APTA Hosts PASS — the Physical Therapy and Society Summit.

A first-of-its-kind event for APTA and the physical therapy profession, PASS — held in a think tank-type atmosphere at a prominent retreat center outside Washington, D.C. — brought together physical therapists with non-physical therapists representing government, health policy, academia, engineering, bioscience, and information technology. Its specific aim, per the 2006 House of Delegates motion that proposed it, was to discuss “how physical therapists can meet current, evolving, and future health needs.”

As a subsequent recap in the journal Physical Therapy put it, the two-day event “sent a clear message that for physical therapists to be effective and thrive in the health care environment of the future, a paradigm shift is required. At PASS,” the article continued, “participants reframed our traditional focus on the physical therapist and the patient/client (consumer) to one in which physical therapists are an integral part of a collaborative, multidisciplinary health care team with the health care consumer as its focus.”

PASS participants called on individual physical therapists and the physical therapy profession to go beyond the inward-facing focus of Vision 2020, which had been adopted nine years earlier, and:

  • Reorient practice, education, and research to a health care system that puts consumers at its center and includes physical therapists as important partners in multidisciplinary care;
  • Break down silos between the clinical, academic, and research realms in pursuit of societal goals;
  • Use physical therapists’ knowledge and skills to take leadership in the areas of prevention, health, and wellness;
  • Consider the social determinants of health in administering care; and
  • Become leaders in developing, testing, and applying new technologies to optimize care delivery and measure outcomes.

As then-House Speaker Shawne Soper observed a decade later, PASS “further boosted our confidence as a profession and told us that the time had come to see where we could make a broader difference in society.” PASS, she added, was a pivotal link in the chain of events that culminated in the adoption four years later, in 2013, of a new and explicitly outward-facing vision for physical therapy.

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