APTA recognizes complex rehab

Thursday, June 23, 2011

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - Industry stakeholders say they may be one step closer to creating a separate benefit for complex rehab.

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) passed a motion June 8 that recognizes the field of complex rehab technology (CRT) and the roles therapists play in fulfilling a patient's mobility needs. 

"That's huge in that it will help define what the PT's role is, which will be meaningful and influential to policymakers and other medical professionals and help influence contemporary physical therapy practice and educational opportunities for therapists," said Laura Cohen, a PT and co-coordinator of The Clinician Task Force. 

While the motion does not explicitly mention creating a separate benefit for complex rehab, stakeholders said it's a step in that direction.

"It will definitely help to make a separate benefit for complex rehab to have an agency or organization outside of DME recognize complex rehab as a specialty," said Jodie Stogner, a PT, ATP/SMS and rehab product specialist-Mississippi at Pride Mobility Products/Quantum Rehab.

Allison Fracchia, PT, ATP/SMS at Jackson, Miss.-based Methodist Rehab Center, sees other benefits in the APTA's motion, including a resolution that "licensed physical therapists should be recognized and appropriately paid for providing clinical services related to complex rehabilitation technology." 

"I think it's great that they see the need for an interdisciplinary approach and also to support appropriate funding," she said.

Ten states co-sponsored the motion, which was introduced by Georgia, and it was passed unanimously, Cohen said.

The APTA's motion comes on the heels of a similar motion passed in April by the American Occupational Therapy Association.