President's Message

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Create a Culture of Advocacy

Monday, February 27, 2017  by paolangeli

From Heather Jennings, APTAMA President 

I can’t believe it is almost March.  2017 is off to a flying start!  We’ve already hosted a two day orientation/leadership retreat, traveled to San Antonio for Combined Sections, and started work on our 2017-18 legislative agenda.  All that and we’re in the heart of planning to HOST the APTA’s NEXT Annual Conference & Expo in Boston, June 21 – 14.  Wow!

The Chapter kicked off 2017 with two days of orientation and generative discussion among the Board and other Chapter Leaders. The outcome of these meetings was revision of our Chapter mission and establishment of a focused strategic plan for the upcoming year.  Attendees left energized with specific objectives to bring Members high quality educational programming, social events, membership value and improved communication platforms making for what will be a very busy year.  

In order to continue to promote leadership development in our Chapter, APTAMA is hosting the APTA HPA Section LAMP course in early April.  Chapter leaders from across New England will gather in Worcester for this two-day, nationally renowned session.  If you are interested in attending, there are still seats available, so contact Tamara at APTAMA HQ right away for more information. 

One of the most exciting goals that emerged from this meeting is “to create a culture of advocacy.”  This is an important path for the Chapter.  With the new Administration in Washington and many unknowns in the future of healthcare, it is vital to the future of the profession that we create strong ties with our state legislative players and health care payers.  This will require all of us to be nimble and responsive to changes but also proactive in seeking opportunities. We have to be at the table as opinion leaders work to create a better system of health delivery.  Just last week APTA launched the PT Outcomes Registry which will be a great resource to demonstrate the benefit of care by a Physical Therapist with true data in a way we have never been able to before. 

The gang on Beacon Hill is back at it and we’re right there with them.  While the Chapter only submitted one bill this cycle, we are in the mix on a number of legislative initiatives regarding scope of practice, payment policy and numerous other initiatives.  Our bill is related to the Pediatric Plan of Care.   Our Pediatric Special Interest Group has initiated conversations related to the bill with the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans to work towards achieving better care of children with disabilities in the Commonwealth.  

Mark Your Calendar Now!  We are excited to welcome PTs, PTAs and students to Beacon Hill on May 22nd for our PT Day on the Hill and Scope of Practice Fair.   While the Chapter has hosted numerous “Lobby Days” on Beacon Hill, this will be our second Scope of Practice Fair at the State House. This is a great opportunity to combine advocacy with education.  Our goal is to demonstrate the wide scope of physical therapy practice from sports to pediatrics, cardiopulmonary, pelvic health and more to those opinion leaders who routinely make decisions on healthcare.  Throughout the day, we will facilitate opportunities for you to meet with your legislators, get to know them, share what Physical Therapists do and support our legislative initiatives.     

That’s it for now.  If you haven’t already, please follow us on Twitter, @aptaofma.  It’s a great way to get up to the minute highlights on the Chapter, SIGS, Districts advocacy efforts and more.

 

Upcoming Event Highlights:

  • Membership Committee Meeting, March 22nd 7pm Boston, MA- Open to All Members
  • LAMP Leadership Certification April 8th-9th MCPHS Worcester- Registration Link
  • Visit Chapter Events on the website for several upcoming SIG events 
  • Spring Assembly of Representatives May 10th –Open to All Members
  • PT Day on Beacon Hill and Scope of Practice Fair May 22nd Boston, MA

 

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Competition is key to quality driven health care

Monday, January 9, 2017  by hgleason

Just over a week into the new year, this has already been a busy one for the Chapter. A member brought forward a concern of a proposed UMass Memorial Health/ATI Physical Therapy joint venture.  While we don’t tend to take sides in issues amongst practices, I took a deeper look into this proposal to see how it might affect the delivery of physical therapy in Central Massachusetts.  While all of the details are not readily available, we have confirmed that UMass physicians would be referring patients to ATI as a primary source of services. 

Competition is a key component in quality driven health care.  In December 2014, FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez, JD stated the “goals are best achieved when there is healthy competition in provider markets fostering the sort of dynamic, high-quality, and innovative health care that practitioners seek and patients deserve.“

As the professional organization that represents over 2000 physical therapists in the Commonwealth, we oppose this merger for the following reasons:

  1. This merger will effectively reduce consumer choice for the citizens of Central Massachusetts.
  2. This merger will severely limit competition in the physical therapy marketplace without demonstrating reduction in cost or gains in quality.
  3. This merger will put at risk physical therapists in private practice whose small businesses were built on delivering quality patient-centered care and who compete in the marketplace on cost and quality.

