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Aquatic PT News

    posted: April 18, 2018

    The Academy of Aquatic Physical Therapy is accepting nominations for its 2018 elections. The following elected positions are open. Please nominate someone you think would be a good fit. By the way, self-nominations are welcome and encouraged! Don't be shy; We want to hear from you!
    • 1st Vice President (Governance)
    • 2nd Vice President (Education)
    • Secretary
    • Director of Research
    • Nominating Committee
    All above positions, except Nominating Committee, take office at CSM 2019 and last for 2 years thereafter. The Nominating Committee is a three year term that beings at CSM 2019.
    We are also seeking short-term appointments (now through CSM 2019) to fill the vacancies in the offices of Secretary and Second Vice President (Education).
    The following committees are seeking members:
    • Research
    • Journal Peer Reviewers
    • CAPTCC
    • Awards
    • Communications
    • Practice
    • Education
    If you know of someone or if you are interested in filling any of the above appointed positions or committees, please let us know here.


    posted: March 30, 2018

    As you know, the Aquatic Section had its annual membership meeting at CSM 2018.  Two of the big topics were renaming the section to Academy of Aquatic Physical Therapy and the adoption of revised bylaws.  Both of which were passed unanimously.  I’d like to take a moment to update you on how we’ll be implementing both of these changes going forward.

    Regarding the Bylaws, these were effective immediately following the close of the annual membership meeting. Please find attached the current version for your records.

    The name change on the other hand is a bit more involved and will take about 1 year to completely implement.  There are primarily two aspects to changing the name that will occur almost simultaneously. First, we have to implement the new name legally. Adopting the new name by the membership was one of the first steps in changing the name.  In process now is filing with the Alabama State Corporation Commission and the Baldwin County Probate Court. Once that is complete and we have in-hand the updated Articles of Incorporation, then APTA will recognize us as the Academy of Aquatic Physical Therapy and subsequently update their records.

    While things are legally being changed, we’ll need to re-brand. The Communications Committee has been charged with soliciting and vetting new logos.  The Board will meet on May 5 to select the new logo.  Once the new logo is in place, we will begin updating the website, social media, waterlines, etc. to incorporate and complement the new logo.  Throughout 2018, you’ll slowly see things changing across our media outlets. 

    All in all, this is an exciting time and I am looking forward to how things will look in the coming months.

    As always, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

    Warm regards,


    Marie Stravlo

    Executive Director

    Academy of Aquatic Physical Therapy

    1055 N Fairfax Street, Suite 205

    Alexandria, VA  22314

    800/765-7848 x7101

    Fax: 703-738-1606





    posted: March 15, 2018

    APTA Combined Section meeting was a huge success with over 17,000 attendees in New Orleans Louisiana. The Aquatic Section took the time to recognize many dedicated professionals on their contributions to the Aquatic Section at their annual membership meeting.


    2018 Award Recipients


    Congratulations to the 2018 APTA Aquatic Physical Therapy Section Judy Cirullo award for Exceptional Contribution to the Area of Aquatic Therapy winner Diane Platz PT. This Award recognizes a PT’s exceptional contribution to the field of Aquatic Therapy and can include but is not limited to equipment design; innovative programming or patient care, educational contribution. Diane was recognized for her outstanding promotion of Aquatic Therapy as CSM Conference Coordinator.

    Congratulations to the 2018 APTA Aquatic Physical Therapy Section Richard Ruoti Research Award for Excellence winner Lori Thein-Brody PT, PhD, SCS. This award is named for one of the founders of the of the Aquatic PT Section who was dedicated to exemplary research in the area of aquatic therapy, this Award recognizes exceptional research that impacts Aquatic Physical Therapy.


    2018 Aquatic Sections President’s Award

    Presented by Charlotte Norton to the

    Communications Committee

    Christine Schulte PT, MBA Committee Chair

    Michael Murray PT, DPT

    Eileen Ray PT

    Sean Campbell PT, DPT (Not Pictured)

    Service Awards for Alethea Crespo – Outgoing Membership Chair

    Christine Taylor – Outgoing Director of Practice

    Nicole Needles – Outgoing Nominating Chair

    Outstanding Service Award Presented to

    Past President Charlotte Norton

    By Current President Christine Schulte

    As well as a surprise Shark attack to celebrate Charlotte!

    Thank you for your contributions to the Aquatic Section over the past 2 decades



    posted: February 20, 2018

    From: Justin Elliott
    Subject: Therapy Cap: webinar recording

    Dear APTA Component Leaders,

    Yesterday APTA hosted a special edition of Insider Intel for our members that focused on additional details and frequently asked questions related to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 signed into law on February 9. The budget deal included a permanent fix to Medicare’s hard cap on outpatient therapy services, PTA/OTA payment differential, changes to the home health payment system, funding for CHIP, and more.

