In this issue
Greeting from the Legislative Committee,
It has been an interesting session this spring with a long hiatus due to Covid -19. The Legislature recessed March 17,2020 due to the quickly spreading virus. We had LB 956 set to be reviewed in session with support by Senator Walz. LB 956 implementation was being presented to ensure that health care providers have a sound system when MCOs make material changes to their provider contracts during the contract period. By establishing a process, notice, timeline and an option withdrawl from the network for substantial contract changes, the MCO and the provider have an opportunity to work out details, train staff and to deliver efficient and cost-effective services.
Upon resumption of the Legislative session on July 20, LB 956 quickly advanced to select file without opposition. We are thrilled that this bill is moving along!
During the past few months the Legislative Committee has been asked to have a group of therapists work closely with the Athletic Trainers in their 407 process. They have chosen to open their practice act due to recent changes in their educational processes with many schools moving to a Master’s degree track.
The APTA is seeing lots of athletic trainer bills throughout the country this year, the common theme being that the ATs are trying to increase their scope of practice (who they see and what they do) and in one case seeking limited insurance reimbursement. This includes widening their patient population to include others outside of “athletes,” as well as being able to provide more services such as dry needling or other services under the supervision of a physician.
Our committee is working diligently to ensure that the ATCs practice act reflects their education and allows for safe treatment of appropriate patient populations.
Lastly, we had a great Legislative Breakfast in February prior to the Legislative session being suspended. Students, PTs, educators and Senators had the opportunity to visit over breakfast regarding our profession and our upcoming LB 956.
As we enter month 5 of COVID-19 being a major part of our lives we want to highlight the incredible response by Nebraska physical therapist and physical therapist assistants. Physical therapy continues to lead the way in the recovery of many patients whether they suffered from COVID-19 or had to put their recovery on hold due to the risk. From being on the frontlines of a hospital to pioneering telehealth in your company we want to hear your stories and share them. We know this year has been difficult so please if you have pictures and/or stories of community involvement let us know. Please, send your stories to PR Chair, Dan McCutchen at [email protected]
The PR committee is working on a radio advertisement campaign hopefully to coincide with PT Month in October. We are always looking for people to help with messaging and organization.
If interested in joining the PR Committee or in participating in building our upcoming ad campaign, please contact Dan McCutchen at [email protected].
Dear Fellow Association Members,
We have passed the 6th month mark since the Pandemic was recognized as a Public Health Emergency. We have learned a lot and we are surviving! Please check out the personal stories that two of our members wrote for our newsletter about their new “normal” workday during a pandemic. One is an acute care therapist, and another is a pediatric outpatient therapist. You will find the stories honest and inspiring. We should feel very proud of our profession – we have stepped up to the plate! Our national association has encouraged more than ever collaboration – we are seeing the rewards of that with COVID-19 information that is timely and helpful with the assistance of the experts in our field. Positive notes is that the Pandemic has shown that telehealth CAN be a very viable option for therapy services as not only an adjunct to onsite but can stand alone! Did you know that there are over 2 million survivors of COVID-19 with many of them needing rehab services for the neuromuscular and cardiopulmonary complications from the severe form of this illness? Check out the outcome measures that are being recommended on the COVID page of the APTA.
We continue to work with the athletic training 407 process for their practice act proposal. I want to thank our task force members for their ongoing time, support and input through this process. There has been considerable meetings during this process. The next step will be to provide testimony at a scheduled hearing in which the public can provide input in support, neutral or opposition to their proposal. The date has not sent but you can continue to follow along with this process by viewing this website frequently - http://dhhs.ne.gov/licensure/Pages/Credentialing-Review-Athletic-Trainers.aspx We are currently opposing one part of their proposed revision to their practice act concerning the type of individuals they can treat.
On another positive note, check out the new directive from United HealthCare concerning low back pain - https://www.unitedhealthgroup.com/newsroom/2019/2019-10-29-uhc-benefit-low-back-pain.html. In a nutshell, they are waiving the out of pocket expense for people with low back pain that select physical therapy or chiropractic care for their condition. Based on their analysis, they believe this will potentially reduce spinal imaging tests by 22%, spinal surgeries by 21% and opioid use by 19% which will lower the total cost of care. Shout out to UHC for looking at the overall costs – we save health care dollars!
We have a new email address that will be used for all the future presidents so you don’t have to remember who the president is – our generic address will be [email protected]. It will be linked to the current president’s email. We will be rolling out for the other positions soon also.
Take care everyone and stay healthy!
Practice & Management Committee Update APTA-NE
- LB 956 - Bill that is supported by APTA-NE, NOTA, and NSSHLA all support that would require the Medicaid Companies in Nebraska to provide an increased amount of days when they change policies related to authorization.
- United HealthCare Community Plan - Monthly meetings have re-started with the APTA and other states' reimbursement stakeholders. In other states, they have not had issues with the authorization process. I have reached out to some of our members who have not had issues in Nebraska. However, please reach out to me if you have any questions or are having issues with UHCCP.
