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A Brief Report from the 2018 APTA Federal Advocacy Forum

Posted on: June 4th, 2018 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

2018 APTA Federal Advocacy ForumApril 29-May 1 2018 _ Washington, D.C.

Section on Women’s Health members, rising leaders, and current leadership have recently attended the 2018 APTA Federal Advocacy Forum hosted in Washington, D.C. Gail Zitterkopf, SoWH Federal Government Affairs Chair was joined by Section on Women’s Health 2018 FAF scholarship recipients, Cara Morrison, SPT (Student Member)  and Mackenzie Van Loo, PT, DPT (Early-Professional Member) to observe and report back to the Section on the latest developments. The 2018 FAF was also attended by Carrie Pagliano, PT, DPT, OCS, WCS (SoWH President), Tamela Blalock (SoWH Executive Director), and Secili DeStefano, PT DPT OCS.

The 2018 FAF was attended by 270 Physical Therapists (PTs), Physical Therapist Assistants (PTAs), and students (SPTs) from 48 states who converged on Capitol Hill to educate legislators and staff about a range of important issues impacting the profession. Missed out on the 2018 FAF? Check out this blog post on how you can make an impact!


Below are some updates from the forum:

Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act  (S 808):  

This bill has already passed out of the House (H.R. 302), and has been referred to Senate HELP committee.

What We Are Asking For:

  • Cosponsor the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act to extend liability insurance coverage of a state-licensed medical professional to another state when the professional provides medical services to an athlete, athletic team, or team staff member crosses state lines

This Is Your Message:

  • Currently, liability insurance coverage of a state-licensed physical therapist (and other medical professionals) is not required to carry-over when the professional is required to travel across state lines with an athlete, athletic team, or team staff member.
  • This leaves the physical therapist unprotected and without malpractice insurance when required to travel to states that are not their primary practice location.


The Role of PT in Public Health:

This Is Your Message:

  • Improve access to physical therapy services as part of the solution to America’s Opioid epidemic
  • Importance of educating providers and consumers of the role PTs play in reducing barriers through regulatory reform.


The role of PT in Technology and Digital Health:

What We Are Asking For:

  • Cosponsor the CONNECT for Health Act “Telehealth” (HR 2556/S 1016) and Medicare Telehealth Parity Act (HR 2550)

This Is Your Message:

  • Allow PTs to furnish Telehealth services under the Medicare program
  • Provide information on the PT Outcomes Registry and its role as a qualified clinical data registry in value-based health care


PT Workforce and Patient Access Act  (HR 1639/S 619):

What We Are Asking For:

  • Cosponsor the Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act to include physical therapists in the National Health Service Corp’s Loan Repayment Program

This Is Your Message:

  • This legislation matches the goals and mission of the NHSC
  • Can alleviate demand on other primary care providers to increase those serves
  • Provides for greater patient access to rehabilitation (which also could help with Opioid epidemic)
  • No rehab component currently represented in program
  • NHSC is successful pipeline for providers
  • 82% retention rate (PT’s who go to work in these areas, remain in these areas)
  • Helps meet the workforce needs of underserved areas.
  • Demand for PT continues to grow greater than other primary care disciplines
  • This legislation is budget neutral!!


Other Education & Workforce:  Opposed to PROSPER Act (HR 4508) (Reauthorization bill)

This Is Your Message:

  • Discuss the importance of ensuring funding for low-cost student loans, the impact of student debt, and why we are opposed to the PROSPER Act
  • Get rid of the capped aggregate loan amount a student can take out on a federal loan ($28,500/year)

Opposed to the Americans with Disabilities Education and Reform Act (HR 620) as we feel it guts a large portion of the current ADA program.


Lymphedema Treatment Act   (S. 497) (H.R. 930)

Currently, Medicare, and consequently many other policies, do not cover one of the critical components of lymphedema treatment, the medically necessary doctor-prescribed compression supplies used daily in lymphedema treatment. As a result, many patients suffer from recurrent infections, progressive degradation in their condition and eventual disability because they cannot afford the compression supplies required to maintain their condition.

Medicare’s failure to cover compression treatment supplies stems from the fact that these items cannot be classified under any existing benefit category in Medicare statute (law). The Center for Medicare Services (CMS) does not have the authority to add or redefine benefit categories, only Congress does, hence the need for this legislation.

Learn more about Lymphedema Treatment Act.






Talking Points: An Oxford-Style Debate on Dry Needling

Posted on: April 6th, 2017 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

Special thanks to our guest speakers for their willingness to allow this recording for SOWH members and others unable to attend CSM 2017. Note that while no CEUs are available for watching this recording, its content adds to the ongoing discussion around the use of dry needling in physical therapy.

ORDER NOW!Members, FREE; Nonmembers, $40.

