Monthly Archives: January 2014

Guest Blog: Olly, Olly, Oxen Free

‘Olly olly oxen free’ is a catch phrase used in children’s games, like Hide and Seek, to indicate that the players in hiding can come out of hiding without penalty, generally because the game is either over, the players need a break, or the rules are changing.

Well, as 2014 roars ahead in reimbursement for PT services, don’t you ever feel like hitting the pause button and claiming ‘olly olly oxen free’?   If we consider all the complexity of payment rules for all the different settings in the practice of physical therapy, it is mind boggling and just when you think you know the situation, it changes again.  Also, have you ever noticed that we are acronym crazy in this alphabet soup world? For instance, to name a few, CMS has promulgated  the MPPR, PQRS, the FLR G-codes, ICD-10, CCI edits, and is waiting on SGR reform?  Whew…..  enough to give anyone a headache.

The good news in all of this is that we continue to grow as a profession – the public continues to hand over copays for our service (although too high as insurances have deemed us specialists) and consumers continue to seek out our services and choose our value over surgery or self treatment.  We know who we are as physical therapists and what we can do to help people in unique ways that no other profession does or can do.  So, when I need to “reset” my perspective away from the minutia of billing and coding cobwebs, my version of ‘olly olly oxen free’ is to reflect on the basics of the art and science of physical therapy and transform that knowledge and skill set into what I can accomplish for my immediate patient in terms of outcomes,  satisfaction, and value in what we do to help others.

What a great time to be a Physical Therapist!

Don Walsh, PT, DPT, OCS

Walsh serves as Vice President of the Physical Therapy Association of Georgia and is the Director of Outpatient Rehab at Northeast Georgia Medical Center.

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A Look Back: A Year in Review and a Glimpse Into 2014

barneyAs we wrap up 2013 and move in to a New Year, we should reflect on the progress and accomplishments achieved in the past twelve months. While the last year seems to have flown by, PTAG has experienced great success for our members on many fronts.

PTAG Fall Conference

The 2013 Annual Conference had exceptional turnout and participation. Along with continuing education courses, members actively participated and learned about issues facing the health care industry and physical therapists’ role in them. Additionally, we were able to recognize the following outstanding members for their significant achievements:

–          Merit Award, Deborah Michael Wendland, PT, DPT, CPed

–          Horizon Award, Ingrid Anderson, PT, DPT, OCS

–          Outstanding Physical Therapist Award, Amie LoCicero, PT, DPT

–          Achievement in Education Award, Niamh Tunney, PT, DPT, MS

–          Legislator of the Year Award, State Representative Sharon Cooper

Awards

PTAG received two distinguished awards from the Public Relations Society of America – Georgia Chapter recognizing some of our projects, programs and campaign initiatives that demonstrated excellence in public relations and education throughout Georgia. First, we were awarded the Outstanding Public Affairs Program award that recognized our organization for our ongoing work to influence public policy in the state. Secondly, we were awarded the Outstanding Reputation & Brand Management Program award that recognized our efforts to enhance and promote the reputation of the physical therapy profession and our members to the general public. Our innovative approach in these areas was recognized through these awards.

Media Successes

Over the past 12 months, 34 of our articles have been published in print and online media outlets covering a variety of topics ranging from our fight against high patient co-pays and our public policy initiatives to advancements in physical therapy treatments and membership success stories. Our efforts secured media coverage in large and small traditional and online publications across the state, including The Atlanta Journal Constitution, Marietta Daily Journal, Gwinnett Daily Post, The Walton Tribune, Savannah Business Journal, WALB.com and many others — resulting in more than 4.2 million media impressions!

Social Media

PTAG has also experienced enormous success with the launch of our refined social media channels this year. Since we launched the PTAG Blog, 5 of our blog posts have generated coverage by other media outlets, including the AJC. We launched Twitter and our nearly daily “tweets” of helpful tips, industry news and member updates has generated 138 “Followers.” What’s more, we refined our Facebook page and increased following to more than 550 “Likes” – an increase of nearly 700% in 2013! Each of our post reaches an average of 300 people!

Membership Growth

We held our first annual membership drive and our membership is now up to approximately 2,100 members, meaning we grew by 16% this year. With these increased membership numbers, we are able to provide more services and more results. Continue to spread the word among your friends and colleagues to join our cause and remember, PTAG is for PTs, PTAs, and PT/PTA students!

Advocacy

We participated in too many events to count in 2013, representing our profession’s interests and striving to increase the consumer access to physical therapy in Georgia.  PTAG had the opportunity to participate in coordination with the APTA at the National Conference of State Legislators this fall, in addition to the “D.C. Fly-In.” We heavily participated in Governor Deal’s Special Advisory Commission on Mandated Health Benefits and the House of Representative’s Professional Licensing Boards Study Committee.

Georgia PT PAC

The PTAG Political Action Committee really ramped up in 2013 with increased donations, more events, and with the goal having a greater impact on public policy that affects our profession. We were able to identify and influence some key issues affecting our profession in Georgia, and take steps towards improving them.  Be on the lookout next year for more opportunities where you can step up to make a difference by making a donation and attending PAC event — some of which could even earn you CEUs! For questions or more details, click here.

This strong momentum built over the past 12 months will only increase as we roll into 2014. Already, we have several new initiatives to look forward to.

Physical Therapy Day at the Capitol on February 25th

Mark your calendars, because February 25th will be our inaugural “PT Day at the Capitol,” where members will participate in a full agenda of activities raising awareness on issues facing our profession. We hope that this will be the first of an annual legislative event.

2014 Legislative Session

The current state of health care change we are experiencing has created substantial uncertainty for our profession and the health care industry as a whole. As the Georgia General Assembly addresses these changes, PTAG will maintain our seat at the table to ensure our collective voices are heard, understood and acted upon.

Members-In-Motion

PTAG launched Members-In-Motion, a dedicated campaign designed to showcase how our member PTs, PTAs, instructors and allies are helping their patients and communities. By nominating a colleague or submitting a story, you can help raise awareness on the vast benefits of our profession. This year we will continue collecting your stories of innovative treatments, patient success stories, and community involvement, and strive to highlight you in the media. Click here to submit your story!

Peer-to-Peer Member Spotlight

Just this month, we launched a new initiative recognizing extraordinary PTs, PTAs, and students from across the state for their accomplishments. Each month, one member will be highlighted on the PTAG website, newsletter and various social media outlets. Take a few moments and nominate someone that you feel goes above and beyond for their patients, community and the PT profession.

Our tremendous progress over the past year has been made possible because of the participation of our strong and dedicated members. 2014 holds a lot of potential, and we are excited to continue moving forward and growing with you!

RM Barney Poole, PT, DPT, ATC
President

Thoughts or comments? Contact PTAG President Barney Poole at president@ptagonline.com