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California Physical Therapy Association (CPTA) Legislative Day – March 16, 2018
The annual CPTA Legislative day brings together physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and students to learn about bills in the legislature that have a direct impact on the therapy profession. Attendees receive advice on advocacy from the CPTA lobbyist and public relations firm. Participants in attendance meet with legislators and their staff members who represent their home cities. Attendees experience first-hand what a strong grassroots advocacy program can do!
This year, three MSMU students, Stephanie Horwitz, Michelle Dawkin, and and Abdul Banafa attended. Half the day was spent being educated about the pressing issues and bills that would affect physical therapists in CA this year. The hottest topic was AB 3110, the athletic trainer bill, which would have given them a broader scope of practice that may have infringed on the physical therapist’s scope of practice. As a group the students spent the afternoon visiting each of their respective senators' and assembly members' legislative aides to make a pitch regarding the issues they cared about. They had the opportunity to meet with a senior aide in one office who took the time to listen and ask questions about their concerns and their thoughts about possible solutions. This experience gave the students a chance to voice their opinions and empowered them to engage directly with the people who make the decisions that influence our profession.
Federal Advocacy Forum, April 29 - May 1
Three MSMU students, Abdul Banafa, Lisa Aletto, and An Luong joined 270 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students from 48 states who converged on Capitol Hill recently to educate legislators and staff about a range of important issues impacting the profession. Attendees discussed several issues, including:
- The importance of integrating physical therapy into efforts to address opioid abuse
- Passage of the CONNECT for Health Act (H.R. 2556/S. 1016), which would ease restrictions on the provision of telehealth under Medicare
- Concerns about H.R. 4508 and its proposed changes to the Higher Education Act (PROSPER), which would affect student loan amounts, forgiveness, and repayment
- The Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act (H.R. 302/S. 808), which would provide portability of malpractice insurance for PTs and PTAs who travel across state lines with professional and collegiate sports teams
Members also were trained on best practices for advocating through a variety of channels, as well as the role data plays in advocacy. Amy Walter, national editor of the Cook Political Report and former political director of ABC News, was the keynote speaker. The event also included APTA's annual recognition of outstanding federal advocacy efforts. This year, Linda John, PT, was awarded the Federal Government Affairs Leadership Award for her tireless efforts as an advocate, a Federal Affairs Liaison, a Key Contact, and a mentor. The association also recognized Sen Thom Tills (R–NC) with the APTA Public Service Award for his instrumental role in including physical therapist assistants within the TRICARE system as part of the National Defense Authorization Act in 2017.