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1.       Intramuscular Manual Therapy more commonly known as “Dry needling (DN)” is a skilled intervention used by physical therapists that uses a thin filiform needle to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points, muscular, and connective tissues for the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments.

2.       The goal of dry needling treatment is to deactivate trigger points to facilitate the rehabilitation process of musculoskeletal dysfunction.

3.       Physical therapists have been safely performing dry needling in the United States for the past 25+ years, according to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy.

4.       Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation is recognized as one of the 10 essential health benefits by law under the Affordable Care Act.

5.       Dry needling is confirmed to be within PT scope in 25 states and Washington DC.

6.       The United States Military permits only licensed physicians AND physical therapists to perform dry needling on our military personnel.  In NJ, the 87th Medical Group Physical Therapy Clinic at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst offers dry needling as one of their services to active duty service members.

7.       Claims that the performance of dry needling by physical therapists is a threat to public safety issue are without merit.  In fact CNA, the underwriting company for the physical therapy professional liability insurance plan offered HPSO, the leading malpractice insurance carrier for physical therapists in the U.S., has reviewed their claims database specific to the issue of dry needling.  In a December 2014 letter to APTA, CNA reported that there are no trends relative to dry needling identified that would indicate this procedure presents a significant risk factor, nor does CNA foresee the practice of dry needling as having any immediate claim or rate impact.

8.       There have been no disciplinary actions taken by the NJ State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners related to physical therapists performing dry needling.

9.       A study published in 2010 in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine by an MD and a PhD concluded that “Its (dry needling) effectiveness has been confirmed in numerous studies and 2 comprehensive systematic reviews.  Dry needling can be used as part of complex treatment for chronic musculoskeletal pain…”

10.   Dry needling is only part of a comprehensive physical therapy program which includes neuromuscular, re-education, manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, postural correction, movement re-education, etc.

For more information visit




Brian Mason, PT, DPT, President, American Physical Therapy Association of New Jersey

The APTANJ is currently investigating an incident where one of your colleagues, a North Jersey physical therapist, was allegedly called by an out-of-state acupuncturist and threatened because the PT performs the intramuscular technique known as dry needling.  The PT (who is an APTANJ member) will demonstrate this expertise on the television program American Health Front which was scheduled to air on CBS in the NY/NJ Metro Region.

On Thursday, January 8th, the NJ Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NJAAOM) posted an “Action Alert” to their Facebook page asking acupuncturists and their patients “to call CBS and leave a complaint message.”  The NJAAOM sent the same message in an email yesterday.  The NJAAOM offered a script for individuals to use and named the APTANJ member’s practice in the body of the script.

APTANJ has learned that the producers of American Health Front and executives at CBS have received phone calls and emails demanding that the program not air.  The script on the NJAAOM Facebook page (and in the email) also contained a threat which stated that, “…airing the program will lead to countless complaints filed with the FCC.”

The APTANJ is extremely disappointed in the action taken by the NJAAOM to disrupt the business of one our members and the television program in which the PT was to be featured.  We take this issue extremely seriously.  There is no excuse for using intimidation or harassment to inject fear into any healthcare practitioner; especially when done by another individual or professional association.  The APTANJ does not condone this type of behavior nor would we expect it from any member, nonmember, or representative of our Association.

APTANJ has made it clear that we will support our member, their practice, and their upcoming segment on American Health Front.  We have contacted the NJ State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners and brought this harassment issue to their attention.  We have also been speaking with leaders at the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) about the NJAAOM’s actions against one of your colleagues to make sure that all members are protected and supported.  APTANJ is also in communication with our legal counsel to investigate possible options.

The APTANJ expects all licensed physical therapists and physical therapist assistants in New Jersey to conduct themselves in the highest manner both personally and professionally.  We expect the same from all associations and individuals in which we work with even if we disagree.  As an association, we will not tolerate harassment, intimidation or bullying at any level.

Thank you for your membership, your support and the continued advancement of the physical therapy profession in New Jersey.