Experience in the Commonwealth and other areas of the country have shown that anticipated benefits from economies of scale did not materialize in cost containment or improvements in quality but rather in cost increases achieved from less competition and increased market power. 

The Chair of the Private Practice SIG, a representative of Central Massachusetts Private Practices and I have participated in multiple communications with members of the State Legislature and Governor’s office.  Our goal was to seek additional information on this proposal as well as express opposition to its approval for the reasons stated above.

We recognize that physical therapy private practices are innovators in clinical care.  As small businesses that must accept regulated pricing, they are masters of eliminating inefficiencies and keeping costs low. Maintaining a physical therapy market place that is robust with private practices serves to drive competition.

As a result of these concerns, the APTA of MA Executive Board voted to agree to send a letter to the Health Policy Commission on behalf of the Mass Chapter of the APTA.    We commit to the members of the Chapter that we will continue to monitor this situation, keep you abreast of any proposed changes and provide you opportunities to speak out.

 

Sincerely,

Heather Jennings PT, DPT

Board Certified Neurological Clinical Specialist

APTAMA President

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Recap of 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016  by hgleason

Hello APTA of MA,

This past Tuesday’s Board of Directors Meeting marked the transition to your 2017 Board of Directors and new leadership.  As 2016 comes to a close, it seems appropriate to reflect on the accomplishments of the Chapter over the past year.

APTA of MA was named one of APTA’s 2016 Innovative Chapter Awards during the June Component Leadership meetings.  This award recognized the chapters efforts to enhance member engagement by implementing an onboarding campaign for new members, capitalizing on the strength of it’s NINE Special Interest Groups, hosting the First “#MovementMatters” exhibit to highlight the PT scope of practice at it’s PT Day on Beacon Hill and hosting a forward-thinking Salon during it’s Annual Conference.

 

 

As noted above, the Massachusetts Chapter now has NINE special interest groups after the Board of Directors unanimously voted to approve the formation of a Physical Therapist Assistant SIG.  Under the leadership of Colleen Donovan PTA, this SIG has already been very active with plans to continue this momentum in 2017.  I am thrilled to report that PTA involvement has also improved as Aaron Canoni, PTA represented the Chapter at the 2016 National PTA Caucus and several PTA assembly representative vacancies were filled.

 

 

Your representatives to the House of Delegates collaborated on motions for APTA to address issues surrounding student debt and advocate for state laws to allow us to order relevant imaging.  The Massachusetts motion to preserve the historical photos and begin to form a virtual museum in honor of APTA’s 100 year anniversary in three years passed.  They also got to have a little fun welcoming the House to Boston next year!

 

 

Collaboration among Special Interest Groups and Districts increased and you can expect to see more co-hosted programming in all areas of the state in the year to come. The Western District proposed a motion to increase the use of technology to improve membership access to educational sessions. The board has begun action on this initiative and will work throughout the year to break down barriers to accessing educational presentations.  

 The Chapter also worked to strengthen collaboration with CT, RI and NH as the president’s met in June and followed up with a Combined States Leadership Retreat over the summer. This retreat addressed issues related to advocacy, leadership, education and membership that all the chapters share. A key highlight of this event was connecting directly with APTA’s new CEO Justin Moore and talking about the updates from National regarding #ChoosePT. 

Our annual education conference in November boasted our most successful conference in years. 350 PTs, PTAs, and students met in Norwood for a full day of networking, diverse educationalprogramming, updates from national on professional issues by APTA President Sharon Dunn, Keynote presentation by Cynthia Zadai on the Human Movement System, first of it’s kind cocktail hour and “around the horn” discussion and more.

Community involvement increased thanks to Lindsey Jester, Chapter Secretary, and others developing resources and volunteer opportunities in collaboration with National PT Day of Service.  Additionally, the Pediatric SIG was involved in health screens at a Special Olympics event and the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary SIG continued their involvement with the Boston Heart Walk.

 As I prepare to head into 2017 with your fellow chapter leaders, I wish to express my most sincere appreciation for the outgoing board of directors and chapter leaders. Most of all, thank you to our outgoing Chapter President Mary Zupkus for your inspirational leadership these past three years.

 

Sincerely,

Heather Jennings PT, DPT

Board Certified Neurologic Specialist

APTA of MA President

 

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to all. See you in 2017!

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The Journey Begins!

