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UAB Post-Professional OTD

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UAB is happy to announce a new program, a completely online postprofessional clinical doctorate open to those with a BS or MS occupational therapy degree, as well as to COTAs who also have a bachelor’s degree.  There are 2 tracks – one a specialty in low vision, and the other a general track.  Please see the website for further information –http://www.uab.edu/shp/ot/occupational-therapy-doctorate or contact Laura Vogtle, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA at lvogtle@uab.edu or 205-934-7326.

  • Applications open January 2018
  • First cohort enrolls Fall 2018
Sponsored by the University of Alabama at Birmingham
Centennial Hill Day Update

AOTA Centennial Hill Day – Update

picture3AOTA Centennial Hill Day was a great success both nationally and at the Alabama state level.   I (Rachel) had the honor of representing ALOTA at AOTA’s Hill Day as your ALOTA government affairs representative.  If you aren’t familiar with Hill Day, it is an organized effort by AOTA to have a day on Capitol Hill where as many House Representatives and Senators offices as possible meet with OTs as we explain the distinct value of OT in our states as well as bring up key issues that are pertinent in the coming congressional sessions.   AOTA really pulled out all the stops to make this centennial year amazing.   We had over 600 OTs, OTAs, and students present from 45 states.  Even Alaska had 2 representatives there!   There was also the option of participating in Virtual Hill day where OTs, OTAs, and students were encouraged to call and email their representatives.

 

 

 

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Alabama had 3 people present this year: myself as your ALOTA representative, Deek Cunningham our AOTA RA representative, and Veronica Juan a current masters level OT student at UAB.  We met with legislative assistants with the following offices:

  • Representative Gary Palmer’s (House Representative for the 6th district)
  • Representative Terri Sewell (House Representative for the 7th district)
  • Senator Richard Shelby (State Senator)

 

 

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We asked our representatives to support:

  • The Home Health Flexibility Act. Currently, OTs cannot open a home health care case.  This is inefficient for home health care teams, increases unnecessary healthcare costs, and delays clients from receiving OT.  This would allow OTs to open a home health case, helping more clients return home safely and get the care they need.
  • Repeal the therapy Medicare part B cap, a piece of legislation that has haunted us in the therapy world for over 20 years, and threatens to leave those with the most debilitating and significant levels of injury without the therapy they need to live their lives with independence and dignity.
  • Funding for Title VII and Title VII which provides grants and programs for Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET).  These programs are designed to address workforce shortages, including in the area of OT, specifically for veterans, seniors, children and families on low incomes, and rural communities.

 

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We had great meetings and feedback with all three legislative assistants and offices that we met with.   I’d like to personally give Senator Shelby’s office a shout out for sharing some bottled water with us on an especially hot day in D.C.  But, in all seriousness, it was an honor to meet with each office and I was incredibly encouraged by their willingness to consider these issues.  I’ve been in contact with all the offices since leaving and am working to build relationships with the people we met with so that OT stays on their mind.

All in all, I think it was a successful trip and I was honored to share the distinct value of OT and how we benefit the people of Alabama with our elected officials.  Advocacy is important, it’s crucial to our profession and to the clients we serve.  It was an honor to represent ALOTA at Hill Day.

 

Rachel Ashcraft
ALOTA Government Affairs

Fall Conference Recap

Fall Conference Recap

2017 ALOTA Fall Conference

RECAP

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Thank you to all of the presenters, practitioners, students and exhibitors who joined us for for the 2017 ALOTA Fall Conference on September 22 – 24, 2017 at the Hampton Inn & Suites, Orange Beach, AL. 

This year’s event was a great success! We had a great lineup of presenters, great weather, and great group of OTs to share the experience with. Members who were unable to attend, we are sorry that you could not make it. Be sure to mark your calendars for our 2018 Spring Conference, being held at Alabama State University in Montgomery, AL on February 24, 2018. Lineup to be announced soon! If you are not a member and would like to join ALOTA, please follow the link to JOIN!