Brian J. Mason, PT, DPT

AARP Announces Support to End Self-Referral Exception for Physical Therapy

The efforts by APTA, the Private Practice Section of APTA, and other organizations to transform health care by putting an end to self-referral loopholes for physical therapy and other health care services under Medicare received a high-profile boost recently, when the 38 million-member American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) voiced its official support for restricting the practice.

In a December 11 letter to Rep Jackie Speier, AARP Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Joyce Rogers wrote that the organization is throwing its support behind Rep Speier’s efforts to eliminate the in-office ancillary services (IOAS) exception to the Stark law designed to tighten up restrictions on self-referrals. Speier is sponsoring the Protecting Integrity in Medicare Act (PIMA) (H.R. 2914) to close up loopholes that allow physicians to refer patients for certain services—including physical therapy—to a business that has a financial relationship with the referring provider.

“AARP agrees that restrictions on physician self-referral and provider-kickback schemes must be strengthened,” Rogers wrote. “Closing the [IOAS] exception for certain services will save taxpayers and Medicare beneficiaries money and reduce unnecessary care.”

The AARP decision was applauded by APTA President Paul A. Rockar, Jr., PT, DPT, MS.

“We’d like to see patients put back in the driver’s seat, receiving treatment because they need it to be healthy, not because of the profit it will generate,” said Rockar. “We are pleased to see AARP join the fight, and we stand behind them 100%.”

APTA Private Practice Section President Terry Brown, PT, DPT, called the AARP letter a “huge win for health care.”

“We’ve been working hard for years to make these changes, and it is exciting to see a major influencer like AARP join the effort,” Brown said.

The AARP letter is being released as President Obama assembles his 2016 budget. The Obama budgets for 2014 and 2015 included the elimination of the IOAS exception for these services in the Stark law, and supporters of ending the loophole are hoping the next spending proposal from the White House will continue the pattern.

APTA’s years-long work to end the exception included participating in the creation of the Alliance for Integrity in Medicare, a coalition of organizations that includes professional associations affiliated with the health care services affected by the IOAS exception. In addition to physical therapy, those services include advanced diagnostic imaging, anatomic pathology, and radiation therapy.

Find out more about this issue on APTA’s self-referral webpage, and take action now by asking your legislators to close the self-referral loophole. Contact the APTA advocacy staff for more information.


Daniel Klim, Executive Director, APTANJ

A part of the APTANJ’s mission is “…to be responsive to and serve the membership and community.”  While the APTANJ continues to advocate on behalf of its members, we cannot lose sight of the impact that the physical therapy profession has on New Jerseyans on a daily basis.

This is why the APTANJ and AlliedOP, a leading innovator of orthotic and prosthetic devices for njngcyp_logothe past 40 years, have teamed up to host a 5k in support of the New Jersey National Guard Child & Youth Program.  This 5k is being held on Saturday morning, October 11 at the National Guard Training Center in Sea Girt, NJ.

October is National Physical Therapy Month.  It is a time to recognize how physical therapists and physical therapist assistants help transform society by restoring and improving motion in people’s lives.  I believe that PTs and PTAs also can transform society not only through motion, but through support, influence and action.

The New Jersey National Guard Child & Youth Program provides support and resources that children need to deal with the separation from a parent, child care issues, difficulties with school and many other problems. By participating in this run/walk we not only demonstrate our commitment to a healthier New Jersey, but helping to expand resources to potentially make a difference in the lives of some of these children.

The NJ National Guard is a force made up of more than 8,300 soldiers and airmen; all of these individuals are volunteer service members.  This might be a loved one or a neighbor or perhaps one of your patients that is devoted to defending freedom and democracy and keeping the peace on a local, national and international front while spending extended periods of time away from their families.  Many of these service members are deployed for a year or more often leaving children, spouses, and jobs behind.  It’s a reality they you may never have thought about until now.

Many of us, myself included, do not and would not have the strength or courage to volunteer for such an endeavor.  However, we do have the opportunity to make an impact and be a resource to the NJ National Guard and their families.