- Please, please reach out to your Congress members whenever a request is made via APTA. These letters, emails. phone calls, texts, tweets, etc. all have an effect. If you are interested, please reach out to [email protected].
Brian Brunken, PT, MSPT, OCS
Go Physical Therapy, PC
18101 R Plaza, Suite 106 Omaha 68135
402-933-8333 (phone) 402-933-4755 (fax)
First Virtual HoD Is In The Books
It was as successful as holding a live event.
By working on the motions through email and virtual discussions through the year, the chapter delegates moved through 42 motions expeditiously and in less time than a normal HoD. I think you will be happy with the direction and conviction the APTA will be moving over the next year and please let any of our delegates know if you have any questions.
Here is a brief overview from the APTA on what transcended in the House of Delegates.
The Expanding Impact of the PT and PTA
Just as the association prepares to mark its 100th year, the House focused a significant part of its efforts on supporting APTA's vision for the future by looking at the profession's role in health care more broadly.
The Increased use of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need to establish best-practice strategies for its use, according to a charge passed by the House for the development of appropriate guidelines by APTA.
Behavioral and mental health
The House adopted a position articulating APTA's support for greater interprofessional collaboration around mental health and its relationship to physical therapist practice, describing PTs as professionals capable of screening for and addressing “behavioral and mental health conditions in patients, clients, and populations."
A new position adopted by the House promotes greater collaboration between PTs and sleep medicine professionals, and it supports the profession's role in prevention and management of sleep impairments as well as promotion of healthy sleep behaviors.
The House adopted a resolution stating APTA's support for emergency PT services, describing this area of practice as occurring in "hospital-based and freestanding emergency departments, urgent care clinics, observation units, athletic events, emergency medical response vehicles, and disaster sites," among other settings. It also directed the association to "identify barriers to and opportunities for provision of emergency physical therapist services" and to develop related resources.
Professional Values, Ethics, and Standards
The House also addressed the profession's present environment by refining some of the most important guidance around principles and behaviors that are core to day-to-day practice.
Values in the association’s ethics and conduct guidance
The House voted to fold in the core values for the PT and the PTA into the Code of Ethics for the Physical Therapist and Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant. Previously the core values existed as a separate document cited in those two documents — a separation that was potentially problematic.
Standards around patient and client management
The House voted to modernize the Standards of Practice for Physical Therapy around patient and client management to better encompass the full scope of PT practice. In addition to cleaning up ambiguities, the new standards now include expanded language related to management plans and plans of care and consultation.
The House adopted a position on patient safety that establishes APTA's support of efforts by PTs and PTAs to achieve the goal of "zero preventable patient harm by demonstrating transformational leadership, a culture of safety, and robust performance improvement."
Environmentally responsible practice
The House updated APTA's position on its support for more environmentally conscious practices "for the health of individuals, communities, and society." That support now includes a commitment to environmental sustainability and greater public awareness of the effect of the environment on human movement, health, and safety.
World Confederation for PT meeting location
Delegates voted for the association to act on concerns about WCPT's selection of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for its 2021 conference, given the country's poor human rights record. Those actions include an official censure of the decision; a statement that APTA supports WCPT meeting site selections that are consistent with the confederation’s current policy statement related to diversity, equity, and inclusion; and a directive for APTA to introduce two motions at the 2023 WCPT general meeting: one that would commit WCPT to selecting meeting sites that are consistent with its policies on diversity and inclusion, and a second that would add language to the WCPT inclusion statement to clarify that "All members of the global physical therapy community must be able to attend … without fear of governmental persecution on the basis of race, creed, color, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, national or ethnic origin, sexual orientation, disability, or health status."
Workforce and Education Issues
From practice arrangements to the need for greater transparency in the cost of physical therapy education, the House addressed some of the most pressing issues facing the current and future workforce.
Transparency of accredited PT education programs
As approved at the House, APTA now has an official statement urging physical therapy education programs to provide full disclosure of the costs of their degree programs, and to improve the financial literacy of students.
Practice and business financial arrangements
In a continuation of shifts in 2019 that moved APTA toward a focus on the underlying operations of various business and financial arrangements more than the types of relationships themselves, the House adopted a new APTA position in support of collaborated practice and business models. That support is limited to arrangements that are consistent with APTA positions and policies, prioritize best clinical practice, provide consumer value and choice, are data-driven, retain "organizational flexibility," and comply with laws and regulations.
The House also confirmed the importance of in-depth workforce planning and regular reporting to ensure an adequate physical therapy workforce that meets the current and future needs of society. Those planning efforts would include ongoing assessments of supply and demand, as well as needs assessments that would help better define and predict the employment landscape.
Recruiting and hiring internationally educated PTs
The House amended APTA guidelines providing safeguards for PTs trained outside of the U.S., and for employers interested in hiring these PTs. The new guidelines are intended to provide more support for these PTs, including more employer responsibilities and greater transparency.
In addition to the outward-facing actions taken, the House also addressed issues related to internal operations. Among the most notable: granting APTA sections and academies voting rights at the House, and adding a position for a public member on the APTA Board of Directors. The public member will be appointed by the Board.