Full Conference Agenda

Conference Objectives

Speaker Biographies


Speaker Presentations

  • Keinee Austin   Facilitating Leadership Practices: Empowering and Inspiring OTs to Perform
  • Catie Etka   The Lyme Maze: Navigating the Road from Diagnosis to Recovery
  • Brandon Seigel  Next Gen OTs: Strategies for Crushing Your Career Goals
  • Branson Seigel  Optimizing Early Intervention Outcomes Through Interdisciplinary Collaboration
  • Jason Vice   Safe Driving for Individuals with Low Vision and Brain Injury
  • Chuck Willmarth   Health Care Reform Implementation and State Policy

 

 


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Career Opportunity – Pediatric OT Montgomery, AL

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Easter Seals Central Alabama has an opening for a full-time Pediatric Occupational Therapist

 

Easter Seals Central Alabama (ESCA), located in Montgomery, is looking for a qualified Pediatric Occupational Therapist to meet the needs of the children we serve.

Job Duties Include: 

  • Facilitates development and rehabilitation of patients with mental, emotional and physical disabilities by planning and administering medically prescribed occupational therapy.
  • Knowledge of the regulations and practice standards of Pediatric Occupational Therapy.
  • Knowledge of direct patient care of Occupational Therapy to pediatric patients
  • Knowledge of rehabilitative treatment techniques as utilized by the generalist in treating multiple age groups.
  • Knowledge of equipment and instruments used in daily activities.
  • Skill in treating Pediatric Occupational Therapy patients
  • Skill in using applicable equipment and instruments
  • Skill in assessing and prioritizing multiple tasks, projects and demands
  • Skill in critical thinking in the performance of Pediatric Occupational Therapy
  • Skill in establishing and maintaining cooperative working relationships with others.
  • Skills in maintaining good working relationships with community resources, referral sources, agencies and colleagues (PT and SLP).
  • Bilingual communication skills a plus.

Minimum Qualifications: 

  • A cleared/clean Alabama Occupational Therapy License
  • Approximately one (1) year of experience working exclusively with the pediatric population.
  • Participation in continuing education in pediatric therapy subjects as required by the Occupational Therapy governing authority.

To apply: 

Please submit your information to Easter Seals Central Alabama’s Executive Director, Debbie Lynn, at 2125 East South Boulevard, Montgomery, AL 36116, or via email at dlynn@eastersealsca.org.

To learn more about ESCA, visit our website at www.eastersealsca.org.

 Easter Seals Central Alabama is an equal opportunity employer. 

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Senate Healthcare Bill Threatens Medicaid

The following is a statement from the American Occupational Therapy Association. While ALOTA works to support access to essential healthcare and occupational therapy services, it is your voice that is needed to protect healthcare services in the State of Alabama. 

Contact Senators Shelby and Strange today!


Heather Parsons
6/23/2017

On Thursday June 22, the United States Senate released a discussion draft of their health care reform bill, called the Better Care Reconciliation Act of 2017 (BCRA). While much of the healthcare reform discussion has been about fixing or repealing the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare), the major provisions of the bill released yesterday relate to Medicaid. After careful analysis, AOTA is deeply concerned that BCRA would undermine the Medicaid program and put the millions of children and adults with serious disabilities, students receiving special education support services, people receiving home and community based services, individuals with mental health needs, those in nursing homes, and many others at grave risk of reduced or lost benefits.

BCRA would change Medicaid from a system where the federal government “matches” payments for all medically necessary services a state chooses to provide to beneficiaries, to one that provides states with a capped amount of money to spend for all beneficiaries. This will require hard choices by the states and inevitable cuts to Medicaid programs and services. Over time, the Federal government will pay less and less for Medicaid services and State Medicaid programs will have to make up the difference, or diminish services. As states are faced with difficult financial decisions they will have to reduce benefits such as rehabilitation benefits for adults and home and community based services, reduce reimbursement to providers, or find ways decrease or slow Medicaid enrollment. States may eventually be pressured to reduce services to children from the current broad mandate of Early and Periodic Screening, Diagnosis and Treatment services (EPSDT) which protects all children on Medicaid.

