Help Observe National Physical Therapy Month

The heat of summer made one last push as we moved into “school season.” Hard to think it will be fall very soon!

NPTMLogoColor 2017I would ask that you consider some sort of observation of National Physical Therapy Month (NPTM) in October. The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) recently posted resources for your 2017 planning.  National Physical Therapy Month resources may be found at . Plan to share your observations with us (PTWA) and our national association (APTA).

This form of professional advocacy is critical. We must tell the public who we are and what we do. Tell the public why you are the reason to #ChoosePT. Let them know of your education and scope of practice. You make differences in people’s lives…as long as they know who you are. Not everyone knows who you are and what you do as a professional. Take the opportunity to leverage your voice to the public during NPTM.



Erik Moen PT
PTWA President


Thoughts on the APTA House of Delegates, NEXT and Advocacy

Erik Moen_Edited

Erik Moen

The summer for PTWA is highlighted by attendance and the deliberations at the APTA House of Delegates. The House of Delegates is the highest deliberative body in the APTA. Your state was well represented by our leaders who attended this year’s house in Boston in June. My first House of Delegates was in Boston in 1991. Boston has a good spot in my heart. This APTA link has a great overview of our time in Boston.

A special nod of recognition goes to PTWA Chief Delegate Jennifer Lesko. Jennifer has served as our chief delegate for eight years and this was her last year as chief. We thank her for her leadership, organization and excellent representation of Washington (state) interests.

Please take the time to read/review the McMillan and Maley lecture transcripts. The McMillan and Maley lectures are delivered each year during APTA’s NEXT conference, which immediately follows the House of Delegates. The lecture transcripts will appear in print in your Physical Therapy journal. These lectures are always inspirational and worthy of your time.

A word on “summer advocacy.” There certainly is a lot of federal legislative activity going on around health care this summer. Regardless of what side you are on, it is important that you connect with your federal legislators to represent your view point. APTA has your back if you need a little help with this process. APTA has an advocacy app, which can be found in Apple and Google play stores under “APTA Action.”  It is free for members and includes modules for federal action, as well as state action. This APTA advocacy app will tell you who your federal and state legislators are, discuss the issues and enable a good electronic connection to your legislators. I would ask that all PTWA members download this app and engage with your legislators on health care issues that affect your patients, your businesses and our state. Your activism and leadership does help!

I know summer has just begun but I want you to start thinking about participating in the 2017 PTWA Conference, which will take place in the fall.  We have excellent speakers and opportunities for you to network and interact with your peers. Please make plans to join us!


Erik Moen, PT
PTWA President

What a Difference a First-Time Federal Affairs Attendee Made

I had never heard of the APTA Federal Affairs Forum (FAF) until I attended PTWA’s Legislative Impact Day on January, 26, 2017. Legislative Impact Day, where PTs, PTAs and students meet with state legislators to discuss current bills that will impact our profession that will be addressed this session. The FAF is the same type of event but addresses bills at a federal level.

Any APTA member can attend the FAF, which was held this year from March 26-28, 2017. The more therapists and students that attend, the more voices are heard and the stronger the message. Lucky for me, no experience was needed! APTA staff taught us all we needed to know in the two days before we actually went to the Hill.

Our state had six therapists in attendance. We had appointments with both of our senators and the representatives (or their staff) for each of our 10 districts. We had 15 minutes per appointment to review the bills that related to therapy, to relay personal stories and to help each senator or representative understand the impact on our profession that each bill would have.

This was such an amazing experience for me. I am so grateful to my Washington colleagues for their support. A surprise bonus for me was a much deeper appreciation for what the APTA does for us as a profession. I was able to witness the APTA strong presence on Capitol Hill, making a difference for MY career. I saw it, heard it, watched it and participated in it….it felt great! I have always been passionate about physical therapy – and advocating for it in a senator’s office was an honor. Advocacy work DOES make a difference! Being an APTA member IS important for our profession. This type of work requires funding, if we want to remain relevant, viable and be seen as a valuable member of our health care system. Supporting our PAC and the APTA is a huge part of that. I encourage you to get involved! It’s so rewarding!

