ABPTRFE Quality Standards Update
- August 14, 2017
- Posted by: Pieter Kroon
- Category: Uncategorized
The ABPTRFE has issued new quality standards for Fellowship and Residency Programs. The American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education (ABPTRFE) is the credentialing agency for Fellowship and Residency Programs.
Quite a few of you have already contacted me with concerns in regards to the new quality standards.Instead of answering each email individually, I thought it would be better to explain it in a blog post.
They have proposed a variety of changes, but the one that concerns us mostly is the proposed change in admission standards fellowship programs. Currently, you can gain admission to a Fellowship program in 3 different ways:
1.Proof of sufficient skill/experience in your chosen field of specialization
3.Completion of a residency program
The new standards would do away with the first option and only leave the last two in place, with an effective date of January 1, 2018.
Suffice it to say that this has caused a significant problem for the majority of manual therapy fellowship programs. Programs like MTI get the vast majority of their applicants through the first option. You go through the first year of the program, do your mid term written and practical exam, and then automatically matriculate in the fellowship program. We use the first year as a “pre-fellowship” training program.Over the last 5 years we have graduated 175 Fellows, and only 5 of those were admitted through completion of a residency program.
Doing away with this option is a solution for a problem that does not exist, and it causes quite a few unintended problems. The first problem is that the amount of applicants to manual therapy fellowship programs will decrease dramatically. Having to complete a residency program first is expensive, and to put a fellowship program on top of that is something that most PT’s can ill afford from a financial standpoint. You don’t earn more money for being a Fellow, or if you do, it is not significantly more. Student loan debts are a major problem as it is already and this will put fellowship education out of reach for a lot of PT’s. In addition to the financial issue is the fact that there are just not enough graduates from orthopedic residency programs. Where will our fellowship students come from?
It has also been proven that orthopedic residency programs are not changing practice patterns, but manual therapy fellowship programs do (Rodeghero 2015). We should emphasize manual therapy fellowship training, but with the proposed changes the emphasis will forever be on orthopedic residency training.The curriculum of residency programs is just not stringent enough, or in depth enough, to educate clinical experts. What will happen is that manual therapists will be relegated to the fringe of orthopedic physical therapy, instead of being the standard bearers by which all other therapists are measured.
Suffice it to say that the AAOMPT Board of Directors is working hard behind the scenes to remedy the proposed changes. The proposed changes are not set in stone yet. I will keep you posted as things progress.
For more information about this topic, check out the following podcast on Talus Media News. This is a podcast which contains an update on the ABPTRFE quality standards. There are also ACA insights.
The ABPTRFE Chair, Dr Tammy Burlis is interviewed on the podcast,as well as yours truly. More detailed information on these interviews are here: http://www.talusmedia.org/