President's Message

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The Future's So Bright....

Monday, June 25, 2018  by paolangeli

The Future's So Bright.....

The sun is shining and so is our leadership!  What most may not realize is that all morning, candidates for national APTA election have been participating in interviews with members of the APTA House of Delegates.  This is the final scene in their year long candidacies as they head into the final day of the election process. Tonight, we will have newly-elected members of our APTA Board of Directors and Nominating Committee.

The 400 delegates elected to represent the voices of the PTs, PTAs and students in our home states have some tough decisions to make today. As I sit in break between interviews, I feel compelled to share some of the words of our association leaders as they addressed us.

“Get back to what drew us all into the profession, meet a patient where they are to help them have the life they invision.” - Sharon Dunn, President, candidate for re-election

“The greatest threat to our profession- the concern of unwarranted practice variation. Joe has knee pain...The therapist is compassionate and caring but the therapy didn’t work because the therapist didn’t have the skill that joe needed to get better. It’s not that physical therapy didn’t work.  Now Joe is not an advocate for PT.” -Bob Rowe, candidate for Director

“We change the world.” -Susan Appling, candidate for Director

“Novel idea is the 1:1 conversation. The agenda is there is no agenda.  I’d like to get to know what drives you more. Listen more than you speak.” -Derek Fenwick, candidate for Nominating Committee

“The bottom line is without APTA, we wouldn’t be able to do our job and care for our patients in the way we want.” -Cindy Armstrong, candidate for Director

“Our profession is only as strong as the members who make it up.” -Sharon Dunn, President, candidate for re-election

There are so many levels of leadership within APTA.  Interested in getting involved? Contact us; (this is not intended to be an endorsement of specific candidates) top Top > Comments   (0 comments)

The Importance of Relationships

Friday, June 1, 2018  by paolangeli

Relationships.  This word seems stuck in the forefront of my thoughts this month.  I had the opportunity to meet up with a member new to Massachusetts recently and exchange ideas.  The conversation spanned practice, payment, movement, lifelong learning and more. After traveling for the first three years of his career, he is looking for where to settle down and asked ‘is it worth getting involved now’ if he may not end up calling Massachusetts home.

YES. Without hesitation, YES.

All year, we have discussed the importance of building relationships among Chapter leadership.  The theme started at our Leadership retreat and continued to build.  Now we find ourselves coming off the excitement of our most successful ever PT Day on Beacon Hill with over 200 attendees, a PT scope of practice fair and over 100 legislative meetings.  An emphasis of this event is building relationships with legislators. Allowing them to come to know us, as physical therapists but also as people. As people who support our community.  As constituents advocating for movement and health.

What we haven’t talked much about are the relationships that you build by being engaged in APTAMA. I have acquired more mentors than I could have imagined.  I have a person to call for questions on payment, someone else for questions on practice, someone else for advice on professional decisions.  I have become involved in various new projects and opportunities including community involvement projects and national presentations.  I have developed friendships that span the state and also the nation.

 The question of ‘is it worth getting involved now’ sparked my reflection on these relationships I have built from being involved.   APTA has a long list of benefits.  A quick visit to the member benefits page shows:

  • Clinical benefits like the rehab reference center and PTNow
  • Financial resources like student loan refinancing and the Financial solutions education center.
  • Payment Resources
  • Advocacy for our profession
  • And Discounts and value programs

Also laying within the benefits are career development and networking.  This is where I have found the greatest value in membership.  I have certainly utilized the other benefits frequently but once you become a part of APTA by engaging in a district social event, special interest group program, advocacy event or state or national conference it becomes a toxic positive energy to be part of the best parts of our profession. To surround yourself with others who offer different experiences, knowledge and passion which will fuel your own growth and who will become lasting friendships.

Thank you to all the friends I have gained. For your friendship. For your council. For your excellence that pushes me to strive to meet it. For your commitment to our profession. For your passion for the health of our communities and society.

To all the future friends I have yet to make. Thank you for the new ideas you will share with me that push me to become my best self. top Top > Comments   (0 comments)

My Leadership Philosophy

Monday, February 26, 2018  by paolangeli

My Leadership Philosophy

I have developed this philosophy to share my values and beliefs. I will strive to live and work according to these principles. I share it with you so you will the know core of my actions, and so you can let me know when I am falling short of these goals.

