Discover what's going on in equine-assisted activities and therapies from PATH Intl. CEO Kathy Alm






Kathy Alm

In the Field

A Quarterly Communication From

PATH Intl. CEO Kathy Alm


Thoughts About Learning and Connecting

Spending time in the field with people involved in human animal interaction is always informative and renewing for me. For many people, the two main reasons to attend a conference or gathering of this sort are to learn and connect. The PATH Intl. Conference and Annual Meeting was no different. Over 500 people gathered together for a week of learning, engaging and celebrating. And, according to the feedback, what a great week it was. One of the highlights was a panel discussion facilitated by Michael Kaufmann on equine-assisted activities and therapies (EAAT) issues -- issues raised by the panel as well as the audience. The panelists represented more than 200 years of experience on that stage, targeting some of the questions that we, as an industry, have been discussing and struggling with for many years. The question that received the most discussion was around the role of the therapeutic riding instructor and the role of the therapist. How are they different? How do they overlap? How do they work together for the good of the participant/patient while remaining clear on the difference between therapy and therapeutic? Although we didn't have time to find the answer, I was struck and impressed with the fact that the group (including the audience) was able to discuss this sometimes sensitive issue passionately, yet respectfully. There were some good suggestions as well as the desire to keep the conversation going. We will continue to wrestle with this and other questions to benefit EAAT.

While I was pleased with all the positive feedback we received about the conference, I was struck by the fact that only 7 percent of our membership attends this conference. Which led me to thinking about how only 12 percent of our membership make it to a regional conference. Of course there are a lot of reasons for this, cost and time being the most often cited. We also know, based on survey information as well as conversations with members, that people are hungry for knowledge, looking for a way to renew their energy and for connecting around the work we do. One of the goals for this year is to look at the best way to deliver these opportunities to you, in an accessible and affordable manner.


Medicaid Billing

The last point for this message was brought to my attention on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. One of our member centers is closing its doors as of December 31st. Although, sadly, centers having to close their doors is not entirely unusual, the reason for this particular decision has an important message for all of our centers that are billing Medicaid or thinking about billing Medicaid. They discovered a potential problem with the way they were billing the Medicaid state plan. Although they have spent months working with Medicaid to clarify their past billing practices and gain approval, they have been unable to get a resolution.

I raise this issue to encourage any centers who are utilizing Medicaid to have transparent conversations with their Medicaid providers and get the approval in writing, so there is no question raised at a later date. Billing is a larger issue that the American Hippotherapy Association continues to work on and one that PATH Intl. continues to provide whatever clarification and assistance we can. If you want more information or have further thoughts, please email Sam Albrecht, Director of Programs and Membership.


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I wish everyone the happiest of holidays! May Santa bring you, your family, your center and your favorite equines the gifts of time and care.

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