House of Delegates Report

December 2020

I am pleased to provide this update on the activities of the Oregon delegation to the APTA House of Delegates.   First and foremost, we congratulate and welcome the recipients of the Emerging Student Leader Award: Mason Flores, SPT, and Rebekkah Jolliff, SPTA.  They demonstrate excellence in leadership activities, and we look forward to their input on the delegation.  We also welcome other new members: Nicole Biltz (alternate delegate), and Julie Buker (alternate PTA Caucus Representative).  Other delegates who were reelected were Annie Bargmann, Lisa Flexner, Tabitha Galindo, Tiffany King, and Leigh Reece.  I reached the term limit to serve as Chief Delegate, but was elected as a delegate, and Tasha Macilveen was elected to serve as the Chief Delegate. Jeannie Thompson was also reelected as PTA Caucus Representative.  We offer our sincere gratitude to Keaton Ray who has provided outstanding service to the delegation for several years.  She did not seek reelection as a delegate in order to manage her expanding business, which is working to improve the physical therapy experience for patients nationwide. We wish her well. 

The typical schedule of activities throughout the governance year is changing as we transition to a new meeting date for the House of Delegates.  Beginning in 2021, it will shift from June to September.  Consequently, some of the activities that normally occur in the fall, such as 2 national Virtual Town Halls, have not yet been scheduled.  Nonetheless, we continue to address the comprehensive revision of the APTA Bylaws under the direction of the Special Committee on Bylaws (SCB).  They have created a Bylaws Concepts Document that includes 38 Concepts for consideration.  Several virtual listening sessions were conducted with targeted audiences in September, and further opportunities for written feedback continued into October. We now await proposals to be presented by the SCB based upon that feedback.

Individuals in the delegation provided input throughout that phase of the process.  As a delegation, we are currently focused on the potential expansion of the rights and privileges of the PTA within the APTA.  We are collaborating with the TX and WA delegations, as well as the PTA Caucus, to monitor these issues, including voting rights within components and the House of Delegates, and the right to hold office on the APTA Board of Directors.  We are prepared to draft motions depending upon the proposals forthcoming from the SCB.

It has been a true honor and pleasure to serve as the Chief Delegate for the past 3 years. This delegation is dedicated to serve the best interests of our profession, and is fully engaged in achieving this through the governance process and interaction with colleagues across the country.  I look forward to continuing to serve with them as a delegate.

Respectfully submitted,

Michael A Pagliarulo, PT, MA, EdD
Chief Delegate, Oregon


July 2020

APTA House of Delegates adopts Oregon Resolution on Impact and Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Once again, the Oregon delegation to the APTA House of Delegates (HOD) was fully engaged throughout the governance cycle that concluded with the annual HOD meeting in June.  This included posts and comments by nearly every member of the delegation prior to and during the HOD.  The COVID-19 pandemic has had an extraordinary impact on our professional and personal lives, which necessitated an unprecedented virtual meeting of the HOD using the Zoom platform.  To acknowledge the impact of the pandemic and the response of our profession and association, our delegation drafted a Resolution that was refined and adopted by the House by a 99% affirmative vote. The formal version will be posted in the minutes of the HOD in August, so here is the draft version:

Resolution: Acknowledgement of Impact and Response to COVID-19 Pandemic

Whereas, The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and its members grieve the loss of life and significant impact on health and well-being associated with the COVID-19 pandemic;

Whereas, This pandemic has further exposed the influence of social determinants of health and the disparities that negatively impact health, movement, and wellness;

Whereas, Physical therapists and physical therapist assistants have continued to provide essential health services to optimize movement under extraordinary circumstances, while continuing to demonstrate their core values of duty, compassion and caring, excellence, and social responsibility;

Whereas, For some physical therapists and physical therapist assistants the impact of the pandemic has resulted in diminished work hours, furlough, or termination;

Whereas, Faculty and students in physical therapy education programs have rapidly shifted to on-line instruction and accommodated significant changes in both academic and clinical education; and

Whereas, The APTA has continued to address the impact of the pandemic on society by continuing to provide guidance and assistance to the members of our profession, the public, and our interprofessional colleagues through the services and actions of staff, components, the Board of Directors, and an unprecedented virtual House of Delegates;

Resolved, That physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students have a responsibility to address inequities as heightened during this pandemic; and

Resolved, That the APTA stands in solidarity with its members and the society they serve, and pledges its continued support and efforts to restore workforce opportunities and equitable access to physical therapist services; and

Resolved, That the delegates of the House of Delegates honor the commitment of APTA staff, leaders of our association, and members of our profession in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and offer our deepest gratitude and support as we work together to achieve the mission of our association and vision of our profession to build a community and transform society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.