Kele Murdin, PT
Board Certified Geriatric Specialist
Group with Cantwell 2017

Washington therapists during a meeting with Sen. Maria Cantwell. From left: Tom DiAngelis, Jeanine Gunn, Daphne Ryan, Sen. Cantwell, Brianna Durant, Jennifer Lesko, Kele Murdin, Erik Moen and Elaine Armantrout.

Rich Content and Networking at CSM

Combined Sections Meeting (CSM) 2017
San Antonio, TX

Washingtonians flocked to San Antonio to attend the most-attended CSM in APTA history. Can  you believe there was 14,000 PT, PTA, respective students and exhibitors there? That is a lot of PTs. Why do they go? Excellent programming that addresses their needs specific to their practice interest, a huge exhibit hall, alumni, section and industry receptions, excellent keynote/featured speakers and plenty of networking with friends and peers from around the country. Our great state of Washington was well represented in leadership, presentation, industry and social aspects.

Also featured are state and federal affairs updates. This is where we are updated on processes with the definition of dry needling in the states practice of physical therapy, license compact initiatives, concussion management and continued work to repeal the therapy cap.

Discussion took place regarding the incorporation of the new evaluation codes. Continued work and practice with their use in billing will be critical. The new evaluation codes have far more complexity then our previous 97001 and 97002. Physical therapists can do their part by reliably following the code criteria to clearly define their clients as low, moderate or high complexity. The resultant data will help to better understand physical therapy practice and our interventions. The APTA has numerous resources on its website. APTA was recognized nationally for their efforts in association education regarding the new evaluation codes.  Our Arizona friend Helene Fearon accepted the award on behalf of the APTA.

Want to get involved? I strongly believe that return on your association membership comes through your active membership. APTA does have volunteer opportunities for committees and task forces.  The March 1st deadline is quickly approaching.

As this is a blog, I will conclude my summary comments. It is safe to say that the entire coverage of a meeting like CSM cannot be fully covered in the length of a blog. CSM certainly is an exciting, material rich meeting. CSM is the meeting for you if you are thinking of attending a national meeting for the first time. See you in New Orleans next February!

Erik Moen_EditedErik Moen
PTWA President

Thank You For Attending Well-Timed Legislative Impact Day

Thank you to all the PTs, PTAs, PT students and PTA students for attending the PTWA Legislative Impact Day on January 26! And thank you to those who did their part from afar by contacting their legislators regarding our legislative issues for the 2017 Legislative session. Our presence in Olympia was well timed as our Licensure Compact bills (SB 5191 and HB 1278) were heard in the respective healthcare committees that week and our Years of Service bills (SB 5283 and HB 1374) will be heard in their respective appropriations committee meetings this week and next.


This year we offered continuing education as a secondary benefit of coming to Olympia. Members learned about how to get your spinal manipulation endorsement and heard prior authorization updates from Jim Freeburg from the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.


Please continue to follow the legislative process and interact with your legislator. Your involvement is critical this year and for the long haul. You demonstrate a level of professionalism that demonstrates your commitment to our profession and clients/patients of Washington state.


Thank you to our Legislative Impact Day sponsors.  Your example of leadership and support is outstanding and appreciated.


Our hard working and smart lobbyist Melissa Johnson continues to guide and assist us in our legislative efforts.  She paves a smooth path for our access to legislators. 


And lastly, thank you to our PTWA staff for their excellent organization and commitments to membership.


Watch for continued updates from Melissa during the legislative session and stay engaged throughout the year!  Your connections and expertise does matter.

Erik Moen

PTWA President

The Skinny on Sarcopenia

One definition of sarcopenia by Santilli et al1, states: Sarcopenia is a syndrome characterized by progressive and generalized loss of skeletal muscle mass and strength and it is strictly correlated with physical disability, poor quality of life and death. Risk factors for sarcopenia include age, gender and level of physical activity.

To diagnosis sarcopenia three of the following need to be present:

  • HR >84 bpm at rest
  • Orthostasis: a decrease in systolic 20 bpm or diastolic 10 bpm within three minutes of standing compared to sitting or supine
  • Muscle weakness: a general 3/5, no specific muscle group
  • Impaired mobility: need assistive device, need assist with bed mobility, difficulty with transfers
  • Heart rate increases 10-20 bpm with verbal exam

Kele Murdin

As PTs we should be drooling at this. All of these are WELL within our scope to treat and VERY treatable! Treatment of deconditioning typically targets activity HR 20 beats greater than resting (light load). And remember to educate your patients to be patient as recondition takes two times longer than deconditioning.

