Our Story

The Bay Area Therapeutic Recreation Association (BATRA) formed in 1991 as an independent Chapter Affiliate of the American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA), autonomous in function and intent. BATRA was formed in order to serve as a vehicle for visionary efforts in furthering the mission of the ATRA at a local level. BATRA professional members are comprised of recreation therapists working in a myriad of settings including academia, mental health, physical medicine and rehabilitation, parks and recreation, geriatrics, Veterans Affairs, prisons, private practice, various city agencies, and more. Student members must be currently enrolled in an CARTE accredited therapeutic recreation program.

Our Mission

Our mission is to advance education, communication, and application of therapeutic recreation knowledge for the improvement of healthcare to treat society holistically and improve quality of life.


Each year, BATRA supports ATRA’s RT Medicare Project to secure the future of our profession. This project is the most important grassroots action our profession has ever initiated.

This year, Congressmen G.K. Butterfield and Glenn Thompson sponsored and introduced to HR 1906, a bipartisan “Access to Inpatient Rehabilitation Therapy Act of 2015”. If passed this would be the first time in the history of Recreation Therapy a federal bill has been passed for our profession. Please continue to follow these efforts and support.

The purpose of this bill is to request the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to clarify in the Medicare Benefits Policy Manual and its current regulations that Recreational Therapy is a covered service in these three settings: Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRF), Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities (IPF), and Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF), when ordered by the physician and medically necessary for the patient.

CMS has repeatedly acknowledged to the profession, ATRA, various Congressmen and Senators, that RT is included in these three settings and was built into the Prospective Payment System (PPS). However, the written language does not reflect this in policy. This leads to much confusion with fiscal intermediaries and administrators. It is imperative for the future of our profession that we continue to support these actions to secure the future of our services to the individuals we serve.

What is RT?

What is a Recreational Therapist or Therapeutic Recreation Specialist?

A recreation therapist (RT), sometimes referred to as a certified therapeutic recreation specialist by (CTRS) when certified nationally through the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC), works with individuals who have mental, physical, emotional and/or developmental disabilities. Activity modalities or recreation interventions are utlized to treat or maintain the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of peoples served. Interventions are selected that will assist to remediate the effects of illness or disability and/or enable an individual to increase personal independence. For example, a recreational therapist may use a board game activity to assess and increase fine motor dexterity. Or the recreational therapist may train a consumer to use an adapted fishing reel to enable the consumer to continue motivation for activity involvement in a lifetime passion. Similarly, a recreational therapist may lead an anger management group to teach aggressive consumers alternative coping skills, lead a reminiscent group to aid aging adults to cope with memory changes or teach consumers to overcome environmental barriers (stairs, curbs) in order access their community confidently and independently.
What is a Recreational Therapy Assistant?

A recreational therapy assistant (RTA) sometimes referred to as a therapeutic recreation assistant, works under the clinical supervision of a recreational therapist. The RTA is responsible for supporting the RT and interdisciplinary team in the implementation of care plans and protocols to achieve the goals of peoples served.

Public Policy

“Currently the main public policy initiative for the field of Recreational Therapy is H.R. 1906, The Access to In-Patient Rehabilitation Act of 2015. This legislation affects every recreational therapy practitioner and consumer, and we need your help to advocate on behalf of this bill.

Please click the following link to read about the bill and to learn about the bill and to receive step-by-step instruction on how to advocate on behalf of the bill. It is important and simple to do.