Letter from the President
Thursday, May 14, 2020
I hope all of you are well and beginning to see signs of some degree of normalcy returning from these trying times. We never have experienced a situation like this – history is being made, and we will be remembered by how we survived and thrived during the recovery phase. I know many of you may have had reduced or lost income, our students and educators have had to convert to virtual learning, and many of you have had to change the way you do business to continue to provide care to the patients we serve and move on to the next challenge.
I would like to take the opportunity to share with you my experience as it pertains to this pandemic. I practice in the acute care environment and had the opportunity to work with several patients who were COVID positive over the past few weeks. My story is like many of yours - and we all know that these patients are going to require our care for years to come. I also had to convert the courses I teach to online delivery and was impressed by our students’ adaptability during this change. I can honestly say our future is in good hands.
During the month of July, the FPTA will be developing our Strategic Plan. This plan will not only guide us forward in the aftermath of COVID-19, but should also drive us to remove obstacles to high quality care for providers, patients, and society.
Before looking forward, I would be remiss to not highlight the achievement of many goals in the past 5 years, much of which can be attributed to input from members.– These achievements include:
- Increased Direct Access from 21 to 30 Days
- Codified and protected the titles of PT, DPT – Doctor of Physical Therapy
- Protected CAPTE Education Accreditation for PT and restored it for PTAs
- Added new Medicaid funding for PT therapy
- Added PT as a recognized provider for Risk Management
- Engaged top level communications consultants to elevate the visibility of the profession as essential healthcare providers - Created PTforPain Campaign, patient/provider videos, social media streams, PTs as an alternative to use of pain medications
- Cemented PT as the “go to” healthcare provider for Fall Prevention and Treatment
- Became the prime sponsor of a recognized public affairs Aging patient and advocate program about Fall Prevention that has national documentary potential
- Added PT as a provider of Telehealth (2019)
- Lead the effort to adopt an administrative rule defining & authorizing Dry Needling, defended it, and finally passed legislation authorizing the Board of PT to establish the criteria for physical therapists to practice the technique (2014-2020)
- Passed legislation to modernize the definitions of the practice of physical therapy in the Practice Act (circa 1970-80s): New Definitions – “alleviating impairments, functional movement limitations, and disabilities by designing, implementing, and modifying treatment interventions through therapeutic exercise; functional movement training in self-management and in-home, community, or work integration or reintegration; manual therapy; massage; airway clearance techniques; maintaining and restoring the integumentary system and wound care; physical agent or modality; mechanical or electrotherapeutic modality; patient-related instruction” (2020)
Again, those are just the highlights. We have had many more accomplishments beyond this list and should all be proud of the progress. In fact, over just the past 8 weeks, in response to the COVID-19 Pandemic, we worked with the Executive Office of the Governor, Florida Department of Health, AHCA/Florida Medicaid, Office of Insurance Regulation and Florida Blue to:
- Identify Physical Therapists as essential providers to so we could keep working.
- Adopt PT Telehealth within health plans.
- Authorize PT Telehealth in all Commercial Plans.
During this time period we will:
- Continue to advocate for CMS/Medicare ongoing recognition of PTs as telehealth providers. Our membership has sent over 1,000 letters advocating for this.
- FPTA staff, CPA, and Banking Consultants worked together and acquired federal CARES Act Payroll Protection funds to support FPTA personnel resources.
- The FPTA executive staff secured FPTA headquarters, established remote operations capabilities for staff, and continue to function at a high level without disruption in services.
- Continue providing opportunities for FPTA members to advocate for our profession at the federal and state level. Just this year, you have used our digital platform to send 3,895 emails to state and federal lawmakers in support of PT Practice Act legislation and several COVID relief efforts.
- Continue looking for media opportunities – like The Miami Herald Story – that promote the great work our PTs are doing during this pandemic in particular.
Although we have accomplished much - we are never complacent and want to continue to make things better for our members. My goal, and hope, is to have our almost 7K members actively participate as we plan into the future. As many of you know, a few years ago the FPTA Board was charged to focus on our 5 pillars- Membership, Advocacy, Public Relations, Practice and Leadership. These 5 pillars have directed our goals, and it has served us well. This year we want even more input from the membership.
Each week, beginning the week of May 25, 2020,each of our Pillar Directors will be giving an update on their areas in a zoom broadcast. The link for each week’s broadcast will be sent via e-mail. Every update will be no more than 10 minutes in length. At the conclusion, a very brief survey will be available, which will allow you to send us your feedback and goals for that strategic pillar. All the information received will be compiled and brought to the strategic planning meeting for discussion, prioritization, and development of a plan for implementation. We are predicting many duplicate goals, and that is ok, it just means more members are interested in it making that topic a higher priority. A final report will be sent out to the entire membership once completed.
I want to encourage each of you to participate and give your input. We are a member driven organization and each member should have a chance at the wheel to steer us in the right direction. Please know we are here to serve you, but we need to have your input.
Thank you so much for membership and participation- we are truly better together.
Jamie Dyson, PT, DPT
Florida Physical Therapy Association