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Toni Talks about PT Today

Doesn't the APTA See It?

Published April 9, 2015 4:51 PM by Toni Patt

For the past few weeks, I've been writing about problems facing the physical therapy profession. These include tunnel vision focused on direct access and practice without referral. Another is the public perception of who we are and what we do. Still another is poor membership in the APTA and why most PTs don't see the benefit of being a member.

Based on the comments I've been receiving, I'm clearly not the only one seeing these things. I'm not the only one who feels these are serious problems facing our profession. Usually I receive both positive and negative comments. Lately most comments have supported what I'm writing.

I know from teaching in various parts of the country these problems are nationwide. I see it. Others see it. What I want to know is why the leaders of the APTA don't see it. And if they do, why don't they address it, even if to redirect focus onto their issues.

I've yet to read anything from the APTA addressing these issues. The closest thing talks about rebranding the profession as movement professionals. They might be working on that but I'm not seeing it in mass media. Nor am I hearing it from our leaders.

Why is this not happening? Why aren't these issues important enough to address? Every year the Foundation for Physical Therapy has an auction as a fundraiser. One of the things you can bid on is lunch with the president of the APTA. I wish I could afford to bid on that. I would love to ask these questions. Granted, afterward I might be stripped of my membership and barred from further participation in APTA activities. It would be worth it.

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I agree totally with comments from   frustrated PT from Texas

I have been practicing myself for over 20 years in hospital home care SNFs Opd, private practice, wound care

There is no hope left for any changes  coming in next 30 years of any improvements in a PT,s  salary, growth and respect

I get DPT students for clinical training and often wonder why they are taking over 100k of loans to join a profession that would give them minimal growth and make them work a job of a PT+ secretary + aide  with zero appreciation to make b/ w 65k-90k depending on benefits ...

If these DPT students did law or podiatry program they would at least get decent money/ respect and most of all longevity in profession

With all the extra work therapists do for the salary , they get injured easily(burn out comes soon )

A lot of us are unable to change profession after being in it for long time not because of love of it. But the family circumstances do not permit

Most humans need appreciation/cared for  even if less money in salary

As therapist v get none , v r frustrated , but changing into another profession is not v easy ... A lot of factors like health , ability to juggle school with family commitments especially for women makes them think multiple times before they invest their monetary savings into a new  career

For me APTA is just making my life difficult .. The new CPI for students has 18 points and to do it accurately with full commitment takes me 2.5 hours .. Even if I try to shorten it still takes close to 2 hours ... For what .. No money for tea work ... In my time CPI was not that detailed ...

I cannot understand why APTA can make shorter CPI .. They know re imbursenmnets are less and therapists work a lot harder , then why they keep adding more requirements for licensing

If they help with improvements in. Our status and salary then these rules can can be respected otherwise it feels like u are a victim of home abuse ...

Deb Smith May 29, 2015 9:46 PM

I have been working for 20 some years and I have seen alot of negative changes. We used to treat the whole patient, now we treat them in sections. Ultimately, patients may have to pay out of pocket for good PT. There is alot of frustration and sadness at the loss of a good profession to paperwork.

Princesita, PT April 20, 2015 4:56 PM
Mission TX

I have been a PTA in varied settings for 20 years and I am also frustrated with evidence base treatments and allowable minutes. What ever happened to treating the individual patient ? Not just the 30 second chair rise and stand tolerance?

susan, , pta LTC April 17, 2015 6:44 PM
vineland NJ

I agree with both writers above. I have worked 40 years as a PTA in various areas of the pt continuum and the regulations are stealing the joy of this profession. We have patients with $50 or higher co pays who want to come once a week and supervisors who are worried about our benchmarks, consolidating our schedules and going home early using our vacation time to make a full schedule or sending us to other facilities putting wear and tear on my car. One more year....

Darlene, Out pt - PTA, Hospital April 16, 2015 6:38 PM
Glens Falls NY

So after 20 years in this profession and giving it my all to my patients, I am officially calling it QUITS due to burn-out! I am so sick and tired of it all because I feel we are overworked, underpaid, under appreciated, and for a multitude of other reasons, think we do not get enough respect as a profession from other key players in the game (physicians, insurance companies, politicians, and yes, the general public too)!. With decreasing reimbursements, increased demand on advancing our education but with no corresponding increase in pay or salary, increased pressure to treat more in less time, using only the latest evidenced-based treatments, and still try to miraculously get more results (sometimes treating 2-3 body parts or conditions in the same session for a single measly rate that pays less than a local massage therapist can get), document better, etc. All that would still be somewhat bearable, but the final straw is no matter how detailed we try to be about billing and documenting, I still receive things in my email inbox or across the internet DAILY full of unrelenting threats about the OIG and Medicare fraud/abuse and other insurance auditors coming after us. You can try to do the right thing all you want, but who out there isn't worried that somehow, if anyone wants to dig hard enough, they'll be able to find some sort of fault out there in the way we documented or whether we've been able to successfully justify on paper the medical necessity for care? The stress and headache of it all JUST ISN"T WORTH IT ANYMORE! Yes, the rest of you noble folks can stay in the profession and live a worthy live doing worthy work to help others, and I applaud you all for it, but for me, I can still try to fill the same mission in life doing other things that pays more, appreciates me more, with less threats and haggles from the insurance companies and government agencies, etc. so that I can actually sleep better at night without worrying if I've dotted my I's and crossed all my T's with every single treatment I rendered that day. BLESS all you out there who don't mind it, but for me, it's a no-brainer. I'm done! It's a damn shame that the APTA doesn't see or recognize this, or if they do, don't seem to care enough or just simply doesn't have enough power to change anything in Congress. It's a losing battle, and I'm getting out while I'm still healthy and young enough to pursue my goals in a path of lesser resistance. IT's JUST NOT WORTH IT ANYMORE!!!!!!!!!!!

Frustrated PT April 16, 2015 2:11 PM

Oh my gosh, Toni, I so agree with your frustration! I have been a practicing PT for 30 years and am still working in this crazy time of the Affordable Care Act.  The issue is so not about direct access or whether we call ourselves PT's or "movement professions".  It is about the rising stress to treat patients in less time for less money and still have incredible outcomes. It is about becoming more than Doctors of Physical Therapy, but rather nurses, social workers, dietitians, occupational therapists, and CNAs because of the severe Medicare and Medicaid with limited funds to pay the other disciplines and still keep an agency financially viable. I am a member of the APTA out of loyalty to the profession, but feel the Organization has not idea what the reality is out there for clinical practitioners. If they really want to help the profession, fight for Medicaid to cover therapy in the home! Fight for better reimbursement in Home Health! Fight for therapists to actually have a say in how long a patient needs therapy!

Cynthia, Home Health - Rehab Supervisor April 10, 2015 2:39 PM

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