    A recording of yesterday’s Insider Intel webinar on the Therapy Cap has been posted to the APTA website at:

    (click on the February 15 recording posted under the ‘Archives’ section)

    Please feel free to share this link with members or colleagues who have questions on this issue.


    Justin Elliott

    Vice President, Government Affairs


    posted: January 31, 2018

    Dear APTA Component Leaders,

    Below is the text of a recent announcement from CMS regarding outpatient therapy claims that are impacted by the Therapy Cap.  The link to the CMS website with this announcement can be found HERE.  Also attached please find APTA’s FAQ document on the Therapy Cap.

    APTA along with our partners in the Repeal the Therapy Cap Coalition continue to aggressively push Congress to include the bipartisan proposal to permanently repeal the hard therapy cap in the next congressional spending deal.  Congress must pass a spending deal by the February 8 deadline or risk another government shut-down. Our ongoing grassroots, public relations, and social media campaign (#StopTheCap) will continue to ramp up over the next 12 days.  In addition, our coalition partner AARP launched their national grassroots push this week on repealing the therapy cap, which you can read more about HERE.

    Please stayed tuned for additional updates.  Thank you for your continued advocacy and support.  Let me know if you have any questions.


    Justin Elliott

    Vice President, Government Affairs


    Expired Medicare Legislative Provisions and Therapy Claims with the KX Modifier Rolling Hold

    CMS is committed to implementing the Medicare program in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations, including timely claims processing.  Several Medicare legislative provisions affecting health care providers and beneficiaries recently expired, including exceptions to the outpatient therapy caps, the Medicare physician work geographic adjustment floor, add-on payments for ambulance services and home health rural services, payments for low volume hospitals, and payments for Medicare dependent hospitals.  CMS is implementing these payment policies as required under current law.

    For a short period of time beginning on January 1, 2018, CMS took steps to limit the impact on Medicare beneficiaries by holding claims affected by the therapy caps exceptions process expiration. Only therapy claims containing the KX modifier were held; claims submitted with the KX modifier indicate that the cap has been met but the service meets the exception criteria for payment consideration. During this short period of time, claims that were submitted without the KX modifier were paid if the beneficiary had not exceeded the cap but were denied if the beneficiary exceeded the cap.

    Starting January 25, 2018, CMS will immediately release for processing held therapy claims with the KX modifier with dates of receipt beginning from January 1-10, 2018.  Then, starting January 31, 2018, CMS will release for processing the held claims one day at a time based on the date the claim was received, i.e., on a first-in, first-out basis. At the same time, CMS will hold all newly received therapy claims with the KX modifier and implement a “rolling hold” of 20 days of claims to help minimize the number of claims requiring reprocessing and minimize the impact on beneficiaries if legislation regarding therapy caps is enacted.  For example, on January 31, 2018, CMS will hold all therapy claims with the KX modifier received that day and release for processing the held claims received on January 11.  Similarly, on February 1, CMS will hold all therapy claims with the KX modifier received that day and release for processing the held claims received on January 12, and so on.

    Under current law, CMS may not pay electronic claims sooner than 14 calendar days (29 days for paper claims) after the date of receipt, but generally pays clean claims within 30 days of receipt.

    FAQ_TherapyCap_2018 Updated.pdf (80.8 KB)


    posted: December 05, 2017

    By now, most physical therapists (PTs) have heard the news: the final 2018 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) released in early November by the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) included some significant variations from the PFS proposed in July. Instead of finalizing CPT code values that were the same as—and occasionally larger than—current values, CMS opted to offer up a more complicated combination of cuts and increases that could affect PTs in different ways, depending on their case-mix and billing patterns.

    So what should PTs do in the wake of the new PFS? Here are APTA's top 4 suggestions.

    1. Know the design process for the fee schedule. It's important to understand what led to the changes to provide context, a slight sense of relief, and a reminder of why payment needs to move toward value-based models and away from fee-for-service.

    The PFS now set to debut January 1, 2018, is the CMS response to an American Medical Association (AMA) committee's recommendation on potentially "misvalued" codes associated with a wide range of professions, not just physical therapy. When the process began in early 2016, many predicted that the final outcome would be deep cuts to nearly all valuations—as much as 10% or more overall. APTA and its members fought hard to substantiate the validity of the current valuations, and even the need for increases in some areas. The end result was a significant improvement from where things were headed at the start of the process.

    That's not to say it's been an entirely satisfying process from start to finish. This recent PT in Motion News story goes into more detail about the sometimes-frustrating journey from points A to B.

                2. Understand what's being changed. Just about everything that happens at CMS is complicated, and the process that led to the new CPT code valuations is no exception. Still, a working knowledge of how CPT codes are valued is helpful in understanding why the PFS contains such a mix of positives and negatives.

