Hannah Belles, a first-year DPT student, visited Washington, D.C. at the beginning of May to be a part of the Federal Advocacy Forum. More than 1,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and students came together to advocate for the profession. Read Hannah’s thoughts about her experience below!
The Federal Advocacy Forum was an incredible opportunity to be a part of positively changing our profession! The first half of the forum included talks on current regulatory items that are in consideration and utilization of the APTA’s PT Outcomes Registry, as well as prep sessions that dove into the actual issues we would be speaking about during our meetings on the Hill. On Tuesday, we met with Senator Rubio’s healthcare legislative aid, Eduardo Sacasa, as well as various Florida representative aids, including my own district’s! The issues being discussed included: PT’s role in the opioid crisis, the inclusion of physical therapists as telehealth providers under Medicare, our opposition of the PROSPER Act that sets an arbitrary cap on student loans, and finally the benefit of the PT Outcomes Registry, which will provide a standardized way to collect outcomes to guide clinical practice and demonstrate physical therapy’s value. I was surprised that even as a student, I was encouraged to speak about my perspective and even had the chance to lead one of my meetings!
I felt like we were actually creating change by influencing those writing the policy. The meetings I took part in were full of thoughtful questions and engaging discussions showing me that these people truly care about our opinion on how we as physical therapists want to see change occur. More importantly, I was surrounded by such a passionate community of individuals taking the lead regarding the future of their profession. I left the forum feeling extremely hopeful and ready to conquer the world! I can’t wait for next year!