical site and twice per week on campus. This plan allowed the Division to be nimble if a directed health measure were implemented (e.g. reduced students per room, on-campus access) because all labs could shift to locations at clinical partner sites. Based on long-standing relationships with clinical partners, the Division of PT Education was positioned to limit disruptions to student learning with the contingency plans in place and ready to go, if needed.
Program Director Betsy J. Becker, PT, DPT, PhD, CLT-LANA, notes that the support of clinical partners made the Public Private Partnership for community labs possible, allowing students to continue to learn physical therapy skills in a safe environment.
Several community lab partners also shared their perspectives:
“Partnering with the faculty and students of UNMC Physical Therapy Education was the right thing to do. It aligns with our corporate mission of supporting education at all levels of practice, and providing support to our community during these trying times. Our employees have related great satisfaction working with students, and in this experience in particular. As owners, Joel Makovicka, Cory Sylliaasen and I are honored to share our clinicians’ expertise and provide a partnership in physical therapy education with UNMC.” – Natalie Harms, PT, MPT, DPT, GCS Emeritus (Makovicka Physical Therapy)
“This has been a great partnership for everyone involved. The students get the opportunity to learn from clinicians in the community and our staff get the opportunity to share their knowledge and expertise with our future colleagues. Everyone’s flexibility, professionalism and hard work resulted in a positive outcome for the future of our profession.” – Josh Buechler, PT (Kearney Physical Therapy)
“You all had an enormous task with reworking your entire curriculum to keep students on track and ensure they were getting their education. Kudos to you guys, glad we could be a part of the efforts!” – Ali Johnson, OTD, OTR/L, CHT (Manager, Outpatient Rehab Services, Nebraska Medicine)
Dr. Becker states, “We extend our gratitude to our community partners for collaborating with us in the education of our students. We continue to maintain a safe environment and have begun the vaccination process for students as they prepare for clinical rotations. We are firmly committed to training DPT students for entry into practice. Our curriculum provides learning experiences in team-based care, evidence-based practice, and clinical reasoning and promotes physical therapists in society. We will keep teaching so students can keep learning!”

To continue reading more from UNMC, click here. 

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This year APTA NE will once again be holding online elections. Voting is open March 1, 2021 through March 30, 2021. Watch for the official ballot in your email inbox next month.

The following positions will be voted on:  Vice President, Treasurer, two Delegates, PTA Caucus Representative, Alternate PTA Caucus Representative, Nominating Committee and four Board of Director positions with the Foundation.

Please review this list of candidates, read each of the statements and then use the electronic ballot to vote when it becomes available March 1.  

**Please note: Students are not eligible to vote.**


Nick Weber


Please identify your key skills, abilities and experiences that make you a qualified candidate for the position you're running for.

I am honored to have served as Vice President for the past two years and am motivated to continue serving in this role. I have been practicing in an outpatient orthopedic setting for six years, most recently as a facility manager of an established Omaha area private practice. However, I am transitioning to an academic position and look forward to working more closely with student physical therapists, residents, and faculty.

I am also in the final stages of completing my fellowship in orthopedic manual physical therapy to further my skills as a clinician. This past year has been tough on us all and it has been challenging at times to balance the responsibilities that come with this position, but I have enjoyed advocating for our profession in this ever-changing health care climate.

If elected, what are the goals you wish to accomplish?

If re-elected, I will work not only to increase membership, but also continue to bring more benefits to members, such as access to quality continuing education. I will continue to research opportunities for us to advance our profession by potentially expanding our practice act to include ordering imaging, assessing INR and blood glucose, and administering vaccines. Finally, I want to continue working with our executive committee to lead and provide resources for APTA-NE members during the pandemic.


Mike Wellsandt


Please identify your key skills, abilities and experiences that make you a qualified candidate for the position you're running for.