My goal is to have an engaged APTAMA membership.  Having an engaged membership will happen through continued growth of the leadership team to create more opportunities for engaging people in areas related to their passions and interests; to build structure where the work of many propels the association forward in quantum leaps; to inspire PTs, PTAs and students to transform society through optimizing movement and as such to see themselves as key influencers of health and wellness in the community.

Included here are a few more general thoughts about my approach to leadership:

  • I am genuinely invested in seeing you grow & succeed.  
  • I am driven by building relationships.  The people around me fuel my energy. I will share that energy back to you.
  • I will contribute value to the team’s goals.  I will operate under the guide that we are working towards the same mission and vision.  I will uphold my role in executing the work associated with it, and expect that you will do the same.
  • I will ask for input from others and maintain and open mind to seeing all sides of the situation.  If I forget to ask, I am still open to you giving input anyways.
  • I will always seek to grow my knowledge and skills.  I will also be available to support your learning and growth.
  • I will communicate clearly in the way that meets your needs.  I will speak honestly and openly.  Do the same with me. We can only move forward if we understand each other fully.

My hot buttons that tend to cause conflict in a relationship with me are the following:

  • Only doing the right thing when someone is watching.  Your team is always counting on you. Be accountable to yourself and others will value you highly.
  • Saying you will do something and then not following through.  If you are struggling with the skills or timeline necessary, ask for help without delay.
  • Being disrespectful of other’s time.  Every person’s time is valuable, be it for time with family, work, hobbies or alone.   

-Heather Jennings PT, DPT, APTA MA President top Top > Comments   (0 comments)

New Year! New Leaders! New Goals!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017  by paolangeli

Hard to believe that it has been a year since stepping into this role.

Here are just a few highlights from 2017:

  • Welcomed 50% new leaders to our 2017 Leadership Retreat
  • Refreshed the APTAMA mission to better align with Chapter goals.
  • Spring Assembly unanimously passed a motion to adopt support of APTA Vision
  • Develop and implement a strategic plan with Membership and Advocacy goals.
  • Over 200 PTs, PTAs and students converged on Beacon Hill for #PTDayontheHill
  • Hosted #MovementMatters Scope of PT practice fair at the MA state house to highlight the wide breadth of the value of PT
  • MA Delegation submitted and passed two motions at the APTA House of Delegates related to the PT role in setting disability status and ameliorating the administrative burden
  • National Recognition for consumer portal which allowed the launch of the #ChoosePT campaign, and idea born out of MA.
  • #Bold in collaborations with local states and national to advance our mission.
  • Connecting over 300 PTs, PTAs and students at APTAMA Annual Conference
  • Building relationships with Massachusetts Governors Office

Last week the APTAMA Board held it’s final board meeting of 2017. We welcomed new Board members: Maegan Brady Secretary, Maureen Bass Southern Metro District Chief Assembly Representative, Aimee Perron Southeastern District Chief Assembly Representative,  and Matt Penney  Private Practice Special interest group Chair.

We hit on a few big topics.

 Better payment for physical therapy services in Massachusetts.

APTAMA is actively interviewing firms to represent us and support our agenda to improve direct access and payment for physical therapy services in Massachusetts. The great news here is the time is right!  We have two passionate leaders taking on the role of Co-Chair of the Public Policy Committee, Kevin Flaherty and James Casady.  With a group of about 20 they are breaking out into targeted work groups to address issues in care of the pediatric population, protection of dry needling, scope of practice protection, private and public insurance issues, direct access and more.  Most exciting is that government is primed for us to provide solutions. The legislature seeking strategies for health care cost containment we have a huge opportunity to show value in quality at low cost.

Standardized Practice is a growing hot topic nationally.  How do we push for PT as solution to national health crisis like pain management when wide practice variability still exists? How to we create a PT experience where consumers get the same high value care at every clinic and with every provider?