Ikezoe2 found that older adults need knee extension force of 45 percent of their body weight and sit to stand of 5.6 times in 30 seconds to retain their ability to walk independently.

There is a wealth of research to support the benefits of low intensity strength programs that improve knee extension strength and functional mobility in frail older adults. Westoff3 demonstrated significant strength increases using these parameters: one to three sets of four to eight reps, with one minute rest, using TheraBand and using criteria that when they can perform three sets with good form to increase load.

Sarcopenia cost over 18 billion dollars in healthcare costs per year.  We as PTs have the power to impact that and significantly improve the quality of life of our older adults! What a great job we have!!

Kele Murdin, PT
Geriatric Certified Specialist
Geriatric Training Certification
Certified Exercise Expert for Aging Adults

1) Santilli V, Bernetti A, Mangone M, and Paolone M. Clinical Definition of Sarcopenia. Clin Cases Miner Bone Metabv. 11(3); Sept-Dec 2015. Published online 2014 Dec 10.
2) Ikezoe, et. al, Muscle Strength and Muscle Endurance Required for Independent Walking in the Elderly. Journal of Physical Therapy Science. 9(1):19-22. January 1997. DOR 10.1589/jpts9.19
3) Westhoff M, Stemmerik L, Boshuizen H. Effects of a Low-Intensity Strength-Training Program on Knee-Extensor Strength and Functional Ability of Frail Older People. Journal of aging and physical activity. 8(4):325-342. October 200. DOI: 10.1123/japa.8.4.325


We Are Moving


Jim Rivard

Vision statements are typically born of small groups with big passion. Brainstorming, discussing, wrestling, and finally writing a statement of direction for the future – a vision. A vision statement is something not yet achieved, not a description of what is already. A vision may never be achieved, but defines the work and energy of the organization moving forward.

In 2013, the APTA adopted a new vision: Transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience. The APTA as an organization, and physical therapy as a profession, has much work ahead to achieve this ambitious vision. I have had the pleasure and pain of spending time in different groups and task forces pounding out strategic plans and visions. Often the hard work of these small groups is lost in translation when attempting to have the larger body adopt the vision and move toward steps of implementation. The APTA is putting equal energy behind their new vision, with the most recent being The Movement System Summit held near the home office December 8-10, 2017.


The Movement System Summit involved 100 therapists stuffed in a room for three days in a collaborative discussion and debate as to the implementation of The Human Movement System as a primary tenet toward achieving the APTA’s vision statement. A safe and open environment of discussion, debate and dissention was established and maintained throughout the meeting, allowing all voices, thoughts and opinions to be heard. As president of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapists, I was invited to attend this summit. This is not to establish my credentials, but more to exemplify the inclusiveness of the group, having representation from within and outside of the APTA. Every corner of the profession was represented, including several students. The diversity in brain function—listening, critical thinking, communication—across the room was remarkable. Regardless of where you place yourself in the diverse landscape of physical therapy, you had fair representation. That said, having 100 physical therapists agree on anything related to the profession is unrealistic. Thankfully, lunch had been previously decided upon and was not open to debate.

So, what exactly is the Movement System? The definition is a moving target (pun intended). Currently it stands as follows: The movement system is the term used to represent the collection of systems (cardiovascular, pulmonary, endocrine, integumentary, nervous and musculoskeletal) that interacts to move the body or its component parts. The overall intention is to brand physical therapists as movement specialists that are the go-to profession for addressing the Movement System. We are the profession with a unique set of skills to define and own this area within the healthcare system. If we cannot define our advanced clinical skill set to the consumer and medical profession, we risk being replaced by a less expensive, lower-quality product to address movement and performance.