From early intervention and schools, to skilled nursing facilities, to community mental health programs these proposed changes will negatively affect occupational therapy practitioners and the people who are in need of our services. We urge you to call your Senate offices today (yes, even on the weekend!) and ask that they reject these dramatic changes to Medicaid.

AOTA’s legislative action center will walk you through the steps. You can call or write, but you need to take action before next week’s vote.

Please check back next week for AOTA’s analysis of the Senate bill.  Until then we recommend this detailed analysis by the experts at the non-partisan Health Affairs Blog.

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Public Comment Open: Medicare Changes to SNF Therapy Payments

 From AOTA  The American Occupational Therapy Association
 

Medicare Proposing Changes to SNF Therapy Payments in Future: What Can You Do to Promote OT?

Occupational therapy practitioners are urged to understand and respond to a public comment notice on the payment program for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (advance notice) to modify the SNF Part A Prospective Payment System (PPS) payment methodology. The comment period is open until June 26. Note that CMS is asking for feedback before writing an actual proposed rule that would be put forward next year and possibly go into effect in federal fiscal year 2019.

The key issue for occupational therapy is how patient classification for payment will relate to actual therapy need and provision. The SNF PPS has been under scrutiny for many years. A key concern is that the current PPS tilts payments toward providing therapy—and possibly providing unnecessary therapy.

AOTA is urging members to comment on the advance notice. Changes to the SNF PPS could greatly affect occupational therapy practitioners and their clients. AOTA Regulatory Affairs staff will be submitting comments to CMS voicing key concerns about the advance notice related to patient access to occupational therapy services. Below, AOTA provides a template letter with suggestions for comment areas and directions for members to submit comments directly to CMS.

Background

The SNF payment system has been under scrutiny by Congress, the CMS, and others, including the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), which reports to Congress, for many years. Changes have been made periodically since the PPS came into use in 1999, but recent efforts to control Medicare spending have pushed reform of payment for SNFs and other post–acute care settings to the forefront. A few years ago, CMS contracted with Acumen, LLC to develop alternative payment models for the existing SNF PPS. Dr. Natalie Leland, PhD, OTR/L, BCG, FAOTA, and Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Southern California, represented AOTA on the Technical Expert Panels (TEPs) held by Acumen in 2015 and 2016. In the May 4, 2017, publication of the advance notice, CMS solicits comments on a new Resident Classification System, Version I (RCS-I) that would replace the current Resource Utilization Groups, Version 4 (RUG-IV) for SNF PPS.

Details of Acumen’s work, TEP summaries, technical reports, and recommendations can be found on the CMS SNF PPS project page.

What is RCS-I?

As practitioners are aware, the current RUGs categories emphasize the counting of therapy minutes to determine the payment amount. The proposed RCS-I would change the system to emphasize patient characteristics, not services received. RCS-1 removes therapy minutes as a determinant of payment and creates a payment model based on resident clinical characteristics. In other words, the current system allows providers to receive payment for the therapy they decide to provide. A system based on clinical characteristics would determine the payment not on the amount of services provided, but rather define how many services a resident would receive based on identification of patient characteristics. Payment would flow from how the patient presents rather than from how much service is provided.

RCS-I would consist of 5 components, each with its own payment determinants, including a basic payment, or non-case-mix component, which covers SNF resources that do not vary according to resident characteristics, and 4 case-mix adjusted payment components. The payment would be determined by how a patient’s characteristics match up to groups of patients with similar characteristics; an estimate will be made in the system of how much should be paid for patients who have similar characteristics. The four components as proposed are:

  • Physical therapy/occupational therapy (PT/OT)
  • Speech-language pathology (SLP)
  • Nursing (covers nursing services and social services)
  • Non-therapy ancillary services

Section III.B.b. Physical and Occupational Therapy Case-Mix Classification beginning on page 20989 of the advance notice sets forth how occupational therapy services would be allotted for under RCS-I. The combining of PT and OT is of concern to AOTA. However, current MDS data collection shows little difference between the PT patient characteristics and OT patient characteristics. Researchers have focused on this lack of difference to support combining OT and PT need for payment purposes.