On October 11, we can make that impact…physical therapists and physical therapy assistants do so on a daily basis.  Let’s come together in Sea Girt and make a difference for a child whose mother or father may be in a foreign land defending our ability to get up and go to work everyday.

Please register for the APTANJ/AlliedOP 5k by clicking on the following link:

If you’re unable to attend this event please consider making a donation to support our effort by clicking on the link:

NJ State Assemblyman for the 1st District, Asm. Bob Andrzejczak will serve as the honorary race starter for the event.  Asm. Andrzejcak, a retired US Army SGT, was wounded in Iraq in 2008 when his convoy was hit by an anti-tank grenade. As a result of the attack, he lost his left leg and was eventually flown to Walter Reed to begin “the arduous journey to recovery”.  I’m sure that you will enjoy meeting and speaking with him.

Following the event, we will be having a post-race party sponsored by Edgar’s Pub which is located directly next to the National Guard Training Center in Sea Girt.

Thank you for your consideration and we hope to see you and your family and friends on October 11th.

APTANJ Summer Legislative Update

Jeff Flyer, PT, Director of Government Relations APTANJ


I hope this finds everyone having an enjoyable summer. In spite of the generally slower pace of summer, APTANJ continues to move our legislative agenda forward in a number of ways.

We continue to monitor bills of consequence to APTANJ members and our profession in NJ. With the focus in Trenton having been overwhelmingly on budgetary concerns in recent months, there has been no significant action on the bills that we have been tracking on behalf of our membership and colleagues (please click here for a list of the top 6 bills we have been tracking).

There is an additional more recent bill which our leadership and Legislative Advisory Panel has been considering: (NJ A3469, Jimenez (D-Hudson) – Revises licensing requirements for massage therapists. We will keep all membership aware of any action required on this piece of legislation.

Foremost on APTANJ’s legislative agenda remains our Practice Act Bill A1648, S874. In recent times, we have been carefully making some internal amendments to our bill in response to feedback from various other professional groups and our membership; as such, your Council of Directors, with professional advice from our association attorney, legislative agent and executive director, approved several language changes to enhance the chances of our bill’s gaining approval in the NJ legislature and ultimately winning the governor’s signature.

The successful passage of a bill can be a painstaking process and requires appropriate groundwork to minimize opposition and gain adequate support. APTANJ and its capable consultants are doing everything we can to complete this process as soon as possible, with the desire that our bill be favorably heard in committee during the fall legislative session and referred to the Assembly and Senate for a passing vote.

As the need arises, we will be asking our members and all physical therapists in the state of NJ to express support on behalf of our Practice Act Bill to their respective legislators. This bill, as many of you know, will importantly act to protect the practice of physical therapy for years to come and is vital to our profession in this state. Among other issues, our Practice Act Bill will protect the future practice of PT in NJ by now formally including in our Practice Act:

a) the PT practice of balance/vestibular treatment

b)  physical therapy treatment aimed at promoting health and wellness

c) a provision for potentially allowing some form of General Supervision of physical therapist assistants (as nearly all other states in the country already have in some form)

d)  a provision that makes the unlicensed practice of PT a 3rd degree criminal offence

e)  a provision allowing students approaching the conclusion of their PT graduate program to take the licensing exam ahead of graduation to permit a smooth transition into the workforce

f)  a provision stipulating that only a NJ licensed PT may perform utilization review for private insurers

g)  a provision that recognizes within the scope of physical therapy practice the commonly performed technique of intramuscular therapy.

We need to protect our professional practice through the passage of this bill. Passing a bill requires more than just the effort of your professional organization, it requires $$$$$$$$$$$$, so please contribute to the PT PLAN (Physical Therapy – Professional Legislative Action Network) to provide the funding needed for APTANJ’s representatives to attend political events and make our legislative needs understood and supported by our elected officials in Trenton (this is easily accomplished in minutes on APTANJ’s website). PT’s cannot afford to sit on the sideline and expect anyone else to protect our livelihood, our patients and our profession.