The HoD also elected new leaders for the year and here is a summation of those elections.
Jeanine Gunn, PT, DPT, was elected treasurer.
William (Bill) McGehee, PT, PhD, was elected speaker of the House of Delegates.
Dan Mills, PT, MPT, was reelected director, and Skye Donovan, PT, PhD, and Victoria Tilley, PT, were elected director.
John DeWitt, PT, DPT, ATC, and Leiselle Pilgrim, PT, DPT, MPH, were elected to the Nominating Committee.
Stay safe and involved!!
Bobby Griese, PT, DPT
My name is Austin Shepard, I grew up in Milford, NE, and I've been a Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant as of April 10, 2019. I am currently working as a full-time PTA for Interim Healthcare in the home health setting. I originally started down my healthcare and quality of life fitness journey in 2014 when my mother had and survived a heart attack. I chose to pursue an ACE personal trainer certification which I obtained in December of 2016 and not long after I began to notice physical therapists at the hospital gym I worked out at performing treatments in the same gym with their patients. I began to envy the relationships, bonds, and goals that I saw being achieved in their out-patient setting and this motivated me to move back to Lincoln to enter the PTA program at SCC. I've been on a knowledge hunt ever since and I have a passion for working with the geriatric population and intend to earn a specialist designation in said category when the time comes. I look forward to making a positive impact on the physical therapy profession during my career as well as in my patients' lives.
My name is Katherine Kibbie, and I am also a relatively new PTA. Movement is my passion; when I'm not snuggling my dog, I'm running, biking, doing yoga, and dancing around my kitchen while I bake. Before starting the PTA program at Southeast Community College, I spent my early twenties trying to figure out my place in my community. I knew that I wanted to help people lead healthy and happy lives, but I didn't know exactly how. My "ah-hah" moment came when I visited my grandfather in the hospital during his physical therapy session. Watching the therapist work with my grandad to get out of bed and take a walk was incredible to me; I remember thinking that she had the best job in the world. Now that I have a little over a year under my belt working full-time outpatient orthopedics and PRN at a SNF, I can honestly say that I feel so fortunate to also have the best job in the world.
We are honored to serve the NPTA and our fellow professionals. We have a shared goal of advocating for our profession and providing quality opportunities for members to engage with one another. Please do not hesitate to reach out to either one of us, we look forward to speaking with you!
Katherine: [email protected]
Austin: [email protected]
The Central District is continuing to work closely with the larger APTA Nebraska in many areas including developing plans for APTAs centennial celebration in 2021, collaborating to sponsor a Centennial Scholar, and providing our state with information to help navigate the current work environment through COVID-19. Plans are underway to bring our members a unique continuing education opportunity this fall that best fits with current times as well as continuing to foster evidence based practice.
As your new chairs we look forward to continuing to build relationships with the district members and bring you quality education this fall. If there is a particular topic of interest to you, please let us know.
Stacie Christensen & Tessa Wells
The Education Committee is continuing to search for virtual course offerings as an opportunity for our members to obtain continuing education hours. We will continue to send out informative emails with the details for these offerings such as the virtual NEXT conference and neighboring states virtual conferences (2020 APTA Rocky Mountain Annual Conference). However as a reminder, for our state we only allow 10 hours of our recertification hours to be through an online course.
The Education Committee at this time continues to plan to host our in person annual conference in April of 2021 which will allow attendees to gather 7 or more contact hours. This will continue to give our members the opportunity to obtain education hours at an affordable price in state.
Alex Habegger, Education Committee Co-Chair
Jen Bruursma, Education Committee Co-Chair
The EPSIG Executive Committee had it's second meeting in July, where officers discussed recruitment for membership and mentors. The committee hopes to begin recruiting for members in August and is planning a virtual or social distancing meet and greet where members can meet the officers and have a chance to get some EPSIG "swag"!
As a reminder, members can be in their last semester of PT or PTA school and less than 5 years out of school. Also, if any PT or PTAs (more than 5 years out of school) are still interested in becoming a mentor, please email: [email protected].
Please contact the EPSIG executive committee with any questions by emailing [email protected].
One Day in the Life of an Acute Care PT During Covid-19
Early in the morning I take the elevator up to the COVID unit wearing a procedural mask. I then don my N95 and face shield for the morning. I think to myself…did I get a good seal on my N95? Will my shield fog today? As I walk up to the closed door of my first patient's room, I have an arm full of supplies. Do I have everything I need? Once I go in, I cannot come back out.
Continue reading this article by Kaitlyn Cornelius, PT, DPT on the blog.
One Day in the Life of a Pediatric PT During Covid-19
Masks go on before entering the building. Daily temperature checks and monitoring of symptoms must be documented before starting my day. I gather my sanitizer, extra mask and disinfecting wipes, and head to my “space” for the day. The incredible sensory gym that was once filled with swinging and bouncing kiddos is now quiet, desolate, sterile. I wait for parents and children to be screened before being passed over to me for hand washing and entering the building while socially distancing from all others entering at the same time. It is a daunting and repetitive process...
Continue reading this article by Danielle Thiessen, PT, DPT on the blog.