Report from the Field: APTA House of Delegates Meeting

July 15, 2019

Faculty member Dr. Martha Sliwinski attended the APTA House of Delegates (HOD) meeting from June 10-12 in Chicago, which is held each year before the NEXT annual conference. Each state is allotted delegates based on their APTA membership numbers. Any APTA member can attend the HOD seated in a gallery or watch via live stream. Nancy Kirsch, our DPT White Coat speaker for 2019 and President of the Federation of State Boards, attended in the gallery.

The HOD votes on proposed policies to be carried out by the APTA Board of Directors (BOD). Each state prepares by reviewing all proposed motions prior to the meeting through the leadership of its chief delegate. Motions typically go through several changes by delegates and committees.

This year, the HOD addressed a total of 70 motions. Among them, BOD member Sue Whitney proposed a new definition of the movement system. It is now defined as “The integration of body systems that generate and maintain movement at all levels of bodily function. Human movement is a complex behavior within a specific context, and is influenced by social, environmental, and personal factors.”  This definition is critical in the support of our vision statement, “Transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.”

Other motions passed by the HOD included:

  • APTA to support public participation in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended vaccine schedule
  • APTA to develop a plan for Medicare to cover a PT annual wellness visit and initial PT preventative exam
  • APTA to provide educational resources to PTs regarding the use of cannabis and related products
  • APTA to support all PT facilities that have Naloxone available on-site in case of opioid overdose
  • APTA to endorse wound management as a new specialization
  • APTA to adopt a position on the public health crisis of firearms-related injuries and deaths in the United States

The Code of Ethics was also amended with new wording for Principle 4. The new wording more clearly describes the duty of PTs and PTAs to report verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual harassment.

Dr. Sliwinski commented on her experience. “Each year, since 2011, I have found it exciting to be a delegate. These experiences have provided me not only with a greater understanding of how the APTA operates but more importantly, the efforts of all of our state delegations to move our profession forward to meet the health care needs of our society.”

New Jersey delegates wearing seersucker jackets
The New Jersey delegates commemmorating Seersucker Tuesday. Dr. Martha Sliwinski is third from left, front