The HOD also adopted another motion presented by our delegation, which amended an existing position on environmental stewardship to make it broader in scope. Other motions addressed professional issues, charges for action, and bylaw amendments.  Adopted motions on professional issues included support of efforts to ensure patient safety, financial transparency in physical therapy education, interprofessional collaboration on behavioral and mental health, and for emergency physical therapy practice; expansion of the definition of underrepresented minority populations in physical therapy education to include those individuals with disabilities; and opposition to decisions by the World Confederation for Physical Therapy that do not align with its policies on diversity and inclusion. Charges included creating a database on the supply of PTs and PTAs for workforce planning, identification of barriers and opportunities for emergency physical therapist services, explore the scope of uncompensated physical therapist services, and to develop best practice strategies in telehealth in physical therapist services.  Significant among the adopted bylaw amendments was approval of voting rights for the sections, which had been a multi-year effort.  A proposed amendment to a Standing Rule that described categories of HOD documents evolved into a potentially evolutionary decision on shared governance between the HOD and Board of Directors.  The motion was referred to a Special Committee on Bylaws for consideration with recommendations next year. 

The 3-day virtual HOD was very well designed and successful…yet exhausting!  A few weeks after the event, our delegation met to debrief, and is already busy considering issues to share for the next governance cycle.  We are also considering means to be in communication with you, the APTA Oregon members, to provide opportunities for your input, and ensure we represent your interests.  We wish you all good health, and are grateful for your service during these difficult times.

Respectfully submitted,
Michael A Pagliarulo, PT, MA, Ed, Chief Delegate, Oregon

January 2020

Oregon Developing Amendment to Broaden Impact on APTA Position on Environmental Stewardship

Your Oregon delegation to the APTA House of Delegates (HOD) is already busy with activities in preparation of the 2020 HOD this June.  We have drafted language to amend an APTA position titled Support Of Environmentally Responsible Practice By The American Physical Therapy Association And Its Members, so that it is broader in scope.  The current language limits the target to APTA members, and focuses the activity to use of “alternatives to environmentally harmful substances.”  Our concern is that environmental stewardship is much broader.  As of this writing, the language of the motion is, For the health of individuals, communities, and society, the American Physical Therapy Association supports environmental stewardship and a commitment to environmental sustainability.”  This is deliberately broad in the target audience and activities, and includes everything from choosing not to use plastic straws, to promoting international agreements to address the impact of climate change.  The NJ delegation has proposed a similar motion on this issue, which focuses on the impact of climate change, “The APTA supports public awareness of the impact of climate change on the health and safety of individuals, communities, and society.”  We have collaborated to construct a 3rd version that combines both concepts and posted them for comments by delegates. We will keep you updated on the language of this issue as we continue through this governance cycle. 

A major consideration for the HOD over the next 2 years will be a revision of the APTA bylaws.  A special committee of the HOD was approved last June for this task.  The process with begin with some broad considerations for the HOD in 2020. Decisions on those considerations will then direct the committee to develop more specific language for consideration in 2021. 

Several motions from chapters and sections are already under development for consideration in 2020. For this reason, our delegation had 2 meetings this fall, and the newly elected members joined them – even before their terms began on January 1st!  This demonstrates how the APTA governance cycle continues to move toward “year-round governance,” and how we need to reconsider the start date of terms for the members of our delegation. We have considered this issue, and provided input to an OPTA task force that is currently reviewing our bylaws for updates and amendments on a suggested mechanism to move up the start date.

It is a pleasure and honor to continue to work with the dedicated members of our delegation, including the 2 student recipients of the OPTA Emerging Student Leader award, who joined us in January.   Do not hesitate to contact any of these individuals to discuss any of the issues regarding the HOD:  Delegates: Tabitha Galindo, Tiffany King, Tasha Macilveen, Keaton Ray, Leigh Reece, Luke Snelling; Alternate Delegate: Lisa Flexner; PTA Rep: Jeannie Thompson; Alternate PTA Rep: Terin Hill; SPT: Gavin McBride; SPTA: Michelle Spindler.

Respectfully submitted,  Michael A Pagliarulo, Chief Delegate