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  • 16-Apr-2023 12:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    THe APTA Montana Office will be closed April 26 to May 1, 2023.

  • 10-Mar-2023 12:27 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Legislative Update (Sam Schmidt):

    APTA-MT had a full first half of the legislative session. We had one of the largest attended Hill Days on February 10, 2023, with the Occupational Therapy and Speech Language Pathologist state associations.  Members who attended were able to have lunch and share our profession with lawmakers, sit in on the Senate and House hearings, and tour the capital.  It was also great to connect with so many providers from across the state in supporting our profession and its role in saving healthcare dollars. 

    Lobbyist Update (Nate McConnell):

    APTA-MT has made a splash in Helena!  Thanks to the extraordinary efforts from the Legislative Team, PTs are on the map.  It is hard to express how unique it is for a group to go from having no bill to push, no lobbyist to help push it, and no legislator to carry it all the way to getting a good bill, a good sponsor, and a great legislative push.  Despite the unfortunate vote on HB 736, we got PTs on the map and, more importantly, we have a presence in Helena.  Aside from getting APTA-MT’s voice heard, PTs are in line for an 8% increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates (4% per year over the biennium).  While it’s not enough – and we’ll keep pushing for better rates – it is a start.  We also have to celebrate the enormously successful HILL DAY on February 10th.  PTs had a big presence and made some great connections with legislators.  This sort of relationship-building is vital for future success!  Big thanks to Sam, Emily, Ben, and the rest of you who helped make Hill Day happen, who voiced support for the bill, and who continue to make APTA-MT part of the conversation.

    Thank you all who made the trip to Helena for Hill Day 2023!!


    Here are some key bills and their status as we move into the next half of the session. (Sam Schmidt)



    HB 736 Tabled: The Legislative Committee members and Payment Committee member, Ben Kingan worked with ATPA-MT’s Lobbyist Nate McConnell on getting a bill (HB 736) to address the inadequate reimbursement by Montana Medicaid for PT, OT, and Speech services.  Representative Tony Brockman of the Flathead (HD9) and Representative Alice Buckley of Bozeman (HD63) worked with the APTA-MT to sponsor and introduce HB 736 in the Human Services Committee on March 3, 2023.  There was a strong presentation of why this bill was so critical for access to cost saving therapy interventions and the trend of more and more small business providers no longer accepting Medicaid clients due to the inadequate payment to cover the provider. This bill tied PT, OT, and Speech services to a statute that Montana physicians use.  This is critical as therapy services follow the same rate methodology that physicians use based on RVUs (Relative Value Units) yet physicians have increased their conversion factor to cover their costs.  

    Small business clinics reported a range of $25-40 loss with every visit in providing services to a Medicaid participant.  This bill would close that gap almost fully. 

    While HB 736 was tabled for this session, the APTA-MT had great feedback and engagement around the value that PT brings to saving healthcare dollars.  Many lawmakers understand there is and will continue to be a growing issue of access for those using Medicaid if the gap is not addressed.  The APTA-MT will continue to meet on this issue and re-assess how to get this type of legislation across the line in 2025.  Thank you all who took time to send emails or reach out to those who represent you in Helena.  Your voice was heard and the APTA-MT will continue make sure to be heard.

    HB 649 Passed Committee: This is a bill for increasing provider rates for Medicaid with most of the focus medical providers who do not use the rate methodology physicians and allied professional services (this includes PT, OT, and Speech). This bill was largely based on the Guidehouse Study which was completed in 2022 and reported physicians were well above adequate rates but did not specifically address the allied rehabilitative providers (PT, OT, SLP).  If passed HB 649 would potentially offer PT an 8% increase over two years; this increase will not make the difference for closing the gap current reimbursement and actual cost to provide PT services.  Whereas HB 736 would have provided nearly 30% increase in reimbursement.  The APTA-MT is a proponent of HB 649 as it will help other healthcare workers provide services like medical transport, mental health, home aide assistance, and many more critical areas that support those who are on Medicaid to live their best lives.



    HB 496 Passed Committee: Obtaining preceptors for our medical, nurse practitioner, physician assistant, counseling, and other graduate-level health professional students is very difficult.   Private, for-profit, out-of-state institutions are sending their students to Montana in increasing numbers using the limited and precious resource of Montana preceptors with little chance that these students will relocate to Montana to serve our state's health care needs.

    Other states such as Georgia, North Carolina, Hawaii, Colorado, and Maryland have addressed this issue by instituting a tax incentive for preceptors who help educate those students in their own state without compensation.  HB496 is being put forward this session to change the landscape for Montana's preceptors and health professional programs.  The APTA-MT is a proponent of this bill and has requested Physical Therapists be added to the bill as an amendment.



    SB 380 Passed Committee: This bill is for an act entitled: “An act generally revising health care insurance laws; providing for exemption for prior authorization requirements”.  The APTA-MT is following this closely and is a proponent of this bill.  At the national level there are shifts to reduce administrative burden and prior authorizations, so it is refreshing to see it being address at the state level too.

    There are several other bills the APTA-MT is monitoring daily.  There are over 4500 bills this session, a historic record which has resulted in a fast and furious kind of experience for all.

    Please take time to write your local state representatives and senators a simple thank you note for their service as these folks are working around the clock to meet the budget and improve the lives of Montanans.

    If you are interested in looking up the status of a bill use the link:  https://leg.mt.gov/session/


  • 09-Mar-2023 1:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    APTA Montana is looking for a an APTA member to serve as a Key Contact for Congressman Matt Rosendale D2. He has district offices in Billings, Great Falls and Helena.