Having served as the APTA Nebraska Treasurer for the past 3 years I've assisted in multiple ventures within the Executive Committee including revenue generating activities such as transferring money to higher interest accounts. During this time I've been able to develop relationships within APTA Nebraska and APTA which allows for further growth from this position. Knowing the process of managing the budget will allow me to continue to employ strategies for a net positive budget.

If elected, what are the goals you wish to accomplish?

If elected I plan to continue formulating revenue generating activities in conjunction with the Finance, Executive, and Membership committees. This will include a membership drive and reexamining APTA Nebraska's financial accounts and investments to maximize profit. I will continue to work with the various committees and districts to ensure responsible spending of the association’s finances while promoting spending aimed at improving member benefits.


Ian Thompson


Please identify your key skills, abilities and experiences that make you a qualified candidate for the position you're running for.

I believe I have a passion for the physical therapy profession and the role of the PTA in the in the PT/PTA team. I have enjoyed serving as the Nebraska PTA Caucus representative for the last two years and feel that I am beginning to get more of a grasp on the roll. I have been active in meetings with other caucus reps and have been an advocate for PTAs across the state. I would be honored to continue in this role as we continue to move forward as a profession.

If elected, what are the goals you wish to accomplish?

If elected I would like to continue to be involved in as many ways as possible. The PTA Caucus recently set goals to increase PTA involvement in the local and national levels. My goal is to continue to find ways to be advocates for the physical therapist assistants across the state of Nebraska.



Interested in running for this position?  Sumibt your name online right now! It only takes a few mintues. 


Karri Iten


Please identify your key skills, abilities and experiences that make you a qualified candidate for the position you're running for.

I would like to run for the nominating committee position. I have good critical thinking skills which should be helpful to identify quality candidates. I am also very talkative and persuasive which will be helpful in bringing candidates onboard.

If elected, what are the goals you wish to accomplish?

I would hope to identify high quality candidates for open positions and help encourage future leaders.

Stephanie Schumann


Please identify your key skills, abilities and experiences that make you a qualified candidate for the position you're running for.

As a new graduate, I am trying to broaden my horizons beyond clinical work. I've been working for just over two years, and since beginning my job I have tried to engage in a variety of positions. I have been a mentor for Project Search, a volunteer with QLI's Adaptive Sports Program, the Culture Champion for my Rehabilitation Department at Nebraska Medicine, and aided UNMC in teaching labs as an adjunct instructor.

If elected, what are the goals you wish to accomplish?

As a new clinician, I am hoping to first learn more about the Nebraska APTA and what it can do for therapists in our state. I then plan to take that knowledge and work with other committees to help grow our membership and promote opportunities for therapists throughout Nebraska.


DELEGATES (vote for 2):

Karen Paschal


Please identify your key skills, abilities and experiences that make you a qualified candidate for the position you're running for.

I have been a member of the APTA since 1974 with active involvement at the district, state and national levels.  I have had the opportunity to serve in the House of Delegates, as a member of the APTA Reference Committee, and currently as a member of the HOD Special Committee to Review the APTA Bylaws. These experiences coupled with my responsibilities as a member of the clinical education team at Creighton University have provided me with an opportunity to visit and interact with clinicians across the state of Nebraska to understand the challenges they face in practice.  I believe this provides insight that will allow me to effectively and enthusiastically represent NE physical therapy colleagues in the House of Delegates.

If elected, what are the goals you wish to accomplish?

I believe it is our responsibility as individual members of the APTA and the Nebraska Chapter to develop consensus and provide guidance to assist the House of Delegates and the Board of Directors in developing positions and policies for future activities of the Association.  I have four goals:

  • Discuss issues of importance with the membership as well as the other delegates to define the needs of Nebraska physical therapists and determine how the Association can better serve the needs of our chapter members.
  • Become proactive in developing motions to bring before the House of Delegates.
  • Nominate and elect officers of the APTA who represent the needs of Nebraska members.
  • Develop and implement a mentorship program to educate and train members who may wish to serve as future delegates.


Cheryl Wisinki


Please identify your key skills, abilities and experiences that make you a qualified candidate for the position you're running for.

