Posted on March 9, 2016 by Chapter Staff
Originally Published in HAPTA’s e-Newsletter, What’s HAPTAnin’ – March2016

APTA’s Combined Section Meetings, in Anaheim, CA  Feb 17-21st, 2016

At CSM in Anaheim, California, so much happened that I am only able to share certain high points. I think CSM is an event that every PT and PTA must go experience for themselves! Besides being the largest program of specialty education and the largest crowd of PTs and PTAs one could hope to see and meet (11,000 this year), APTA always introduces the latest plans and ideas for advancing the profession.  My take away theme was standardization. Let’s get to that after a quick review of the APTA Vision, the focus on the movement system as our identity and the new APTA Strategic Plan to build it up around us.

APTA Vision: Transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.

One of the guiding principles to achieve the vision is establishing the movement system as the 2016 CSM_Gregg and Marco 2_Editedkey component of physical therapist identity and the physical therapy professionals as those best suited to understand and treat the movement system. There will be an increased focus on the movement system identity in 2016.

APTA’s 2016 Strategic Plan identifies objectives to Transform Society, Transform the Association and Transform the Profession.

– Outcomes of the objectives to Transform Society include: Creating three new PT eval CPT codes, revaluing 10 PT tx codes, establishing a patient outcome instrument or “mobility index” that crosses all settings, increasing public awareness of PT as movement system experts and advancing PT’s role in telehealth.

– Outcomes of the objectives to Transform APTA include: Achieving membership of over 100,000, aggregating large amounts of outcomes data and public awareness to negotiate better payment policy and publishing a minimum data set for EMRs.

– Outcomes of the objectives to Transform the Profession include: Increasing use of clinical practice guidelines for consistent best practices, expanding the PT identity as movement system experts and other educational endeavors.

Standardization was a theme, connecting us in international PT practices, the PT Outcomes Registry, clinical practice guidelines, the Interstate Licensure Compact and interdisciplinary collaboration models. Many aspects of the PT profession are heading toward standardization.

Three new PT Evaluation CPT Codes: After many years of effort, CMS will make the new codes public in July 2016. APTA and HAPTA will provide much information by October 2016 about the new PT evaluation CPT codes that will take effect on 1/1/17!

“Misvalued” PT Treatment Codes:  10 PT codes out of about 100 total codes need RUC surveys and may take into 2017 to determine new values (last survey was 19 years ago). It might not matter if AMA bundles our tx codes.

Strong demand for PT/PTA services: The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts high need for PT and shortages in our workforce. Early career PTs and PTAs are increasingly “millenials” with new approaches and needs. APTA is moving forward with new strengths to engage effectively.

“Nerdy” Technology: Nerdy BFF Beth Ziesenis presented information about free and low cost tech solutions that included some cool and some “creepy” apps. My favorite was Google Translate with 27 languages. You can speak into it or translate images. Others are: Crystal personalizes emails. Zoom provides face to face meetings. Fiverr allows you to hire freelancers to do various tasks for you such as marketing or presentations/videos. Animoto puts your photos into a song and theme video form. and Canva can be used to create infographics. Postagram sends thank you postcards. Lastly, Jing makes screen captures with voice overs.

Utilization Management/Third Party Administrators (UM/TPA)): This has seen a big increase in the last two years. Insurance companies say this is meant to standardize and cut costs, while PT suffers from administrative burden. APTA is developing a UM toolkit available at soon. A UM management feedback form is there now and providers and consumers of PT are encouraged to report issues. Collection of this data allows APTA to speak with evidence and statistics on the problems we all experience.

Alternative Payment Systems / VBR:  such as Acute + next 90 days bundled payment for all services (interdisciplinary) and across the care continuum. There is a need for outcome measures that ask the same questions across various settings (Oasis, IRF PAI). There is a Healthcare Transformation Taskforce, post-acute care / IMPACT program, MACRA/ Medicare Reform, and a MIPS program that all affect our reimbursements and require specific reporting measures. One example is that SNFs will need to report staffing level per resident, per day in minutes. As we transition to value-based payment I believe that the challenge of increased reporting will yield way to reducing administrative barriers to care.

Rehab Research: NIH spent 496 million on rehab research last year. The Foundation for PT presented some great studies in 2015. A call for more research came from the Linda Crane Memorial Lecture for  “The science behind the art of caring in PT.” That was my favorite CSM lecture, as it depicted the importance of science and balanced that with art in the delivery of PT.

Dry Needling: This is a hot topic at the state and federal legislative levels. North Carolina is asking for our support as their chapter is involved in a lawsuit they aim to win and that will set an important precedent for future state laws. Please consider making a donation, as HAPTA is doing, by going to .

Thank you for reading my summary of APTA’s CSM 2016. I am privileged to attend the leadership meetings and hope to share with you some of the expert direction that APTA has for us all. Stay tuned to and our Facebook posts for ongoing representation and promotion of PT in HI.

Gregg Pacilio, PT
HAPTA President