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Showing posts from November, 2016

Guest entry: Taking a stand for patient safety with the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program

A number of my students at Keuka College have been working on policy and advocacy projects that I wanted to share.  The students researched a topic of their interest, met with their legislators, and developed a broad action plan to increase awareness of their topics.  

This information in the form of a narrative blog post is provided courtesy of a graduate student who is interested in promoting increased awareness of impacts of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program.  Because the author only has fieldwork experience and the facility or patient could be possibly identified, with the student's permission I have conducted my standard 'ABC Therapeutics mash-up' of details and narrative so that the intent of the experience could be expressed while maintaining confidentiality. 

In school occupational therapists learn all about diagnostic conditions.  They also learn about ways that people might have difficulties with their occupations.  Occupational therapists also lear…

Guest entry: Advocating for FERPA rights

A number of my students at Keuka College have been working on policy and advocacy projects that I wanted to share.  The students researched a topic of their interest, met with their legislators, and developed a broad action plan to increase awareness of their topics.  

This information is provided courtesy of Sarah Watson, a graduate student who is interested in promoting increased awareness of privacy concerns and FERPA in context of computerized record keeping and documentation.

Extra note: I was really happy to see one of my students tackle this topic - I have seen many privacy breaches because of improper permission settings in common software used by many school districts, most notably the IEP Direct product.  School support personnel need to be regularly inserviced on how to use permission settings so that providers do not have blanket access to a district's entire special education database.  This is a common problem.

Additionally, procedures need to be tightened so that n…

Guest entry: Advocating for a loan repayment bill that could impact occupational therapy

A number of my students at Keuka College have been working on policy and advocacy projects that I wanted to share.  The students researched a topic of their interest, met with their legislators, and developed a broad action plan to increase awareness of their topics.  

This information is provided courtesy of Nagella AL-Balushi, a graduate student who is interested in promoting a bill that improves health professional workforce distribution via a loan repayment program when practitioners work in underserved areas.

"Greetings fellow OT students and future colleagues,

I am a graduate OT student seeking opinions, feedback and thoughts about a legislative bill that would potentially have a great impact on the field of OT if passed​!

This act would have three main professional consequences including establishing a new​​​ ​federal loan repayment system​​​, ​increasing the overall distribution of our ​health care services, and ultimately making the role of OT more commonly under…

Guest entry: Advocating for canine training programs that benefit veterans

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A number of my students at Keuka College have been working on policy and advocacy projects that I wanted to share.  The students researched a topic of their interest, met with their legislators, and developed a broad action plan to increase awareness of their topics.  

This information is provided courtesy of Nina Fusco, a graduate student who is interested in increasing awareness to HR 3016, particularly those sections that support canine training programs that would benefit veterans who have PTSD and other conditions.


"The Veterans Employment, Education, and Healthcare Improvement Act is a federal bill currently in committee in the Senate. Upon meeting with a legislative aid from Senator Gillibrand's office, it was recommended to me that attaining statewide and nationwide support would be the best course of action. Support from both New York and the nation will help push to amend and reintroduce Veterans Employment, Education, and Healthcare Improvement Act.  I hav…

Guest entry: Advocating for co-payment reform in New York State

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A number of my students at Keuka College have been working on policy and advocacy projects that I wanted to share.  The students researched a topic of their interest, met with their legislators, and developed a broad action plan to increase awareness of their topics.  

This information is provided courtesy of Tori Persons, a graduate student who is interested in legislation that would help alleviate the burden of out of pocket costs for people receiving occupational therapy services.  

"Existing laws in New York have stated that health plans must cover occupational therapy services.

However, the insurance companies have found loopholes and bypassed these laws. They did this by shifting the majority of the costs for OT services onto the patients by increasing the cost of copayments.
This increase in copayment cost has caused financial burdens on patients, changed access to occupational therapy services, and overall has defeated the purpose of insurance coverage for occupat…

Guest entry: Advocating for people who have traumatic brain injuries

A number of my students at Keuka College have been working on policy and advocacy projects that I wanted to share.  The students researched a topic of their interest, met with their legislators, and developed a broad action plan to increase awareness of their topics.  