    Key Contacts are APTA members who serve as the primary contacts with their Senators or Representative in the United States Congress. There can be more than one Key Contact for a member of Congress. Key Contacts are vital in establishing valuable relationships with legislators to increase awareness of the issues that face the physical therapy profession. Key Contacts are encouraged to meet with their members throughout the year and provide feedback on the meetings to the APTA Government Affairs Department.

    Roles and responsibilities include establishing and maintaining a relationship with members of Congress and their staff, providing information on critical physical therapy issues to members of Congress, and developing a network of physical therapists that live in the state/congressional district who will write letters or make telephone calls to legislators in support of APTA's public policy priorities.

    If you are interested in serving in this role, email Ricardo Fernandez, APTA Montana's Federal Affairs Liaison at fernandez23@usa.net.

    Thank you to Brenda Mahlum, Missoula, who served APTA Montana for over 6 years as Federal Affairs Liaison, and to Ricardo Fernandez for volunteering to serve in this role. 

  • 09-Mar-2023 1:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We want to welcome Laurie Roberts, PTA, to the Board of Directors as Secretary. Laurie is currently serving as PTA Caucus Representative and would like to serve on the board while engaging PTAs to be active members. Thank you Laurie!

  • 01-Mar-2023 2:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The gathering for the APTA Montana’s winter conference, albeit cold in temperature, was warm and energizing while together. The knowledge, fun, and passion that was shared by all participants was inspiring to witness. As membership director, I find it invigorating to attend these conferences and enjoy meeting new members every time.

    During this meeting I looked at our mission, vision, values, and core focus. When I stepped back and thought about what this means to our members and future members, I discovered the importance of community and gathering. We have so many new PT’s moving into our communities as well as many native Montana’s that love to enjoy what the Big Sky has to offer.

    CALL TO ACTION.  I need community ambassadors from all over Montana to join me to lead local PT gatherings or what we are calling a PT Social throughout 2023. There are no parameters or forced time commitment. You could do a hike, journal club, book club, coffee social, and many more activities. If you already have a local, regular, meet ups please contact us by replying to this email. I am very excited to interact and brainstorm with all of you!

    Your Membership Director, Nicole Macaluso

    Inspiring collaboration, fostering success!

  • 01-Dec-2022 9:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Emily Herndon, APTA Montana President, leading the Payment Committee, met with Blue Cross, Mountain Co-op, and Medicaid in the last two months. Highlights of the discussions include specific CPT codes, frustration with credentialling which each acknowledged, Healthy Kids of Montana issues, and more. For full minutes of these meetings, and for links to contacts and resources, see notes at the payment section of our website. Members sign in is required. 

  • 28-Nov-2022 9:54 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    We as a profession are still facing draconian cuts to Medicare for 2023. The only thing that can move our lawmakers to act is your voice as their constituent. I urge you to take 1 minute to make your voice heard by going to the following link: Take Action on Medicare!

    This link works for any PT, PTA, PTA Student whether you are a member of the APTA or not. Even your patients and your staff can weigh in. We are going for volume of responses with this pre-written communication but by all means, you are encouraged to amend this letter and include any patient stories or small business hardships as examples of why including the ‘Supporting Medicare Providers Act (H.R. 8800)’ and the ‘SMART Act (H.R. 5536)’ need to be included in year-end legislation. Do this now and make congress work for us and our patients!

    Be sure to sign up on that page for alert notifications directly from APTA.

  • 11-Nov-2022 9:57 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    APTA Montana is looking for an interested member to be the Secretary on the Board of Directors. This position is a two year term and voting member of the Board of Directors. The Secretary maintains the records of the organization including motions made at the membership and board meetings. They also serve as the chapter liaison to the Board of PT Examiners.

    Contact the APTA Montana Nominating Committee, or the office, today if you interested or would like to learn more about how you can get involved:

    Tom Little
    Nominating Committee Chair

  • 10-Nov-2022 9:56 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    APTA Montana Board of Directors, committee chairs, and other volunteers met over a weekend in October to update the strategic plan. As a result, the board adopted the updated mission and vision statements, values and goals:

    APTA Montana Mission Statement: Advancing and impacting the physical therapy community to enhance life's adventures under the Big Sky. 

    Vision Statement: Transforming lives through movement

    APTA MT is passionate  passionate about our profession and drive to make change through advocacy, education, and community. APTA MT core values are COMMUNITY, ADVANCEMENT, IMPACT. APTA MT will focus on member value, a sustainable profession, quality of care, and demand and access through advocacy, education, and community. 

    Thank you to Emily Herndon, Samantha Schmidt, Jim McLean, Jeanne Korn, Nicole Macaluso, Jon Carling, Thomas Little, Brent Denisar-Green, and Laurie Roberts for taking a weekend away from family to meet and plan on behalf of APTA Montana.

  • 08-Nov-2022 9:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    APTA has created a toolkit to help components and practices spread the word about the APTA Consumer Awareness Research Report . The toolkit contains the full report (PDF), an FAQ document, and suggested social media posts with downloadable graphics and links for both the member and consumer audiences that highlight report data about consumers’ positive perceptions of and experience with physical therapy. Components and practices can use these resources to foster professional pride among PTs, PTAs, and students, and inform them about the challenges and opportunities identified. The ChoosePT social media graphics are designed to educate consumers about relevant findings such as patients’ positive physical therapy experience, physical therapy as a safe alternative to opioids, PTs as movement experts, direct access, and physical therapy’s role in long COVID. 

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