For over 30 years I have been a member of the Nebraska Chapter and served as a delegate for 10 of those years.  I am actively serving now as a delegate.  I also served on the Foundation board and Web/PR committees for over a decade.  I am active on a national level and currently serve as Chair of the nominating committee for the Academy of pelvic health.    Collaborating with therapists across the country who are currently serving in APTA positions allows me to communicate easily with candidates and also delegates from other states.  My experience and networking will allow me to represent Nebraska with confidence.

If elected, what are the goals you wish to accomplish?

Serving my current term as delegate, I have been trying to get as many members of our chapter as active as possible in the decision making process at our national meeting.  That means taking the time to discuss motions and candidates and providing our members with an avenue for input.  In the election process, my vote needs to be the vote of our members.   I am currently working with other delegates across the country on some innovative ideas on how we may be more effective in getting input from our members in upcoming years.  I look forward to representing the Nebraska Chapter as a delegate and appreciate your confidence in me.

Sara Bills


Please identify your key skills, abilities and experiences that make you a qualified candidate for the position you're running for.

My last term as Delegate for our chapter was cut short due to changes in our election cycles.  I was able to represent Nebraska at only one HOD.  Under Bobby Griese's leadership, I learned a great deal about the motion making process.  Reading motions and all of the comments during the revision process is time-consuming, however I am one of those strange souls that enjoy bylaw revisions, proof reading and word smithing.  Although the motion process is a year-round process, the busiest time for input and revisions falls during a good time of year for my workload.  I will be committed to reviewing the motions and seeking feedback from chapter members.

If elected, what are the goals you wish to accomplish?

COVID-19 has had its challenges, but one positive take-away is that we can stay engaged via virtual methods.  I would like to use virtual engagement to seek more feedback from chapter members prior to House of Delegates.  I would like to host 4 Nebraska Chapter town halls to discuss 1) new motion ideas 2) feedback on motions by other motion makers.


Joseph Norman


Please identify your key skills, abilities and experiences that make you a qualified candidate for the position you're running for.

I am currently a Professor at UNMC. Over the course of my career, I have been a clinician, educator and researcher. As such, I understand the importance of advancing the practice and profession of PT through these various domains. The Foundation has played an important role in advancing the PT profession through its programs that support PTs and PTAs across the state. I feel I could contribute to the Foundation by utilizing my experience and expertise to help support its mission and great work.

If elected, what are the goals you wish to accomplish?

My primary goal is to help support the growth of the Foundation and its programs to assist the advancement of physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and the profession.

Interested in running for this position? There are three more positions available. Sumibt your name online right now! It only takes a few mintues. 

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Education Committee

Hey APTA-Nebraska! We hosted the first part of our annual conference this past week. We are blessed to be able to offer two great courses. Renee Ostertag and Robyn Gisbert presented The Resilient Practitioner and Karin Silbernagel presented Tendon Rehabilitation. If you weren’t able to join us there is still time to watch either, or both, courses on demand until April 16th. You can register at

On April 17th, the second part of both courses will take place. Please join us live. The Resilient Practitioner course will start at 8 AM with the Tendon Rehabilitation course starting at 9 AM. Both courses will conclude at 11 AM and be followed 30 minutes later by our annual business meeting. We have a lot of new business to discuss so please stick around. We will also be honoring our award recipients from 2020.

As always, if you have any suggestions regarding future course content we would love to hear from you. Also, we are currently looking to fill an Education Committee co-chair position. For more information please reach out to Jennifer Bruursema or Nick Weber. Email addresses can be found on the APTA-Nebraska website.

Nick Weber, PT, DPT

Vice President

Also, the Association is looking for an Education Committee Co-Chair. Are you interested in helping with CEU offerings for members, the Annual Business Meeting, or Awards presentation? If you have interest in ANY of those, join us as a Co-Chair for the Education Committee! 

Contact Erin at [email protected] OR sign up on the Engage Platform at 

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