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Report from the HPA President and Chief Delegate to the 2017 HOD
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This year the APTA House of Delegates was held in Boston, MA, immediately prior to the NEXT conference in a city known for its rich American history and democratic principles. It was a very fitting locale for our association leaders to convene in parliamentary fashion, electing new leaders and creating or amending bylaws and positions of our professional association.

The following members were elected to APTA's Board of Directors and Nominating Committee on Monday, June 19, at the 2017 House of Delegates:

Jeanine Gunn, PT, DPT, was elected treasurer.

Susan Griffin, PT, DPT, MS, was reelected speaker.

Matthew Hyland, PT, PhD, MPA, and Sheila Nicholson, PT, DPT, JD, MBA, MA, were reelected as directors, and Anthony DiFilippo, PT, DPT, MEd, was elected as director. Cynthia Armstrong, PT, DPT, was elected in a second election to serve the 1-year remainder of Gunn's unexpired term as director.

Michael Eisenhart, PT, and Rupal Patel, PT, PhD, were elected to the Nominating Committee.

This year, 14 motions were introduced, with 13 of these successfully passing. Due to the few number of motions introduced, the house finished its business early, which can also be attributed to the robust pre-house online discussions and at virtual town halls. These allowed delegates to present views and opinions prior to the house and be adequately prepared for the onsite debate, minimizing precious house time in wordsmithing and introduction of excessive amendments. Delegates worked in small caucuses outside of the house to rewrite motions or positions, like the scope of practice or the decision to move forward with a new mission.

Some of the highlights include:

RC1 affirmed the need to update the mission of the association and align it with the new vision. It will be the BOD’s responsibility to implement this.

RC2 amended The Association’s Role in Advocacy for Prevention, Wellness, Fitness, Health Promotion, and Management of Disease and Disability to include collaborative relationships to implement population health strategies; however RC3 was defeated, which would have added a statement about the safe use of transportation as a means to prevent injury and death.

RC4 amended the role and language of physical therapists in disability determination and mobility status with public transportation.

RC5 and RC6 were the culmination of a multiyear effort by the BOD and house members with the ambitious goal to capture all that PTs do without resorting to a specific list of activities or tasks that may not include everything we do and may quickly grow outdated.

“The professional scope of physical therapist practice is grounded in basic, behavioral, and clinical sciences. It is supported by education, based on a body of evidence, and linked to existing and emerging practice frameworks. The professional scope evolves in response to innovation, research, collaboration, and changes in societal needs.

The professional scope consists of patient and client management, which includes diagnosis and prognosis, to optimize physical function, movement, performance, health and quality of life across the lifespan. Additionally, the professional scope includes contributions to public health services aimed at improving the human experience.”

This definition completes the association's effort to describe how the profession thinks about scope-of-practice issues under three domains: personal scope (what the PT is educated, trained, and personally competent to perform); jurisdictional scope (how physical therapist practice is described in state practice acts); and the professional (a more global description of the practice of physical therapy by our profession).

RC7 states the American Physical Therapy Association supports efforts by programs accredited by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE) to encourage residents and fellows in training to be members of the association and of the section representing the content of their education program.

RC8 was a motion directing the APTA Board of Directors to explore models for “innovation centers” for PTs with creative ideas for bringing novel practice concepts to market. The models could include freestanding “incubators,” industry partnerships, or partnerships within health systems, and the board is charged with investigating which, if any, alone or in combination, offer the most promise to help move practice forward.

RC9 establishes a special committee to review all House documents. The composition of the special committee shall include a current Officer of the House of Delegates and a minimum of six additional individuals with extensive experience as delegates.

RC10 awarded honorary APTA membership to prominent Emory University researcher T. Richard Nichols, PhD. He was a founding member of the International Society of Motor Control (ISMC). Dr Nichols’ research has made important breakthroughs in areas of great relevance to physical therapy, including alterations in sensory processing following spinal cord injuries and functional consequences of peripheral nerve injury.

RC11 was a charge to APTA to do whatever it takes to “implement best practice strategies to advance diversity and inclusion within the profession of physical therapy.” It's an effort that delegates acknowledged will take more than the association alone, and could include work with education programs, employers, and even pre-DPT public and private academic institutions.

RC12 charged the APTA Board of Directors to develop a plan to help ameliorate the administrative burdens placed on PTs.

Two bylaw changes were made in this non-bylaw year, which included:  A change that would permit chapters to assign full representation to representatives of physical therapy assistants (PTAs), PTA lifetime members, and retired PTA members; and a change that would allow more chapter membership flexibility for APTA members who are uniformed personnel, or whose spouses or partners are in the uniformed services.

APTA members can view videos of all open sessions of the 2017 House of Delegates online. Final language for all actions taken by the House will be available by September after the minutes have been approved.

As a section delegate without a vote, HPA participated in all house discussions, town halls, online discussions and spoke at the microphone in the house maintaining our important voice as a member of the HOD. I welcome all members of our section to contact me or other section leaders to express opinions on house motions and also contact their chapter delegates on issues especially about changing the bylaws in the future to allow sections delegates to have a vote in the HOD.

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