As you all know, over the past 3 years we have been trying hard to work with APTA/ABPTRFE to get in compliance with the new Quality Standards which will take effect on January 1, 2020. The most visible change that you probably will be familiar with is the change in admission requirements for the Manual Therapy Fellowship Programs.
As Manual Therapy Fellowship Programs we have to adhere to IFOMPT standards. If we don’t, we will lose our IFOMPT member status as a country, and our graduates cannot obtain Fellow status in the AAOMPT anymore. As it stands, IFOMPT standards are not compatible with ABPTRFE’s new Quality Standards. One example is that the new ABPTRFE standards only require 75 one on one contact hours, whereas IFOMPT standards require 150.
Additionally, there are provisions in the new ABPTRFE standards that make it virtually impossible for the larger multi-site programs like MTI, to survive from an economic standpoint.
Despite multiple meetings, lots of feedback from students, Program Directors and the AAOMPT Board of Directors, the ABPTRFE ultimately did not want to make accommodations for Manual Therapy Fellowship Programs. The new Quality Standards will take effect on January 1st and they will not be up for review until 2023.
This means is that we were facing the choice of stepping away from the ABPTRFE as our credentialing body, or having Manual Therapy Fellowship Programs slowly fade away into oblivion. Instead of being the standard bearer of excellence in orthopedic Physical Therapy, we would once again become an outlier, just like we were before the AAOMPT was formed in 1991.
Stepping away from the ABPTRFE as our credentialing agency is not a step to be taken lightly for a variety of reasons. However, over time it became clear that this needed to happen.
The AAOMPT board of Directors has decided that moving forward, there will be 2 routes for gaining the AAOMPT credential and recognition of our Fellows:
- 1: ABPTRFE minimum Standards + IFOMPT Standards
- IFOMPT Standards
Each Fellowship Program was asked to vote which route they were going to take. The Manual Therapy Institute has voted for IFOMPT Standards only. The AAOMPT will take over the credentialing, with the help of another credentialing agency. This will take time, and significant financial resources, but we do believe this is the best choice, considering all options.
What this means for us is that we will be doing business as usual. So our admission process will stay in place as it always has been. There will be no OCS/Residency requirement per January 1st. The first year of the Program will serve once again as “Pre-Fellowship” training and successful passing of the mid term written/practical exam will grant students automatic matriculation to the Fellowship portion of the program.
New grads can apply to the first year of the program, just as always.
Students don’t need to take their OCS, unless they choose to do so. And most important, students will be Fellows in the AAOMPT upon graduation of the Fellowship program.
A lot of the credit for all this needs to go to the current AAOMPT Board. They have really stepped it up over the last 6 months and were instrumental in allowing the individual programs to step away from ABPTRFE while staying in compliance with IFOMPT standards.
This is a lot of change in a very short time; so if you have any questions at all, contact me.