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Toni Talks about PT Today

Is the APTA Repackaging an Old Message?

Published July 29, 2015 5:23 PM by Toni Patt

I've spent more time thinking about the "new" APTA. This could be a golden opportunity for the APTA to reinvent itself and address the needs of its current non-members. By asking questions and actually listening to the answers, its membership might grow and it could become a true association of the profession.

Alas, I just don't think so. I expect something along the lines of reshaping the message to fit the needs. Yes, they're going to listen to what we say. They're going to ask what keeps us up at night. Then the old message will be repackaged to appear to address these needs. Call me a cynic.

Vision 2020 has been scrapped. The new vision statement is more vague and ambiguous. There are lots of different interpretations possible. That was deliberate. Even the goals are vaguer. They want to improve society, the association and the profession. Direct access is written into the profession goal and implied in the society one.

I agree patients need easier access to our services but not at the expense of the profession. The Texas Physical Therapy Association didn't listen to what I had to say. I gave them some answers to their burning question about being up at night. What I said didn't fit into their vision of what the answers should be, so I was ignored.

Maybe they thought I didn't know. Let's consider my sources. I write this blog and get regular feedback from readers. I teach a continuing education course that requires me to travel around the country. I get to talk to a variety of other therapists. If this were research, that would be a good sample. I hear the same things everywhere. Yet, apparently this isn't enough to be considered as feedback.

Instead of making significant changes, I think the goal isn't to change the message but to change the form of the message. The message will be phrased to appeal to the masses without a change in substance.

That isn't going to work. We're not stupid. It wouldn't surprise me at all if we're having the same conversation in a year or two. Then the APTA will be wondering why the new message didn't work. It would never occur to them they are focusing on the wrong message and goals.

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