In This Issue
New GAC Structure
Legislative Update
A Well Funded Army
Key Contacts Program
Quick Links

August 2012 Issue


Welcome to the first edition of GACinsider, the legislative newsletter from the TPTA Government Affairs Committee. The GACinsider will keep members abreast of legislative happenings that potentially impact the practice of Physical Therapy in Texas.


GA Committee: A New Structure
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The Government Affairs Committee (GAC) has gone through a restructuring since the last legislative session in an attempt to strengthen our ability to stay abreast of issues on the state and federal levels.  The GAC is now led by committee co-chairs Brant Capps, TPTA Vice-President, and Mike Connors.  The committee has been divided into four different subcommittees in order to have a more equitable distribution of attention to all of the important legislative issues impacting the practice of physical therapy.  The four subcommittees of the GAC are State Scope Issues, State Non-Scope Issues, Federal Affairs and PAC Fundraising.  With the new committee structure in place, we are working diligently to ensure continued forward progression of the practice of PT for all TPTA members.  If you possess a desire to become involved in the work of one of the GAC subcommittees, then please contact either Brant Capps or Mike Connors.


Legislative Update
With the 83rd legislative session on the horizon, the GAC has opted to make enhancing patient access to PT services in Texas one of our top priorities.  As an association, we have been working diligently to enhance patient access to our services in Texas for the last couple of legislative sessions.  Due to the hard work and diligence of Eric Wilson and Nick Patel, we attained the highest level of progress with our patient access bill during the last legislative session than other previous sessions.  At present, there are 174 million Americans with better access to PT services than our patients here in Texas.  The GAC, working in conjunction with TPTA, will work to make enhanced patient access to PT services a reality for the Texans we serve.  In addition to the patient access bill, the committee is also exploring the feasibility of introducing legislation to add PT's to the list of acceptable providers to discern the readiness of an athlete to return to sport activity post concussion.  As other issues are brought to the attention of the committee, we will work to keep you abreast of the issues and the means in which the committee opts to respond to those issues.
PAC Column: "A Well Funded Army"
Donate to the TPTA PAC Today! When Brant Capps inquired with our TPTA lobbyist, Gregg Knaupe, what he would require for the upcoming legislative session, Gregg responded with the line of "a well funded army."  It seems like this is a far reaching request but it is exactly what it will take for us to achieve our goal for enhanced patient access to PT services in the upcoming legislative session.  No one person can make a difference but together, as a well funded army, we can make a difference.  In the past, we would utilize the request to donate to the PAC the cost of a daily cup of coffee.  Well, we are now asking for even less then what we previously did from each individual.  We are now requesting that everyone give their "fare" share to help support the PAC.  For the mere cost of fifteen cents a day (or the equivalent of sixty dollars a year), we are requesting all members to consider donating to the PAC.  If we were able to convince two thousand of our four thousand plus members to contribute fifteen cents a day to the PAC, that would correlate to a windfall to the PAC of $120,000.  To contribute to the PAC, visit this link.  You will be provided with the option to make a one time donation or a recurring donation of any amount.  The time is now for all of us to rise up and do our part to enhance patient access to our services in the great state of Texas!
Key Contacts: One Member at a Time
In addition to PAC fundraising being an integral part to the success of meeting the legislative goals of the organization, we also recognize the importance of developing a solid key contact program for not only state but also national legislators.  As a constituent of a legislator, you have a tremendous power to reach out and initiate dialogue with your specific legislator.  You elect these individuals for positions in public service and their primary role is to serve their constituents in their respective districts.  Like all great partnerships, the process begins with developing a relationship with your legislators. By developing these relationships now, we are positioning ourselves as an organization that can capture the attention of our legislators when issues pertinent to our profession are on the horizon.  We are requesting all TPTA districts to develop a key contact program for each legislator, state and federal, so that we can continue to be successful at enacting legislation to enhance patient utilization of physical therapy services.  If you are interested in becoming a key contact, then please contact your local district chair today so we can work to strengthen this important initiative.
Consumer Patient Access Web Site Revamp
In addition to the undergoing a site-wide redesign and restructure, the consumer web site is to being redesigned. Look for a launch of both sites the week of August 20th!

Not Direct Access, But Patient Access
The TPTA Strategic Planning session took place in Austin the weekend of July 20 to help shape the direction the association moves in over the next three years.  As a result of this planning, the legislative agenda for the GAC was established to help the committee focus on the most pertinent issues impacting the practice of PT in Texas.  One of the priorities of the GAC is to curb the use of the term "Direct Access" and instead opt for the terminology "Patient Access."  The term Direct Access has a provider-centric connotation that implies we are seeking to elevate our practice by enhancing the scope of practice of PT.  In reality, we are not seeking to enhance our scope of practice but rather enhance patient access to PT services.  Thus, we are now requesting that everyone utilize the terminology "Patient Access" when speaking about enhancing access to PT services.  The following priorities were outlined as the key issues for the GAC over the course of the next three years:

Strategic Goal 1: The legislative, regulatory and advocacy environment will support the physical therapist as the practitioner of choice for wellness, movement and function.

Objective 1: Enhance Patient Access to Physical Therapy in Texas.

Objective 2: Monitor ongoing state and federal legislation potentially impacting physical therapy practice.

As you can see from the goal and objectives outlined above, TPTA members from around the state have great expectations of the governmental affairs committee to protect and enhance the practice of physical therapy in the State of Texas.  All TPTA members are asked to take part in helping make the goals a reality.  Please call TPTA Executive Director Paul Hardin or GAC Co-Chairs Brant Capps and Mike Connors to find out how you can help.

In the mean time, look for future editions of the GACinsider and stay informed.


Brant Capps, PT, DPT, MS
(806) 584-2842

Mike Connors, PT, DPT, OCS
(732) 309-8002

Paul Hardin, CAE
(512) 477-1818