Recorded with speaker permission February 18, 2017


Kali Aucoin, PT, DPT 
Mark Milligan, PT, DPT, Cert. TPS, OCS, FFAOMPT 
Scot Morrison, PT, DPT 
Kyle Ridgeway, PT, DPT 
Kenneth Venere, PT, DPT 

Dry needling is arguably the most popular and fastest-growing intervention in physical therapy today. There has been a remarkable increase in continuing education offerings, published research (an eight-fold increase in citations from 2010 to 2015 compared to 2000 to 2005), and legislative battles fighting to protect the right of physical therapists to use dry needling.

This Oxford-style debate addresses the following motion: This house believes PTs should implement dry needling into practice.

Each side was charged with addressing the implementation of dry needling into clinical practice in regards to research, theoretical construct, cost of training, legislative action, and other considerations.

Learning Objectives:

1. Understand and assess the literature base for dry needling.
2. Identify the pros and cons of implementing dry needling into clinical practice.
3. Compare and contrast the arguments for and against implementation of dry needling into clinical practice.
4. Develop an informed stance on dry needling.

No CEUs are awarded for watching this session.






Culture Map Series: An Introduction to Transgender Health and Related PT Service (Part 2)

Posted on: August 10th, 2016 by Aika Barzhaxynova No Comments

Uchenna OssaiBy Uchenna Ossai, PT, DPT, WCS, CLT

In my previous post, I introduced the history and culture of transgender patients. Here, I offer some steps to begin creating an inclusive environment for your transgender patients:

Investigate your implicit bias. Taking an honest and realistic inventory of your personal bias toward members of the LGBTQ community can be profoundly informative, allowing you to recognize the potential impact on your patient’s experience. As extensive research has shown, the implicit bias of medical providers harms the quality of care minority patients receive.

Understand and recognize that gender is a social construct, and sex is a biological status (chromosomes and genitals). Just like sexual orientation, gender identity is on a spectrum and is quite variable. Recognize that gender identity and expression are not the same thing.

Implement an anti-discrimination policy in your department or your private practice that includes sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression.

Have a basic awareness of discrimination laws in your state and/or city. This will help inform you about both the micro-aggressions and macro-aggressions that your patients are up against on a daily basis that can be a barrier to participating in and responding to healthcare interventions and prevention. Check your local ACLU chapter or The National Center for Transgender Equality (

Build a network of providers who have experience working with transgender clients. Lack of physical and emotional safety is a common barrier to accessing healthcare for transgender individuals.  Many patients have had negative experiences with their healthcare providers, which discourages regular healthcare visits.

Formally collect data about sexual orientation and gender identity (recommended by the National Institute of Health and Joint Commissions). Adjust your forms and clinic environment. On your forms, differentiate between “sex” and “gender.”  Under “gender,” include a space for “other” or “gender non-conforming.” Train your front desk staff to ask about preferred name and adjust patient greetings to exclude gender.

Do not accidentally “out” your patients. Be careful how you address this patient population in public and in your documentation. Even if you have forms that are gender-inclusive, your patients may not feel safe enough to answer honestly, and/or they may not be “out” to family, friends, or employer.

Ask. If you are not sure how to address your patient or handle certain situations, simply ask.

Do not assume that your patients are gay or straight. Sexual orientation and gender identity do not necessarily go hand-in-hand.

Do not ignore the underlying anatomy. Continue to do a thorough past medical and surgical history for effective preventative healthcare screening.

  • UC’s Top 5 Transgender Care Resources
  • (1) World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) –
  • (2) National LBGT Health Education Center: A Program of the Fenway Institute –
  • (3) The Center of Excellence for Transgender Health –
  • (4) The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association –
  • (5) National Center for Transgender Equality –

References for Parts 1 and 2

  • Safer, J.D., et al. Barriers to healthcare for transgender individuals. Curr Opin Endocrinol Diabetes Obesity. 23(2): 168-171.
  • Unger, C. Care of the transgender patient: A survey of gynecologists’ current knowledge and practice. J of Women’s Health. 2015. 24(2): 114-118.
  • Makadon H.J.; Mayer, K.M.; Potter, J.; Goldhammer, H., editors. The Fenway guide to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender health. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: ACP Press; 2015.
  • Frost, D.M.; Lehavot, K.; Meyer, I.H. Minority stress and physical health among sexual minority individuals. J Behav Med. 2013. 9523-8.
  • Grant, J.; Mottet, L.A.; Tanis, J., et al. Injustice at every turn: a report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. Washington: National Center for Transgender Equality and National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 2011. Available at
  • Mayer, K.; Garofalo, R.; and Makadon, H.J. Promoting the successful development of sexual and gender minority youths. Am J of Public Health. 2014. 104:976-981.
  • Reisner, S., et al. Comprehensive transgender healthcare: the gender-affirming clinical and public health model of Fenway health. J of Urban Health. 92 (3): 584-92.

Author: Uchenna Ossai is treasurer of the Section on Women’s Health-APTA. She can be reached at [email protected]





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