As noted above, the PT/OT component is only one determining factor, but it is significant.

To determine how the client’s characteristics relate to payment, residents would be categorized for PT/OT payment based on three resident characteristics within the MDS admission assessment:

  1. Clinical reason for resident’s SNF stay—uses item I8000 on the MDS 3.0;
  2. Resident’s functional status—based on self-performance of transfers, eating, and toileting; and
  3. Cognitive status—capitalizes on the Cognitive Function Scale (CFS), which is based on responses from the Brief Interview for Mental Status (BIMS) and Cognitive Performance Scale (CPS).

The clinical reason for the SNF stay in relation to OT and PT needs is used to categorize the patient into 1 of 5 clinical categories that Acumen identified as being generally predictive of PT/OT costs in SNFs:

  • Major Joint Replacement or Spinal Surgery
  • Other Orthopedic: orthopedic surgery (except major joint) and non-surgical orthopedic/musculoskeletal
  • Non-Orthopedic Surgery
  • Acute Neurologic
  • Medical Management: acute infections, cancer, pulmonary, cardiovascular and coagulations, medical management

AOTA is concerned that these categories are much too broad to be able to determine appropriate therapy needs. Co-morbidities are not fully included as factors influencing OT/PT need. AOTA is working to identify patients who might fall through the cracks and not get access to occupational therapy services. AOTA is also concerned about the timing and role of the occupational therapy evaluation in determining patient therapy needs.

The next step to identifying payment levels is determining patients’ functional and cognitive status characteristics. This information gathered as part of the data set on each patient would be used to finalize how much the SNF will be paid for the OT/PT services component. While the OT/PT status is only one component of the full payment level determined, this approach could dramatically affect the amount of therapy services provided to residents. Additionally, CMS would remove the existing 14-, 30-, 60-, and 90-day PPS assessments and only require the initial and discharge assessments, with significant change assessments if applicable. Further, CMS has failed to clearly define when a significant change assessment is warranted and its impact on therapy classification for payment purposes. This could be a noteworthy change in the number of assessments used to determine payment and may not capture changes in patient status.

Other concerns relate to how the proposed RCS-I will affect provision of and access to occupational therapy. AOTA is concerned with the limitations of the PT/OT clinical categories named above; the correct assessment of ADL components in determining the functional level; and failure to ensure that mild cognitive impairment is appropriately included in the cognitive determination. The effect of all of these limitations in the proposed system may seriously restrict which patients receive therapy and whether they receive the appropriate amount of therapy. Improving the PPS system could have beneficial effects on patients and on practitioners (e.g., fewer productivity pressures) but AOTA does not believe this proposed system has enough safeguards in place for implementation. In particular, RCS-I does not include protections that ensure the OT/PT allotment is used solely to provide therapy services, nor does it ensure that patients receive medically necessary services of the proper type. Rationing may occur, and domination of one discipline in a facility may affect how the OT/PT allotment is apportioned. AOTA is concerned that patient needs will not drive the system after a payment amount or category has been determined.

Call to Action—What Can You Do?

Comments are due online by 11:59 pm eastern standard time on June 26, 2017. You can submit comments to CMS, too! There is power in numbers and you can voice your concerns directly to CMS if you believe these changes negatively impact your patients and your ability to provide medically necessary services in a SNF setting. AOTA has developed a template letter to assist practitioners in submitting comments online to CMS by June 26. We encourage you to customize the letter with your own concerns. Specific examples of the types of patients who fall outside of the 5 clinical categories that may fall through the cracks in RCS-I would be particularly powerful. We encourage you to draft your letter in Word prior to going to the submission website.

Once your comment letter is ready for submission, you may submit electronic comments on this regulation to https://www.regulations.gov.

  • Within the search bar, enter the Regulation Identifier Number associated with this regulation, 0938–AT17
  • Then click on the ‘‘Comment Now’’ box
  • Enter your comments into the comment box by copying and pasting from the document you have drafted in Word or personalized from the AOTA template.

