HTS is thrilled to be exhibiting at the 2015 APTA National Student Conclave in Omaha, Nebraska! In anticipation of the conference, we’ve put together a list of tips for getting the most out of your conference experience, whether it’s this event or a future state or national conference:

  • Before the event, determine what you hope to gain from the conference. The APTA has compiled a fantastic website for the event and the programming information can be found at  Upon reviewing the available options, prepare a schedule for yourself based on topics that are most relevant to your studies and most beneficial to your professional development.
  • If you need to document your conference attendance for class credit or CEU’s, be sure to find out in advance what is required so that you can get the necessary credit for participation. Also, you might find it beneficial to develop a strategy to organize and catalogue the notes and handouts from programs after the event.
  • Contrary to popular belief, you can use your time in the exhibit hall for more than just gathering the free stuff! The exhibit hall presents a fantastic opportunity to learn more about your profession and network with future employers.  Since you’ve already determined what you hope to gain from the conference, now you can review the list of exhibitors and figure out which booths would be most advantageous for you to visit.
  • Should you decide to use your time at the conference to network with future employers, you might find it useful to pack business cards or address labels with your contact information to share with your new contacts. This will allow you to spend more time connecting and less time writing your contact information.
  • You’ll likely only have a few moments with each potential employer so prepare a few questions in advance. Some suggestions:
    • In which setting does your company work?
    • Where are your job opportunities and do you offer relocation assistance?
    • Do you offer any mentorship for newly licensed therapists?

We hope you find these tips helpful and looking forward to seeing you at State and National conferences throughout the year!  Be sure to stop by the HTS Booth #519 and talk with Jessica Bashir and Holly Skidmore!

Jessica Bashir is the College Recruiter for Healthcare Therapy Services. Jessica manages collegiate relationships and educates and consults with physical, occupational and speech therapy students prior to entering the work force.  Additionally, Jessica connects students looking for clinical field work in one of HTS’ 100+ clinical sites. Look for her at a networking event near you! You can reach her via email at or by phone at (800) 486-4449 ext. 134

By: Aretoula Nahas, PTA, Director of Outpatient Therapy

As the average age of entry for licensed assisted living is 85 years of age, senior living providers are very focused on keeping their residents as independent for as long as possible. As a provider of contract physical, occupational and speech therapy in Assisted Living and Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), our goal is to proactively address functional and cognitive decline so that residents can maintain their highest level of ability. From what we see on a daily basis, and reviewing ER admissions and national reports, most functional declines in active adults happen because of five primary reasons:

  1. Lack of muscle building exercise
  2. Environmental factors
  3. Chronic illness
  4. New injury or illness
  5. Medications

Functional decline means that a person shows a decreased ability to do daily tasks properly compared to their ability to do these same tasks three months prior. A decline often signifies the presence of an acute onset, a new underlying medical condition or exacerbation of an existing condition.

Falls are the single largest reason of decline among active adults. Falls can happen any due to any of the five primary reasons listed above. Think of a fall as the ultimate loss of balance. There are multiple factors to a fall that present themselves well before a fall takes place. Through QAPI, standardized therapy testing and formalized Fall Risk Management programs, we are able to peel back the layers to determine “root cause” for the fall.  A strong Fall Risk Management program is often tailored to treating the root cause factor that caused the fall, rather than all of the risk factors a patient has for falling. Falls are due to intrinsic factors (illness or medications) may not be prevented easily. Falls due to extrinsic factors (environmental factors) can be prevented or significantly reduced with extra precautions and education.

Provision of safety devices such as: grab bars and handles, high friction floors and footwear, as well as even (meaning no shadows to throw off depth perception) high power lighting can prevent or reduce a significant number of environmental falls. Regular exercise focused on core and lower body strength, consistent monitoring of and review of medications and therapeutic interventions for ongoing medical problems can significantly help to reduce the number of falls associated functional decline.

