House of Delegates: Person-Centered Care, Residency & Fellowship Standards, Disaster Management, & Eliminating the Improvement Standard.

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.

We encourage you to download Packet I, II, & III here to read the exact language proposed.

You can follow along on the Livestream here.


The American Physical Therapy Association’s House of Delegates deliberated from 9AM to 6:30PM EST Tuesday, June 26, 2018 in Orlando, FL. The docket was full. Here are the standings for the day:


  • The consent calendar was passed, clearing 22 motions from the agenda, leaving the House with 35 motions to deliberate.
  • The House heard 27 motions all together:
    • Two (2) were postponed until Wednesday, June 27, to allow delegates time to perfect language:
    • Two (2) were elections to honorary membership:
      • RC 50-18: James H. Rimmer, PhD
      • RC 51-18: Daniel M. Corcos, PhD
    • Twenty-four (23) motions passed.


Of the 23 motions that passed (again, subject to change), here were the highlights:


RC 38-18: ADOPT: Commitment to Person-Centered Services

Delegates chose to adopt a policy solidifying the APTA’s commitment to providing patient-centered care, regardless of the provider’s own religious or personal convictions.


RC 41-18: ADOPT: American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education Recognition

Delegates passed this motion, recognizing ABPTRFE as the official accrediting body for physical therapy residencies and fellowships. Several questions came to floor regarding the structure of ABPTRFE, controversial actions that ABPTRFE has taken in the past, and the potential for a two-tiered credentialing structure. Concerns included lack of oversight or input to ABPTRFE; the Board of Directors re-assured delegates that the intent is to work on these issues through collaboration with the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Therapists and other stakeholders.


RC 44-18: CHARGE: Role of the Physical Therapist and Physical Therapist Assistant in Disaster Management

Delegates charged the APTA to determine what roles physical therapists and physical therapist assistants can perform in disaster management. The Board would then make PTs and PTAs aware of the roles they could fill, as well as promote the use of PTs/PTAs to agencies that study and manage disasters. This motion grew out of the recent natural disasters here in the United States–Texas brought forward the motion, citing personal experience with Hurricane Harvey.


RC 46-18: CHARGE: Eliminating the Improvement Standard

This motion charges the APTA Board of Directors to develop and implement a long term plan to eliminate the improvement standard in all payment settings.

Chris Wilson, President of the Oncology Section and motion maker, spoke with us in a phone interview. He confirmed that while Jimmo vs Sebelius took place several years ago, the trickle down effect to private insurance companies has not happened. According to Jimmo vs Sebelius, Medicare must pay for maintenance care that is medically necessary to prevent further decline. Several insurance companies do not reimburse for maintenance care, though many patients would qualify. The challenge with this particular motion lies here: insurance is different from state to state. Medicare, a federal program, can adapt to the change more readily because it has one governing body. In this case, each state will have to lobby their own insurance companies. For the APTA to get involved, this means coordinating a strategy across 50 states and DC. The idea sprang out of the Policy and Payment Forum, held each year for physical therapy payment specialists. Each state has its own unique challenges with payment; this is where state associations often spend a lot of funds and time.


Upcoming for Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Packet III has now been posted, with Packet I & II–this is where you can find the motions and support statements that the House will debate on Wednesday, June 26, 2018


RC 39-18: ADOPT: APTA Statement in Support of Essential Health Benefits (Check out the Hub discussion here.)


RC 45-18: CHARGE: Exploration of Barriers to Clinical Research by Physical Therapist Practitioners


RC 48-18: CHARGE: Professional Well-Being


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


RC 52-18: Honorary Membership in APTA: Bonnie Polvinale


BYLAWS Motions: These require a ⅔ vote to be heard on the floor. The House can elect not to hear these motions.


RC 53-55-18:  address lapse in membership as a barrier to participation in governance. Currently, if a membership lapses for greater than 30 days, the member becomes ineligible to serve as a delegate until they have, again, 2 years of continuous membership. These motions will amend the appropriate bylaws to allow for a 1 time, 90 day lapse before precluding a delegate from serving.


RC 56-18:  AMEND: Bylaws of the American Physical Therapy Association to Allow Sections to Vote in the House of Delegates


We will keep you updated as discussion continues on RC 24-18 and RC 40-18. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for live updates.