View from the APTA House


"We Hear You!" APTAMA Chief Delegate Laura Gull

Wednesday, September 13, 2017  by paolangeli

Paperwork.  The ever growing stack of paperwork, whether authorizations, evaluations, progress notes, appeals, it all amounts to unpaid hours away from patient care.  So often, the clinician will feel overwhelmed, with complaints falling upon deaf ears.
 
Well, we heard you.

Every June, the American Physical Therapy Association holds its House of Delegates.  The House is the policy making body of the Association. Decisions made here often have long range implications not only for the Association, but for the profession of physical therapy.  Each chapter, section and assembly within the APTA is represented by appointed or elected delegates.  The MA chapter elects 10 delegates, including one chief, and also sends the chapter president as a delegate.

In preparing for the House, your delegation meets regularly, discussing issues facing the profession, and strategizing ways we can address these. Often times, this means creating a motion for the House of Delegates.  Each motion goes through a stringent process of grammatical construction, and data based vetting of intent, cost, and potential unintended consequences.  These motions are then debated and voted on at the House of Delegates in a process similar to the U.S. House of Representatives.

This year, your APTAMA delegation looked to move the APTA to address the ever increasing administrative burden PT’s face.  This has been a hot topic for the American Medical Association’s Professional Satisfaction and Practice Sustainability initiative.  As part of this, they launched an administrative burden study to see where physician time is going.  The MA delegates looked for a way to move APTA toward quantifying this burden, in a potentially collaborative effort, to give physical therapists more time to treat their patients and put the joy back in their practice.  As part of the preparation for this, one of our delegates conducted an informal survey across MA.  One of the most glaring issues we saw was that 50% of respondents considered changing jobs because of this burden. The full results can be found at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/results/SM-KRMMPWKF.

After much preparation, and a fair amount of debate, the House of Delegates passed MA’s motion. It charges the APTA with exploring the administrative burden of providing physical therapist services and describing its impact on patients, the cost of care, and the profession. By June 2019, APTA shall develop and implement a plan to ameliorate the burden.

We are looking forward to seeing where this goes and will be sure to keep a finger on the pulse of the issue.  Despite this victory, the delegation’s work continues.  As we enter the fall, we will be exploring issues facing the profession and assessing how we, as a delegation, can continue to advance our profession through policies of the APTA.  We want to hear your thoughts, your concerns, and evaluate if there is action we can take so you can serve your patients better.  
 

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