View a web version

Exhibitor Registration

 

Exhibitor Registration

2017 ALOTA Fall Conference
September 22 – 24
Orange Beach, AL

Levels:

Platinum $1000 

  • Includes conference signage as reception sponsor
  • Sponsor logo on t-shirt
  • Sponsor logo in conference packets
  • One job listing in packet
  • Website/social media marketing as conference sponsor
  • Table and 2 attendees eligible to receive CEUs

Gold $850

  • Sponsor logo on t-shirt
  • Sponsor logo in conference packets
  • One job listing in packet
  • Website/social medial marketing as conference sponsor
  • Table and 2 attendees eligible to receive CEUs

Silver $700

  • Sponsor logo in conference packets
  • One job listing in packet
  • Website/social media marketing as conference sponsor
  • Table and 2 attendees eligible to receive CEUs

Bronze $600

  • Website/social media marketing as conference sponsor
  • Table and 1 attendee eligible to receive CEUs

 


Sponsor/Exhibitor Registration
Company Name:
Person(s) attending for CEUs



If you or your organization needs to submit registration by check, please complete the following form and submit with your payment.

Exhibitor Registration Form

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Continuing Education Opportunity

Motivations, Inc. has medical rehabilitation training courses taught by the nation’s leading experts. Our CEU approvals meet State Board Requirements. We are offering an upcoming course for Occupational Therapists.

 

Course #306 Pediatric Feeding and Swallowing Disorders: A Medical, Motor, Behavioral Approach

 

Course Summary

Research indicates that the prevalence of pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders is 80% in the special needs population and 20% in typically developing children. Therefore, most pediatric clinicians will encounter this disorder in some for or another. Feeding disorders come in all shapes and sizes, such as coughing/choking during meals, poor oral-motor skill acquisition, food refusal, oral aversion, G-Tube dependence and more. One must be versed in oral-motor and swallowing techniques, respiration, GI issues, nutrition, motor/postural alignment, and behavior strategies.

This is a two-day course focusing on how to approach pediatric feeding and swallowing disorders, how to diagnose and prioritize treatment options, and ensure successful outcomes for you and your patients. Day one will concentrate on medical and nutritional intervention strategies, while day two will focus on evaluation and therapeutic intervention. If children are available, there will be 1-2 live evaluations.

 

Location and Date:  Tuscaloosa, AL  –  University of Alabama   September 23 – 24, 2017

Registration Contact:  Scott Bostonadmin@motivationsceu.com

Registration Link:  http://www.cvent.com/events/-306-pediatric-feeding-and-swallowing-disorders-a-medical-motor-behavioral-approach/event-summary-dc07cc9a49c24b5b97f55450d3904ac3.aspx?Refid=123

Company Website:  https://www.motivationsceu.com/

 

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AOTA Award Winners

AOTA Award Winners

American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA)
2017 Awards & Recognitions Winners

 

Congratulations to the recipients of the 2017 AOTA Awards & Recognitions winners. Alabama was well-represented, with many of the recipients being from our state! The awards ceremony was held at the 2017 AOTA Annual Conference & Centennial Celebration on Saturday April 1st in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

 

AOTA Roster of Fellows

Dr. Gwendolyn Gray, MA, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Pioneering Pediatric Practices in Rural School Systems

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Dr. Angela Thomas-Davis, EdD, MPA, OTR/L, FAOTA
Academic Leadership, Professional Advocacy and Collaboration

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AOTA Roster of Honor

Tara Franks Bailey, BS, COTA
Passionate Role Model Inspiring Action & Commitment

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Emerging & Innovative Practice Award

Dr. Jan Rowe, DrOT, OTR/L, FAOTA
Advancement of Innovative Treatment by Occupational Therapists

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2017 AOTA Service Commendations

Valley Osborne McCurry, MBA, OTR/L

ASAP Representative, Representative Assembly, 2014 – 2017
Vice-Chairperson, Affiliated State Association Presidents (ASAP), 2014 – 2017