Fall colors have set the trees ablaze and local coffee shops are running low on pumpkin spice, which can only mean one thing: it’s October! Better yet, it's National Physical Therapy Month. We’d like to take a moment to celebrate all of the incredible PTs who have been working hard all year long. So pull up a chair, kick up your feet, and get cozy—because this one’s for you.
You’ve shown remarkable resiliency during the pandemic.
As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches on, you have shown amazing strength and perseverance in continuing on in your practices. You’ve lived up to your reputation of being scrappy, resourceful, and adaptable by diversifying your revenue streams, reworking clinic operations, and revamping your business strategy.
Physical therapy is all about hands-on care, so naturally, it’s been a challenge to look after patients who didn’t feel comfortable coming into the office. But some of you have embraced hybrid business models to accommodate both in-person and online patients. Your efforts are well worth it, since patients report high satisfaction with telehealth PT—and it even gives you a window into their surroundings to provide individualized guidance.
In addition to providing top-notch care for your patients, you’ve also been working hard to fight burnout. Trying to find balance while adjusting to new work methods and constant changes—all while remembering to take time to care for yourself—is no small task. Take a moment to give yourself credit for everything you’ve overcome. You’ve proven that no matter what challenges may arise, PTs will always find a way to continue doing what they do best—making a difference in people’s lives.
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You’ve had some big legislative wins.
We’ve come a long way, baby. PTs have waited a long time to be recognized as first-line treatment providers. And while there is still more progress to be made, we want to celebrate the wins along the way with you. As clinics fully reopen and patients flock back to in-person visits, we’re still seeing some legislative wins re: telehealth solutions.
Major progress was made on March 23, 2021 when a bipartisan group of legislators reintroduced the Expanded Telehealth Access Act (H.R. 2168) in the US House of Representatives. This bill expands the list of providers eligible to deliver telehealth services beyond the public health emergency, while also granting the Secretary of Health and Human Services the authority to add more healthcare providers to the list in the future. If this bill passes, then PTs (as well as PTAs, OTs, OTAs, SLPs, and audiologists) would be able to provide—and receive payment for—Medicare-covered telehealth services on a permanent basis.
Your advocacy efforts have paid off and five additional states—Ohio, Delaware, Montana, Maryland and Georgia—joined the The Physical Therapy Compact Commission this year. The PT compact is cause for hope and excitement, as its goal is to mitigate the issues of state-issued licensing, which currently puts severe limits on telehealth opportunities in the rehab therapy climate. With 30 states now signed on, we’re optimistic that the PT compact will continue to make a big difference. We know how much value you can bring via telehealth and we’re so proud to see the initial results of your advocacy at work.
You’ve never been needed more.
The PT profession is on the brink of meaningful change—but in order for that to happen, we need to assert our value and make it known to others. During the pandemic, a light has been shone on the necessity of PT services, as more and more long-haul COVID-19 patients are being referred to physical therapy in order to regain strength. And when it comes to supporting population health—and alleviating the economic strain on the US healthcare system,—PTs play a huge role that will only continue to grow. PTs are needed now more than ever and together you are having a major collective impact on the healthcare industry.
While none of us know exactly what the future holds, we know that you won’t let uncertainty get in the way of the amazing work that you do every day. One thing’s for sure: PTs are always up for a challenge. Thank you for everything that you’ve done and are continuing to do—we see you!