Archived PTA Newsletters

PTA Newsletter: August 2018
PTA Newsletter: May 2018
PTA Newsletter: Spring 2018
PTA Newsletter: Fall 2017

Clarkson College Program News

Physical Therapist Assistant


January 2019

The December 2018 graduating class in the Clarkson Service League Heritage Garden.

PTA Program: Fall Semester Recap

A message from the Program Director, Dr. Michael Witte

The fall semester always seems to come to an end as promptly as it begins. As quickly as some things change, however, others remain consistent and steadfast. This semester's students took on new challenges and service events in the community. As they strive for academic excellence during their time in the PTA program, our faculty faithfully seek to mentor them on their journey into the profession. In December, we celebrated another graduating class of fine men and women (shown above) who are prepared to enter the work force as proud physical therapist assistants (PTAs).

Since their establishment more than 24 years ago, the vital pillars of the Clarkson College PTA program have not changed. They are examples that continue to serve as reminders—as true now as they were then—that our program and students will continue to reach forward and be the best in their profession. The 50th anniversary celebration for PTAs will take place in 2019, and I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that this year will also be the 25th anniversary of the Clarkson College PTA program.

Whether you are an alumni, faculty member or one of our clinical partners, know that the success of the program and graduates would not be possible without your efforts and contributions. Here’s to you and another 25 years of success.

Program Updates & Giving Back to Our CIs/CCCEs

Bachelor's Degree Students on Campus for First OCE 
During the fall on-campus experience (OCE), our first semester Bachelor’s degree students spent the weekend at Clarkson College polishing their hands-on techniques as part of the Advanced Musculoskeletal Interventions course. The students completed passive mobilization techniques and integrated new interventions for concussion and temperomandibular dysfunction patients, both of which are quickly growing populations in the physical therapy field. The OCE was a great way to effectively test the hands-on portion of the online program, and our students excelled.

Clinical Education Webpage
We are developing a clinical education webpage for the Clarkson College PTA program that will serve as a resource for CCCEs, CIs, and current and prospective students. The page will include information regarding our clinical education program, documents and helpful resources. Stay tuned!

Library Database Access
The Library database access system allows the College to offer our CIs access to the most up-to-date information—free of charge and without the use of a password. If you are interested, email Karen Abboud to request access to the Library database.

Legislative Changes in Practice & Payment

PTA Modifier & Payment Differential 
As part of a “pay-for” to repeal the Medicare Part B cap, the use of a PTA modifier will be required for services provided by PTAs beginning Jan. 1, 2020. In addition, services furnished by PTAs and OTAs after Jan. 1, 2022 will be reimbursed at 85 percent of the usual rate. The law also includes changes affecting home health services, including the establishment of a 30-day episode for payment. If your clinic is discussing implementing these changes or if you have any questions about the change, contact Justin Elliott.

Payment Program
Implementation of various quality payment programs, including merit-based incentive payment systems for private practice and patient-driven payment models for skilled nursing facilities, will be forthcoming.

Students in Hospital Settings
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced recently that “students are not qualified providers of skilled rehabilitation services.” This indicates that therapy minutes provided to Medicare beneficiaries by students cannot count toward the three-hour rule/intensity of therapy services requirement in the inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) setting. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), APTA and American Speech–Language–Hearing Association (ASHA) requested in-person meetings with CMS officials to further discuss the change. The organizations also published a joint statement in response to the issue, stating that “more information is needed to develop guidance that allows therapy students to receive quality clinical training and experience…while also maintaining patient quality standards and ensuring the integrity of the Medicare program.”

While this change may not affect all IRF patients, educational institutions may need to be creative moving forward in ensuring quality clinical experiences for students and meeting CMS requirements. Until further information is available, continue training students and using your best judgement when allowing them to be present or assist in care. Contact Karen Abboud if you feel this will change affect any current or upcoming student rotations.

Service to the Community: Giving Back During National PT Month 

PTA students served our local community during National PT Month in October.

Special Olympics Be Brave 5k

Clarkson College PTA students jumped into service work during the fall semester by serving at the Special Olympics Be Brave 5k on Oct. 20. Those attending the event participated in family-friendly activities and a mini health fair. PTA students donated their time and talents at family-friendly stations featuring face painting, rub-on tattoos, ghost lollipop crafts and a photo booth. Students in the Basic Skills class practiced their newly learned skills by measuring blood pressure, providing hand massages and teaching body mechanics. It was a fun event for all!

 Special Olympics

PTA students offer hand massages during the event.

PTA Profession Updates

Celebrate PTAs!
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first PTA graduates! The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), Nebraska Physical Therapy Association (NPTA) and other chapters across the country will honor and celebrate this milestone in a variety of ways, including receptions in conjunction with chapter meetings and national conferences. We would love to hear how you are celebrating 50 years of PTAs!

Changes to CPI Web Training & Assessment
New clinical instructors (CIs) who have not completed the PTA Clinical Performance Instrument (CPI) web training may now utilize a new platform from Liaison International. The self-guided training module houses the CPI web program, a clinical assessment suite help center, and helpful documents and resources.

CIs currently complete the assessment through the APTA Learning Center, and participants can earn 0.30 CEUs for finishing the training and assessment. Training must be completed before a CI can access student evaluations. If the assessment link does not work, search “PTA-CPI/Web Assessment” or the course number “LMS-0120.” You will need to enter your APTA member information or create an account. Direct any additional questions to APTA.

PTs and PTAs who have completed the PTA CPI web training should ensure they have their certificate of completion, as retaking the training module again is not necessary. The certificate and CEU files will remain in the APTA Learning Center until March 1, 2019. You will no longer have access to the certificate and CEU files after this date.

PTA E-Newsletter 
The Clarkson College PTA department communicates with its clinical coordinators and community partners three times annually through this e-newsletter. Feel free to forward this e-newsletter to any colleagues, facilities or staff members to share PTA program and profession updates.

Clinical Education Team
aren Abboud, PTA, MHA, CLT, Assistant Professor & ACCE   email
Kimberly Grimes, PTA, B.S., CKTP, Instructor   email
Jessica Niemann, PTA, B.S., Instructor   email
Michael Witte, PT, D.P.T., ATC/L, CSCS, Program Director    email