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ACHH Frequently Asked Questions
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Q: How will this program benefit me?

A: The Home Health Section’s Advanced Competency in Home Health program synthesizes current evidence-based practice and tailors it to the unique physical therapy setting of home health. This program enables home health agencies, outpatient practices that provide home care physical therapy, and individual physical therapists to enhance efficacy and efficiency of treatment of their home health patients and clients.

For therapists entirely new to home care: This program will prepare you for the unique characteristics of practicing in the home care setting. This includes an in-depth orientation to performing clinical assessments of patients in their homes, recommended tests and measures to assess patient performance, and instruction in the regulatory requirements specific to home care. The program also will give you needed supplementary education in pharmacology to prepare you for medication review with home care patients, and will provide advanced tools for managing some of the most common treatment scenarios encountered in home care.

For therapists already practicing in home care: This program will allow you to increase and test your expertise in home health. The program will also bring you up-to-date on regulatory requirements and best practice in the home care setting. Most important, success in this program distinguishes you as an advanced clinician in home health.

For agencies and practices providing home care physical therapy services: This program enables you to ensure that the physical therapists you employ are adequately trained to work autonomously in the home health field. Whether you send new hires or existing staff through the advanced competency program, it’s an important investment in your peace of mind.


Q: What do I have to do to complete the program?

A: Check out the course list. You must successfully complete the following within a 24-month period:

  • 5 core elearning modules (20 hours total). These courses include the following titles; those with an * are prerequisites for the face-to-face course:
    • Home Health Clinical Assessment [5 hours]*
    • Medications & Pharmacology for the Home Health Therapist [5 hours]*
    • Home Health Regulation & Documentation [3 hours]*
    • Balance & Falls: Factors, Measurements, and Interventions for Home Health [5 hours]*
    • Ethical Considerations for Physical Therapists Practicing in the Home Health Setting [2 hours]
  • Participate in the face-to-face course in which you will demonstrate home care skills (15 hours).
  • 4 hours minimum of elective elearning. The length and content of elective courses varies. More electives will be added as options over time. Current elective courses available are included in the course list


Q: Can PTAs enroll in this program?

A: The current program is for physical therapists only, but a companion program for PTAs is in development. We expect to introduce core courses for PTAs and to announce details for the PTA curriculum in the fall of 2018. A 2-day pre-conference course for PTAs has been scheduled for Combined Sections Meeting 2019.


Q: I am a student; can I participate in the program?

A: Students may take the elearning courses but are not eligible to register for the face-to-face course or earn the certificate for the Advanced Competency in Home Health program. You must be a licensed physical therapist to participate.


Q:Are CEUs available for the Advanced Competency courses?

A: CEU information for courses offered through APTA's Learning Center is available here. Note that in some cases, CEU applications may be in-progress for an individual course. The face-to-face on-site Advanced Competency course is sponsored solely by the Home Health Section and we will apply for CEU approval in the host state (if required) and in some cases, surrounding states. We will include the state approvals in the course information. Our courses are automatically accepted by some states and we are an approved provider by New York. It's important for professionals to be familiar with state continuing education requirements when determining whether or not a course is likely to be accepted by the state licensing board.


Q: How long does it take to complete this program?

A: That depends upon the participant. Contact hours for the program total roughly 40 hours, 24 of which are in online learning. The clock begins ticking when you register for the first program elearning course. If you need longer than 24 months due to exceptional circumstances you can petition the Home Health Section in writing for an extension.

Q: What happens if I don't complete the program within 24 months?

A: The 24-month requirement is designed to ensure that candidates complete courses that are current and up-to-date with regard to practice evidence and industry requirements. If you don't complete the program within 24 months, you'll be required to re-register and complete the course requirements again.


Q: How much does the program cost?

A: It depends upon your Section/APTA membership status. Current fees are listed here. Note that APTA members will save over $200 by joining the Home Health Section for a mere $45/year. Non-members will save almost $700 by joining the APTA and the Home Health Section prior to participation.


Q: When and where are the face-to-face courses?

A: For the foreseeable future, the two-day course will be available annually in February as a pre-conference course at APTA's Combined Sections Meeting (CSM). At least one additional course will be scheduled annually, beginning in Fall of 2017, in various U.S. locations. As the pool of eligible course attendees increases, the Section will add more stand-alone face-to-face courses.


Q: If I complete this program will I be a certified home health physical therapist?

A: No. You will earn a certificate and pin in Advanced Competency in Home Health, which is an assessment-based certificate in home health physical therapy. It is not a credential. This program is not recognized by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialists (ABPTS).


Q: Can I take individual courses without taking the entire program?

A: Yes, you may take the elearning courses individually without the intention of completing the Advanced Competency in Home Health program. However, your must complete the 4 prerequisites in order to participate in the face-to-face course.


Q: What's required to pass examinations?

A: Each online course module includes an online, multiple choice examination requiring a passing score of 70% or greater. The number of questions varies depending upon the duration of the course, but typically 10 – 20 questions. Participants may retake tests for online modules twice. If you fail any test more than twice, you will be required to re-register for the course and pay the registration fee again. The face-to-face weekend course includes a written examination and skills test performed on-site.


Q: Can I exempt out of any of the courses if I have taken similar courses in the past?

A: No, you must complete the designated ACHH courses in order to complete this program. This program reflects completion of specific didactic coursework, successful passing of multiple written tests at the end of the each elearning course and successful check-off of essential skills during instructor-led face-to-face course. We can only confidently award the ACHH certificate to those who have completed the courses required in the program.


Q: Where can I find more detailed information and register for the program?

A: The core elearning courses are available from the APTA Learning Center. Elective elearning courses will be added in fall of2017 and those will also be available through the APTA Learning Center. Details on upcoming face-to-face courses will be available from the Home Health Section.


Q: Why did the Home Health Section decide to create a competency program instead of a certification program?

A: The Home Health Section used membership surveys and a task force to explore the feasibility and needs related to specialized education for physical therapists practicing in the home care setting. After extensive consideration and discussion with members and allies regarding the education needed for home care practice and the costs involved in obtaining relevant continuing education, the Section determined that a competency program best fit the needs of members and the home care industry.


Q: Will renewal be required for the certificate in completing the Advanced Competency in Home Health program?

A: Yes. The initial certificate for this program will expire in five years. Renewal requirements have not yet been approved, but we anticipate that candidates will be expected to complete additional online courses to ensure they still have the current knowledge and skills to demonstrate competency in home care PT practice. The course requirements for renewal will not demand as significant a commitment of time as the initial certificate and those initially certified will be provided with adequate time to complete the renewal requirements.

Q: My agency is interested in offering the Advanced Competency course to multiple staff members. Can we host a course?

A: We have a hosting option for the face-to-face course that is ideal for medium to large employers. Hosted courses must also be open to program participants not employed by your company since we have numerous participants looking for good course locations. Details for companies interested in hosting a course are here.


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