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ATP survey paints gray picture

ATP survey paints gray picture ‘There are not a lot of ATPs below that 42 age group’

PITTSBURGH - Complex rehab stakeholders need to recruit more ATPs—stat.

Nearly 25% of the current pool of ATPs could be retired in five years, according to the results of a recent survey conducted by the University of Pittsburgh and NCART.

“Retirement does affect the ability to sustain an industry,” said Joy Nix, ATP, CIFT, MS, who created, analyzed and presented the results of the survey, which drew from 236 responses.

A healthy pool of ATPs is so important because Medicare and other payers require providers to have an ATP on staff to bill for complex rehab, a requirement that can easily affect access.

The survey shows that the average age of an ATP is nearly 52, significantly higher than the average age for other occupations nationwide (42.2). The average age of an OT and PT are 40.9 and 40.4, respectively.

“There are not a lot of ATPs below that 42 age group,” Nix said.

Equally striking: The survey shows there's no real influx of ATPs predicted, either, with only 3.4 respondents per year, on average, taking the test.

“More ATPs are needed, we know that for sure,” Nix said. “Per year, there's a 4.8% demand, 3.4% retiring and only 1.8% incoming.”

The survey also shows that ATPs are predominantly male (79.1% vs. 20.9% women) and white (92.5%), and most likely to have a bachelor's degree (34.6%).

Beyond demographics, the study shows that the majority of ATPs receive a salary and commission (60.1%), with 34.3% receiving only a salary and 5.6% receiving only a commission.

The survey opens a Pandora's box of new questions, mainly: Who needs to take responsibility to recruit ATPs into the profession? The government? The industry? Educational institutions?

“Speaking from personal experience, two years ago, I didn't know what an ATP was or that it even existed,” Nix said. “I was recruited into the program at UPitt by Rory Cooper.”

Nix's presentation of the survey results is available for CEU credits here.


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