    One important thing to understand is that code valuation is actually a stew of 3 separate elements, known as relative value units (RVUs). These are estimations of the labor, expense, and possible professional liability involved in performing any given treatment or evaluation task associated with a CPT code. The 3 types of RVUs are known as "work," "practice expense" (PE), and "professional liability." The coding valuation differences between the proposed and final PFS were due to changes to the PE RVUs only.

    This wasn't part of the proposed rule. While the AMA Relative Value Scale Update Committee Health Care Professions Advisory Committee did recommend changes to PE RVUs, CMS initially opted to not adopt those suggestions. When the final rule was released 3 months later, CMS—without seeking input from APTA or any other stakeholders—did an about-face and adopted the changes to PE RVUs.

    So what? The answer is twofold: first, the tweaks to PE RVUs mean it's difficult to make many sweeping generalizations about how the new PFS will affect individual practices and clinics; second, it's worth noting that individual work RVUs either remained unchanged or increased.

    A more detailed explanation of how the codes were affected is available in an APTA fact sheet on the 2018 PFS (listed under "APTA Summaries and Fact Sheets"). For a more complete explanation of RVUs and the differences between the 3 types, check out this APTA podcast on the CPT valuation process.

                3. Get a sense of how you might be affected. A sense of history and understanding of detail are all well and good, but the  bottom line is your bottom line.

    Here's the complication with the 2018 PFS: because of the wide variation in upward and downward adjustments, it's hard to make statements about how PTs in general will be affected. CMS estimates the overall impact at a 1%-2% reduction, but a lot depends on the types of patients a PT or clinic typically sees and what interventions are commonly used. Some providers could see increases.

    In an effort to clear up some of the uncertainty, APTA offers a calculator than can help you see how your typical case-mix would fare in the new PFS. The calculator, offered in Microsoft Excel, allows you to enter different codes to see what changes to expect, given your Medicare service area.

                4. Keep learning. There's much more to understand about the PFS—not just in terms of the details of how the new rule will work, but in terms of APTA's work to safeguard CPT codes throughout the misvalued codes review process.

    One great way to learn more about what to expect is coming up in December, when the association hosts a free webinar on Medicare changes for 2018 on December 6 from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm ET. The webinar will be presented in a "flipped" format, meaning that when you register, you'll be provided with a prerecorded presentation to listen to in advance. That way, more of the actual session can be devoted to live interaction with the presenters. Be sure to sign up—and listen up—soon.

    Another opportunity is available December 13, when APTA hosts an "Insider Intel" phone-in session that will cover many of the same topics, albeit in a pared-down 30-minute session, from 2:00 pm to 2:30 pm ET. Instructions for signing up for this session are on APTA's Insider Intel webpage.

    To view the news story, please see:

    posted: May 21, 2017

    You asked for it, and we delivered!  The Aquatic Section is proud to offer membership the ability to post Aquatic-specific job openings, clinic equipment for sale, or Practices for sale on our new Classified System.

    Please visit here for introductory pricing and placement!



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Journal of Aquatic PT

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Current Volume: Winter 2017

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The Journal of Aquatic Physical Therapy is the primary peer-reviewed, indexed resource for dissemination of research and scholarly work related to the field of aquatic therapy. With an emphasis on implications and applications for therapy practice, the journal promotes the integration of evidence into theory, education, research, and practice related to the field of aquatic therapy. The journal is dedicated to the development advancement of aquatic therapy through publication of research and scholarly work related, but not limited to, scientific bases, integration of theory into education, translation of clinically relevant knowledge, clinical application, and education of clinicians.

Welcome New Members

Jeffrey Royce Royter, PT, MPT   |   Jacob Francis Brewer, PT, DPT, Ph.D., NCS   |   Robert E Donaldson, PT, DC   |   Trupti Bakshi, PT   |   Jaclyn M. Metro, PT, DPT, GCS   |   Diane Elizabeth Madras, PT, PhD   |   James D Schill, PT   |   Heather Renee-Gleason Jennings, PT, DPT, NCS   |   Ilana Nicole Kellogg Waasdorp, PT   |   Rachel Torlak, PT   |   Maria Penksa, PT   |   Shanelle Lynn Middleton, SPT   |   Megan Jones, PT   |   Andrea Trinidad Walker, PT   |   J.K. Nelms, PTA   |   Jonathan Bellizio, PT, DPT   |   Robert L Arledge, PT   |   Anne Frances Dziuba, PT   |   Emily Colleen Tarlini, PTA   |   Cynthia Dawn Golembiewski, PTA   |   Sharif Magdi Nafeh, PTA   |   Megan Zann, SPT   |   Marilyn D. Phillips, PT, MS, CAE   |   Brian Paul Van Valkenburg, SPTA   |   Andrea Christine Pettit, Andrea Pettit, PTA

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