Functional Decline could be physical and/or cognitive in nature. When partnering with senior living providers, we take special care to train all staff including environmental, housekeeping and dietary to identify functional and cognitive decline. This could be anything from “furniture walkers”, increased maintenance calls to someone coughing through a meal in the dining room. There are consistent characteristics for a resident at risk for falling:

  • Functional decline include difficulty with ADLs (Activities of Daily Living) such as dressing or undressing safely
  • Lack of balance, any unexplained bruises
  • Loss of flexibility
  • New pain, taking more medication than usual
  • New medication
  • Significant weight loss within 30 days
  • Speech impairment or inability to follow simple commands
  • Signs of anti-social behavior or depression, not participating in life enrichment as usual
  • Decreased activity tolerance or coordination, lack of attention
  • Decreased stamina or strength

Everyone working around active adults should be trained and be able to report a decline to the clinical team. Although prevention is best for any decline, recognizing and reporting resident declines in a timely manner helps to manage the decline efficiently. Timely intervention will help the resident maintain or regain functional independence.

Aretoula Nahas is a Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) and the Director of Outpatient Services for Healthcare Therapy Services, Inc. (HTS). HTS is an independent, therapist-owned contract provider of physical, occupational, speech therapy and wellness for assisted living, skilled nursing facilities and hospitals. HTS currently employs over 1,800 therapists and provides contract rehabilitation to over 100 clients in Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Michigan and Ohio.  For more information, contact

Every year, the National Rehabilitation Awareness Foundation designates the 3rd week in September to educate people about the benefits and impact of rehabilitation. Physical Therapists, Occupational Therapists, and Speech-Language Pathologists all work together to help individuals overcome obstacles and accomplish normal tasks of daily living. Here is a little bit about each therapy discipline: Read more

While Americans are living longer than ever before, it’s a wide known fact that women typically live longer than men. However, according to, “by taking care of themselves, experts agree, men can boost their odds of living healthier, longer lives.” Read more

Jimmo v. Sebelius – Medicare Lawsuit Summary

Jimmo V. Sebelius is a court case we have all been hearing about and reading about on the internet regarding quality of life. The case involved Medicare beneficiaries and The Center for Medicare Advocacy (non-for-profit) who filed a lawsuit regarding what they have termed the improvement standard by which Medicare beneficiaries who could benefit from services were denied services because they could not make enough progress. The Medicare regulations never held such language as the improvement standard; this was a general guideline that developed with increasing medical review of Medicare claims. Eventually, this standard was stated outright in claim denials for services such as therapy. The lack of progress was typically used to substantiate that the services were not medically necessary or worthwhile. Read more

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released Consumer Guidance regarding portable bed rails safety and tips for caretakers on December 19, 2013. The recommendations were released because of the continuing injuries and deaths related to entrapment and falls associated with bed rail products. Overall, there is no standard definition for bed rails but they are typically divided into three distinct types: adult portable bed rails, child portable bed rails, and hospital bed rails. Adult portable bed rails are different from hospital beds, which feature a unified system of mattress, frame, and rails. Read more

CMS has issued a memo, MM8268, stating that MACs are to redact the HICN number on all MRNs. MRNs are reconsideration request forms. The HICN will only show partial with asterisks in front, similar to what some credit card companies do when sending you a statement. This is to begin January 1, 2014.

See link below:

This is an update to the issue identified where some SNF claims (type of bill 21x) were being cancelled erroneously for not meeting the three day qualifying hospital stay requirement when in fact the requirement was met. After further analysis by the Common Working File (CWF), it was determined that this only impacted SNF claims where the inpatient claim (type of bill 11x) posted on CWF contained dates of service less then four calendar days and the discharge date was equal to the SNF claim admission date. Read more

The Five Star rating system, upgraded in 2009, combined with increases in online rating systems that the consumer relies on to make decisions, has definitely made a splash in long term care. The Five-Star Rating system has somewhat changed the way we choose communities for our loved ones. Consumer behavior still supports word of mouth references, geographic proximity and appearances certainly are very important when choosing a community; however, many hospital case managers and area agencies are looking for those 5 little stars. Increased need for Five-Stars has also impacted who our hospitals choose to partner with for health services.  Let’s face it…even though this rating system doesn’t truly define you, it can make or break you. Read more

The CDC has been tracking a resistant bacteria call carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae or CRE since 2001. This bacterium causes infections that are resistant to antibiotics and have affected people who are in or recently had inpatient medical care. CRE has affected 4% of short-stay hospitals and 18% of long-term acute care hospitals all having at least one case of CRE. Read more