Saturday, February 1, 2014  by mzupkus

Last weekend I experienced the joy and excitement of being at the starting line of a great adventure.  The event was the 2014 Leadership Retreat, the launch for my three year term as President of the APTAMA.  Forty present, past, and future leaders of the APTAMA gathered at the beautiful Warren Conference Center in Ashland, Ma for a day and one half of thought provoking discussion and training.  In my first few blog posts, I would like to share with the some of my observations coming out of this weekend.  I encourage you to comment and share with friends in our profession.

 

Friday evening was dedicated to the important task of increasing engagement in legislative advocacy. The Chapter has three bills before the legislature presently and it will require a considerable effort on our part to advance these bills. For some, especially our legislative committee headed by Kathy Shillue and PAC chair, Judy Hershberg, the culture of Beacon Hill is a familiar one, but for many it is a mystifying process. 

 

Tedi Osias, a lobbyist for Montgomery County, Maryland, and our own Jim Leahy, Executive Director and an experienced lobbyist, adroitly moved us through the process and outlined the key points for a successful advocacy effort.  The process itself can be an obstacle to participation but for many it is the fear and trepidation of engaging with one’s legislator that creates the biggest barrier to action. To that end, we were grateful to Senator Karen Spilka, a friend of the APTAMA and the state senator for the local district, for taking time out of her personal schedule to meet with us. The Senator and her husband, Joel Loitherstein, arrived following dinner at a local restaurant where she happened to get into a discussion with the pub’s patrons about a local matter. She explained that as a public servant you are always interested in the needs and perspectives of your constituents. She encouraged us to get involved in our communities, where we can have a significant impact. Speaking for her colleagues on Beacon Hill, she stressed that all legislators are open to hearing the unique perspectives of groups such as ours in order to learn more about issues and their impact on our patients/consumers/citizens. She reprised a theme that both Tedi and Jim had made earlier in the evening, that legislators are people too! And with that Joel, the Senator’s husband, inquired if I was married to a long time environmental colleague, John Zupkus.  As if the point required more emphasis, the Senator and I had more in common as wives, whose husbands have dedicated their careers to improving the environment.

 

We concluded the evening with a renewed since of purpose and commitment to organizing the Chapter’s outreach for March-a month-long campaign dedicated to our legislative advocacy efforts. 

 

More to come soon, but it is time for me to head out to CSM in Las Vegas.  If you are attending, please feel free to say hello and let me know what you think about our new President’s Blog.

 Moving Forward Together!

Mary

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Happy Physical Therapy Month!!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013  by jim

October is not only Physical Therapy Month, but is one of our MA Chapter’s busiest times of the year!!  I hope that you have been looking at your new website and have found many of the October activities at http://www.aptaofma.org/ChapterEvents.  You will find that the Finance Committee is meeting on 10.8 to plan the budget for 2014 and to discuss a large pledge to the Foundation for Physical Therapy and supporting other Chapter initiatives.  The next day our Board of Directors will be meeting to prepare for our Annual Meeting and Fall Assembly and to work through a robust agenda.  During the weekend of 10.11, I will be traveling to Burlington, VT with our Chief Delegate Linda Arslanian to participate in the Northeast Caucus.  This is a gathering of the president and chief delegate from all of the northeast chapters from Maryland to Maine to start preparing for the 2014 House of Delegates.  On 10.16 the Payment Policy Committee will be meeting to discuss developing pilot projects with local insurers and employers.  On Saturday, 10.19 we will be having our Annual Meeting at the Newton Marriott.  Please check out the excellent programming and vendor exhibits and take the opportunity to network with your colleagues… you even get a “free” lunch!!  And if that were not enough, our governing body, the MA Assembly, will meet on Wednesday, Oct 23rd to discuss a 3-year pledge to the Foundation for Physical Therapy and to consider several important bylaw changes regarding membership categories and dues reduction for new professionals.   As you can see, we are making the best of PT Month!

There are many other activities that many of our members are participating.  Many clinical and academic educators will be heading to Portland this weekend for the annual Education Leadership Conference while many students will be heading to Louisville Kentucky for the National Student Conclave.  Our members in the Western District will be having their Fall Conference and the Board will be having a “photo op” with Governor Patrick to receive the State’s Proclamation that October is Physical Therapy Month in Massachusetts!

So…I hope you take advantage of all of our PT Month opportunities and I hope you celebrate PT Month with your patients, friends and colleagues!!  October is a great month to be a PT, a PTA or a student, so celebrate it for all thirty-one days… Again, Happy PT Month!

Until next time…Enjoy our profession!

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