House of Delegates 2018: Sexual Harassment, Burnout, & Essential Health Benefits

Any motions mentioned in this article are not final until the House minutes are approved. All motions are subject to change until that time. Please note that Talus Media is not an official spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association, and this report is written to the best of our knowledge, from live reporting in the House of Delegates.

Final wording of motions passed will be available once minutes are approved on the House of Delegates Community in the Hub.


The APTA’s House of Delegates (HOD) convened for the final day of deliberations Wednesday, June 27, 2018. Here’s the rundown of the day:


Motions Passed


Motion RC 24-18: Amend: Sexual Harassment

Delegates voted unanimously on language to promote safe work environments that do not condone sexual harassment, as well as reporting based on victim preferences. The debate on wording was intense, as delegates worked to reach consensus on language that accurately captured the intent of the motion makers.


Motion RC 40-18: Adopt: Best Practices in Mentoring

The House adopted policy to guide best practices in mentoring in the physical therapy profession, including a list of ideal practices. Mentorship is identified as a “catalyst for career success.”  The motion, which faced intense debate over wording (including a proposed synonym “inter-alia”), needed a day to simmer before delegates agreed on wording. The final version includes guiding principles such as actively promoting the code of ethics to colleagues, instilling accountability for APTA’s positions, standards, policies, guidelines, and procedures, and seeking training and education to further mentoring skill.


Motion RC 39-18: Adopt: APTA Support Statement of Essential Health Benefits

Delegates voted to adopt policy supporting the inclusion of essential health benefits (EHBs) in all health plans, including for those with pre-existing conditions. Given the recent approval of association health plans for small businesses, this policy comes at an opportune moment–the policy will allow the APTA to take positions on national issues related to EHBs. 


Motion RC 48-18: Charge: Clinician Well-Being

The HOD charged the Board of Directors to develop an action plan to support clinician well-being; according to the motion makers, this could include education, links to external resources, and support for ongoing efforts to mitigate student debt and administrative burden. This charge is the first of its kind; other professions, including physicians and nurses, have a grasp of how burnout affects their professions and patients, but physical therapy has yet to pursue this agenda. (You can check out Rachel Jermann’s editorial on burnout here.)


Motion RC 57-18: Charge: Plan to Reframe the Description of Physical Therapist Care Delivery

Delegates voted to charge the Board of Directors to revise policy including the phrase “episode of care” to more accurately reflect physical therapy practice that may not be bound by a start and end date, but instead is ongoing across a lifetime or for long-term. Because “episode of care” is currently tied to payment, the intent is not to strike the phrase, but rather to bring documents up to date to reflect more contemporary PT-patient relationships that may not be tied to one episode.


Motions Failed:

RC 45-18: Charge: Exploration of Barriers to Clinical Research By Physical Therapist Practitioners

Under this charge, the APTA Board of Directors would have conducted a review of physical therapist barriers to research. Per the Board of Directors, this work is already ongoing, or even completed in some cases. The APTA currently partners with the Section on Research to bring members opportunities for research grants, opportunities, and more.


RC 49-18: Charge: Advanced Practice in Physical Therapy

Under this charge, the Board would have been obligated to review and assess the how to create or promote advanced practice tiers. At this time, the consensus seemed to be that this work is already being done, and the motion was not necessary.


The House of Delegates Honors Outgoing VP Lisa Saladin, PT, DPT, FAPTA

The House finished with swearing in of new officers, and tributes to those leaving the Board, including Dr. Lisa Saladin, PT, PhD, FAPTA. Dr. Saladin, previous Vice President of the American Physical Therapy Association Board of Directors, was honored for her years of service.


You can check out the #APTAHOD hashtag on Twitter, and don’t forget to watch our Facebook live videos to catch up on the House of Delegates.