The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT), the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the Foreign Credentialing Commission on Physical Therapy (FCCPT), and APTA’s Section on Health Policy and Administration (HPA: The Catalyst) have announced the selection of the physical therapy program at Duke University to develop, run, and administer a 10-module online course on the healthcare delivery system in the US for internationally educated physical therapists.

A news release from the APTA notes that the goal centers on improving patient care and ensuring public protection by helping foreign-educated physical therapists learn the “ins and outs” of the US healthcare system, to overcome hurdles resulting from cultural differences and achieve a smoother, faster transition.

The effort finds its roots in a joint venture forged between FASBPT, APTA, FCCPT, and HPA known as The Catalyst. According to the release, the group joined forces just over a year ago with the aim to research the feasibility of such a program for the United States, and to develop a sample course outline designed to educate the internationally educated physical therapist, who plans to obtain a license to practice in the United States, about the culture, context, organization, and operation of healthcare in America. The endeavor, the release adds, was led by a multi-organizational project-development team comprised of representatives from each of the participating entities. A request for proposal was issued in December 2014.

Maggie Donohue, PT, president, FSBPT, adds that the organization is pleased that the project has been awarded and looks forward to the course being available to graduates of non-United States physical therapy programs.

“It will not only assist in their assimilation into the workforce, but will also help assure their competence in areas that aren’t covered in their home education programs,” Donohue explains in the release.

The release states that the education model will be made to provide guidance to foreign-educated physical therapists on various aspects of the American healthcare system, including the role of the federal and states’ governments in the healthcare system, a basic understanding of Medicare and Medicaid, the role of private insurance, proper use and supervision of support personnel, ethics and integrity in practice, direct access, cultural competence, billing, and more. The module will be available to take online through Duke University, and participants will receive college credits for completing it.

Sharon L. Dunn, PT, PhD, OCS, APTA president, congratulates Duke University and offers her thanks to the 10 other candidates who submitted proposals.

“This is a fantastic example of what can be achieved when leading groups in healthcare collaborate to achieve a common goal, and we are excited to get the ball rolling,” Dunn says. The release says Dunn then thanked each of APTA’s partnering organizations for the role they played.

Each submission, the release notes, was de-identified to ensure freedom from bias prior to the selection committee receiving the proposals. The selection committee reportedly developed a rating scale based on the criteria listed in the original request for proposal. While there is no financial assistance or grant monies awarded to Duke, FSBPT, APTA, FCCPT, and HPA: The Catalyst will serve as consultants in the content development of the course.

[Source: APTA]