PTA Vote, Anti-Racism, and Ethical Concerns Top House of Delegates Actions

A couple of months ago I had no idea I would be filling in as Chief Delegate for Hawaii to the 2021 House of Delegates (HOD). I planned on being in Washington, DC for the Centennial and awards festivities. Since the HOD was the same weekend, I offered to help. When Jeremy Angaran was unable to travel, he asked me to fill in and I was happy to do so.

This year there were only 13 motions on the agenda but don’t think it was a quick meeting. There was a major updating of the bylaws with several related amendments. Most of the changes were noncontroversial. One noteworthy change was two PTAs will now be seated as voting delegates. It has been 23 years since PTAs had a vote in the HOD and hopefully now the issue is resolved.

The HOD also adopted a position of APTA being an anti-racist organization. As Hawaii is unique in terms of our history, diversity, and location we do not have some of the same issues that have been dominant on the mainland. I supported the adopted language, but I would have liked to have seen more positive and inclusive language that reflects the many facets of racism and discrimination.

There were several bylaw amendments looking to restructure the Ethics and Judicial Committee (EJC). Ultimately no changes were made as the EJC reported they had heard and understood the concerns that were prompting the motions to restructure and promised to institute their own reforms. Much of the concern centered around the desire for the EJC to take a more proactive role in addressing ethical issues and educating members. Many medical/professional societies utilize their ethics groups to develop educational materials and proactively develop guidance on new and emerging ethical challenges. Any scan of a physical therapy group discussion on social media will quickly illustrate the profession is faced with a number of ethical issues. We shall see if the EJC’s reforms are effective in addressing the concerns raised in the motions. If not, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more action by the HOD in future years.

Also adopted was a motion addressing productivity in PT practice. It’s not hard to see the parallels with the EJC motions. Unreasonable productivity standards impact ethics, standards of practice, quality of care and burnout. While the position does not mandate action it should give greater attention to this issue.

One other motion adopted was to look at specialization in PT. It has been about 30 years since specialization started and this is the first time APTA is taking a big picture look at the value of specialization, processes of becoming and maintaining specialization, costs, and the needs of society. It will be interesting to read the report and I wouldn’t be surprised to see changes in the future.

Last, but certainly not least, I want to mention my Hawaii delegate partner, Genevieve Correa. This year was her first as delegate and she did an outstanding job. She navigated the complex rules of order, understood the issues, and brought her own perspective to bear on the issues. It was a pleasure to serve with her and she did Hawaii proud.

Douglas M. White, PT, DPT, RMSK
APTA Hawaii Chief Delegate

 

 


Posted on October 5, 2021 by Chapter Staff
Originally Published in APTA Hawaii’s Monthly e-Newsletter – October 2021

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