APTA is taking positive steps to support this through resources such as PTNow, Clinical Practice Guidelines and more.  APTAMA districts and committed leaders will be exploring opportunities on the state level to spread best practice.  Have an idea? Contact us to get involved? Save the date and join us at APTAMA Assembly of Representatives to take action! Wednesday, May 23rd Brandeis University, Gossman Athletic Center 415 South St, Waltham, MA

Want to join this team? Join us Saturday February 3rd for our Annual Leadership Retreat, MCPHS Worcester MA. top Top > Comments   (0 comments)

Be Your Best Self

Tuesday, September 26, 2017  by paolangeli

This past month has been quite busy including a meeting with Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA, APTA’s State Payment and Policy Forum, a legislative hearing on consumer choice and gearing up for our APTAMA Annual Conference but I’m going to take a moment to talk about a bigger issue…..

In college I worked as a server at a prominent Boston restaurant.  There was an intensive hiring process complete with multiple interview days, a personality test and days of training complete with written and performance exams.  The goal of this process was to ensure employees had the professionalism, knowledge and teamwork commitment to make the operation flow seamlessly.  Seems intense for what was a college waitressing gig right?

BUT the culture that the employer created was remarkable.  The staff seamlessly provided service for the full restaurant. In the model they created, every server and staff was responsible for every guest.  If you passed a newly sat table it was your responsibility to greet them and initiate drink orders within 30 seconds, or as you walked through the dinning room, you were responsible for clearing any table you passed that had finished dishes.  Everyone helped everyone.  The system, if well executed, is flawless and service delivery impeccable.  BUT if one server became selfish-minded, tunnel-focused, it could fall apart quickly.  Guests could be left waiting, requests missed, and customer-service suffered.

I share this because shortly after leaving a meeting with Blue Cross Blue Shield of MA to improve collaborative relationships and gain clarity on their updated time-based payment policy, I learned that a private PT network had participated in a similar meeting just the week before.  I thought of how disjointed this makes our profession appear and how much stronger our voice would have been to attend the meeting together as a collective voice.

This got me thinking about all the other ways that we fail to work as a team in our profession.  Mary Zupkus, past president, emphasized our identity as PTs first and by our setting second.  We are all PTs and PTAs.  For that restaurant guest who happened to come during a time when our system fell apart, their experience suffered.  They probably left with a negative view of our restaurant and decided never to come again. They also probably shared that negative experience and view with their friends and family who will also now never experience what could have been an impeccable customer service experience.

This is the same challenge we face with variance in practice, failure to standardize care, lack of adherence to clinical practice guidelines….

 When a patient in one clinic is receiving a completely different intervention than a patient in the next clinic over for the same condition, THAT IS A PROBLEM.  When insurance companies judge us based on utilization in number of visits and their data shows that PT visits for an episode of care vary from 4 to 209 visits, THAT IS A PROBLEM.  When we cannot provide the data to show that we provide quality and outcomes, THAT IS A PROBLEM. When we have clinics that routinely improperly use aides for delivery of services, overbooking patients and eliminating personalized care and treatment, THAT IS A PROBLEM. When we do not follow evidence-based established clinical guidelines because “our experience” tells us we know better, THAT IS A PROBLEM.  When we are the first non-physicians group to establish recommendations for the Choose Wisely campaign, and then don’t follow the recommendations in practice, THAT IS A PROBLEM.

We HAVE to stop bad practice now! The storm is already here folks. 

To establish ourselves as respected professionals with proven value in the health space we have to be proactive.  Start with standardizing practice in your setting.  Connect with upstream and downstream providers. Utilize evidence based outcome measures to capture change, not just for the single patient but also for the population. Enroll in data collection programs like the APTA outcomes registry.  Use this data to critically evaluate your practice and compare yourself to benchmarks. Join tasks forces, committees, and research working towards advocacy for physical therapy practice. 

APTA of MA leadership is continuously striving to work better.  To harshly criticize areas were we could have acted in a more powerful way, collaborated differently, advocated more effectively.  You as members are APTA of MA. You are representative of physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and students who are the most engaged in your profession, most committed to excellence, the most committed to the TEAM of physical therapy.   I challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone and walk the walk of being the best example of what physical therapy is AND impacting your employers, your peers, your patients to collaborate with you in setting the new bar.

I hope to hear your comments on how you are going to get started!


Heather Jennings PT, DPT

Board-Certified Specialist in Neurologic Physical Therapy

APTAMA President


Twitter: @heathjenningsPT

Instagram: hrgjennings

Facebook: Heather RG Jennings top Top > Comments   (0 comments)

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