This information is provided courtesy of Ashlee Lytle, a graduate student who is interested in advocating for people who have traumatic brain injuries.  Under a current plan, transitioning this population to a managed care system will impact the quality of their care.


"As I am soon entering the profession of occupational therapy this May, I have become increasingly interested in the individuals that I will soon be providing services for. 
After researching information regarding traumatic brain injury, which is my area of interest, I came across the transition plan proposed by the Medicaid Redesign Team to remove the Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) & Nursing Home Transition and Diversion (NHTD) waivers that…

Guest entry: Advocating for occupational therapy wellness programs

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A number of my students at Keuka College have been working on policy and advocacy projects that I wanted to share.  The students researched a topic of their interest, met with their legislators, and developed a broad action plan  to increase awareness of their topics.  

This information is provided courtesy of Emily Scholl, a graduate student who is interested in promoting occupational therapy's involvement in wellness programs.  She found an interesting bill that promotes wellness in NY State and is advocating for occupational therapy to be added to the existing bill.

"Occupational Therapy should be added to the list of qualified wellness programs in NYS Assembly bill A4238.

The 2015-16, in-process, NYS Assembly bill A4238 authorizes NYS health insurers & HMOs to provide policyholders with reductions in healthcare premiums and potentially waiving related costs or co-payments, in exchange for active, voluntary participation in approved wellness programs.  This poli…

Guest entry: Advocating for a workload approach in school systems

A number of my students at Keuka College have been working on policy and advocacy projects that I wanted to share.  The students researched a topic of their interest, met with their legislators, and developed a broad action plan  to increase awareness of their topics.  

This information is provided courtesy of Jenna Soldaczewski, a graduate student who is interested in promoting a workload approach in school systems.  She found out how a parallel profession in NY (speech therapy) promoted change by advocating for alterations to the Part 200 NYS regulations that govern special education:


Many occupational therapists in school settings have caseloads so large that it negatively impacts the way that they can help children.  Some therapists have proposed using a 'workload' approach for better managing productivity in the school systems.

After studying the caseload versus workload approach debate I created a quick presentation to encourage and inform OTs about what they can do to ad…

Support for ESSA - not as simple as you think

This week has been identified as the #OTWeekOfAction by the American Occupational Therapy Association.  They are encouraging member actions on a number of policy initiatives; however, as noted in the previous blog post, it is important for occupational therapists to independently assess the nature of these proposals before blindly writing letters of support to Congress.

Individuals may learn that they agree with the positions of the professional association or they may learn that they disagree. 

Today's topic is the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) which is an important law for pediatric practitioners to be aware of.  The act was signed into law in December 2015 and its purpose is to replace the No Child Left Behind Act.  ESSA has new requirements for accountability and transparency in school operations and includes mandates for low performing schools.  It continues the NCLB testing regime and mandates 95% participation in testing for grades 3-8.  However, only 1% of all student…

The importance of rational policy analysis for occupational therapists

The OT Capital Briefing in the November 7, 2016 OT Practice analyzes two Supreme Court cases that are summarized together as follows:

If the Supreme Court finds in favor of the families in both cases, the expertise occupational therapy practitioners provide will be more important than ever to ensure students with disabilities receive a meaningful education, and that schools fully comply with the ADA and Section 504.
This is a confusing summary because neither case has anything to do with OT specifically and in fact if the Supreme Court finds in favor of the families there may be unintended consequences that are damaging.

In the first case, Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, the issue of concern has to do with what constitutes FAPE, or a free appropriate public education.  In this case the parents removed their child from school because they believed that his progress was insufficient as it relates to his autism condition.  The enrolled him in a private school instead and ar…