Best to all colleagues,






Horizon’s PT/OT Prior Authorization Process Improved

HBCBSNJ-«_Primary_287cThe APTANJ recently informed our members about Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey improvements in their process for obtaining prior authorization for outpatient physical therapy and occupational therapy services.

In most cases, the initial 12 visits of outpatient physical therapy or occupational therapy (PT/OT) services will be authorized after we receive an initial claim from a participating physical therapist or occupational therapist.  You will no longer need to obtain a prior authorization for an initial 12 visits of PT or OT services.  Eligibility and benefits must be confirmed prior to providing the service.

A prior authorization must be obtained in the following situations:

  • Other PT or OT services have already been authorized in the current calendar year. (Need to review annual benefit limits.)
  • Diagnosis-related temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. (Need to review for benefit and medical necessity.)
  • Treatment for work-related injuries.
  • Patients under 19 years of age. (Review for medical necessity.)
  • Pre-existing condition clause on the member’s policy. (Limited applicability under Health Care Reform commencing in 2014.)
  • More than 12 visits are required.
  • All services from nonparticipating providers.

Prior authorizations can be requested using either our:

  • Online Physical and Occupational Therapy Authorization tool available on
  • Revised Physical Therapy Fax Authorization Form (7073) available in the Forms section of No other forms will be accepted.

Please remember that you still must check member eligibility and benefits prior to treating the patient by logging onto  Claims processing and reimbursement for services provided are subject to member eligibility and all member and group benefits, limitations and exclusions.

If you have any questions, please call Horizon at 1-800-624-1110.

APTANJ Teams Up with Princeton Federal Credit Union to Offer Personal Financial Solutions

The APTANJ is proud to announce that members can now access exclusive financial products and services offered by the Princeton Federal Credit Union.

Princeton FCU is a not-for-profit financial cooperative located in Princeton, NJ. Membership with the Credit Union is not open to the public, but rather a select group of organizations that stress the importance of financial understanding to their employees, students and members alike.

pfcuLogo Black“We’re excited about partnering with such a reputable, state-based institution such as the Princeton Federal Credit Union,” stated APTANJ President, Brian Mason, PT, DPT.

“This is just another value-added benefit that the APTANJ has created for its members and Princeton FCU’s student loan program is a great opportunity for our recent graduates to learn how to manage their finances as they enter the physical therapy profession.”

APTANJ members that sign up to become a part of the Princeton Federal Credit Union will have access to traditional Savings and Checking accounts, a wide array of loans and many convenience factors. Members will enjoy the convenience of Internet Banking and Bill pay, Mobile Banking on the go now including Remote Deposit Capture, access to over 30,000 surcharge free ATM’s and over 5,000 shared branches nationwide.

Enjoy things such as:

  • Fee free Checking Accounts with NO minimum balance
  • Vacation and Holiday club Savings Accounts
  • Low rate Auto and Home Loans
  • Secured and Unsecured Personal Loans
  • Low rate no annual fee VISA Credit Card

APTANJ members will also have a personal contact to work with at the Princeton FCU.  Brian Phillips is the Marketing Coordinator & Business Development Specialist and has been with the Credit Union since July 2012. Brian works with different organizations that have Princeton FCU as a member/employee benefit, and is the point of contact to most who inquire initially and works to make sure that your needs are taken care of. He has given presentations to members regarding Credit Union benefits and worked alongside their Director of Lending for Credit Scoring seminars. Brian was integral in the start of the Credit Union Social Media Page and currently maintains that as well as their website. Please reach out to Brian with any questions regarding your benefits as an eligible member of Princeton FCU. He can be reached by phone at 609.945.6248 or email at .

If you are interested in opening an account and getting started on your road to financial wellness today you can open an account by filling out the Membership and Application form. The membership form should also include two forms (copies) of identification as well as your initial $5 deposit into your Savings Account.

Visit the APTANJ’s member benefits page for more information on this and other benefits.