If you were mentally challenged by the naming of a “new system” that encompasses these other systems, then include yourself in minority group of participants (including myself) that pushed to remove the word system but continue with the concept. But semantics aside, bringing all branches of physical therapy together with a common language for defining, describing and evaluating movement is a worthy goal. For example, an imaginary line between orthopedic and neurologically trained PTs would be replaced with a common training and language to define basic movement. Those participating at the summit attempted to create a basic short list of movements, regardless of specialty, that all therapists could assess and describe. A branding shift toward movement specialists would place the focus on our ability to evaluate and restore these movements across a wide variety of clinical presentations. Movement could then be assessed by an annual visit to a physical therapist, much as with an annual dental exam, to identify movement impairments and potential interventions. The preventative approach could go a long way toward “Transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.”

The summit’s objectives:

  1. Describe the history and development of the term “movement system” as the identity
  2. principle with the APTA’s new vision. (You can read more on the APTA’s website at: Movement System).
  3. Develop a common understanding of the definition of the movement system and the role of physical therapy in the movement system.
  4. Identify the potential benefits of integrating the movement system in physical therapy education, research and practice.
  5. Discuss the movement system as it relates to both ICF language and the patient‐client management model in the Guide to Physical Therapist Practice.
  6. Begin to identify essential activities that should be included in the patient/client examination for assessment of movement performance and the criteria for how to measure these.
  7. Agree upon criteria for adopting or promoting movement system diagnostic labels.
  8. Describe the implications of using movement system diagnostic labels, including selection of treatment options, communication with other professionals, clinical documentation, reimbursement, education and research.
  9. Develop an action plan for the integration of the movement system into practice, education, research. This document will be a recommendation to the APTA Board of Directors.

Further discussions revolved around the need for movement system diagnoses. A collaborative lecture between physical therapists and an orthopedic surgeon colleague established a much easier consensus on removing terms such as shoulder impingement from the list of diagnoses we use, as they are inaccurate, often describe nothing and are often too vague to directly assist in establishing an intervention. The need to establish a movement diagnosis instead, that better describes the impairments leading to the symptoms of an impingement, did cause more spontaneous movements of heads nodding up and down. What replaced this nodding with cervical paralysis and reflexive oral expulsion was the intention of replacing all pathoanatomical descriptions for diagnosis with movement-based diagnosis. As the gloves came off, and the once cordial discourse was replaced by factions of dissention, the challenge of the broader strokes of this fundamental shift in the branding of our profession became more apparent. The diagnosis of shoulder impingement, having many causes, does little to establish a frame of thinking for intervention. Likewise, cerebral palsy as a diagnosis provides nothing in the clinical frame for which a clinician can make decisions for intervention. The insertion of classification schemes has attempted to address this clinical conundrum. One of the many arguments for maintaining the pathoanatomical description is that physical therapy has a long history of specific intervention to address specific tissue pathology. Influencing collagen repair, bone density and healing, as well as cartilage lubrication, has a long history in physical therapy. The arguments at the summit to maintain both the movement and pathoanatomical diagnoses then moved to which one would be first. As you re-read this paragraph, and your head begins to ache, it may occur to you how we create movement-based diagnoses and intervention when there is only pain, or normal walking for only short distance, or the patient presents with a wound. The last day of the summit did not ignore these issues but dug in, attempting to lay out a working plan to address them all.

The analogy for the Movement Summit was moving from sea level to summiting a mountain. It was obvious after three days that we had gained some altitude but there is much more to address to make it over the hill with this movement systems concept. We only scratched the surface on professional interaction between disciplines, organization and countries. Billing, coding and reimbursement would also need to see a significant overhaul.

If you have made it this far in reading you have demonstrated the grit required to be engaged in this process. The APTA has provided all the details and progress on this issue on their website, and is asking for comments, input and energy. The APTA is not some outside body, it is made up of all of us. We are the APTA. The leadership of the APTA is leading, and should be commended for thinking boldly. We have an opportunity here to better define who we are and what we do, finding better ways to message and deliver this to both colleagues and clients. Regardless of how you currently feel about this issue, acceptance is the key; this is happening. If all participants in the summit were honest, they would admit entering with a little bias on the issue. Maybe there was even a little confirmation bias in how some of us prepared for the summit. But all participants left with a broader understanding of the issues we face and how they affect all corners of the profession, not just within our own bubble.

You can elect to sit as we Move Forward, but we are stronger with all voices. Move with us.

Jim Rivard, PT

Doctor of Manual Therapy
Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Manual Physical Therapy
AAOMPT President