I was lucky! Very early in my life, I knew what I wanted to be a physical therapist. I had big dreams about helping people, loving my job, and making a good living. I had seen the power of physical therapy through my little sister who had cerebral palsy and I witnessed the special bond she had with her physical therapist that was leaps and bounds beyond any other health care practitioner she encountered. Also, I had some great individual experiences with PT’s while battling multiple injuries in high school playing sports. I had it all figured out. I would work hard…go to college, get into grad school, hopefully pass boards by the time I was 23, start practicing and one day own my own practice! It was the perfect plan or was it? The plan seemed so simple and straightforward.
I knew it wasn’t going to be easy but I was driven to work hard and prepared to hit some bumps in the road. Then something happened, soon after graduating, I started noticing things. PTs who had been in the game for a while were jaded and they were on complete autopilot. Why? Was I going to be like them someday? That’s when it sunk in! The system was broken and only getting worse. The normal caseload was anywhere from 15-20 patients or more in a day, hours of paperwork needing to be completed after hours, and most patients were getting referred by doctors and not in a good mindset from the beginning. Most clinics were struggling to make a profit. And patients were not invested in their care and just going through the motions. Was this it? Was this my dream? Was this why I went to college and grad school and accumulated all that student loan debt? I went on to own my own insurance based clinic and thought I could remedy issues that way. However, I realized quickly that it was much bigger problem than I anticipated and things needed to change at a national level. There was declining reimbursement rates, high overhead, and an increasing number of hoops needing to be jumped through in the insurance based model. I also realized the patients that were being referred from doctors were not very motivated. The majority of patients I saw were coming out of obligation and have been told a lot of things I didn’t agree with. It took me 10 years but I finally found it! I decided to balk the system, sell my insurance based practice and go all in on the private pay cash based model! Here was a place where I could bring value to the community, start utilizing direct access, treat patients the way I knew they should be treated. And WOW…did things change! Patients were coming to see me first and now I was doing the referring! I started feeling like the PT my sister wanted me to be! This is what I went to school for! I took a chance and went all in on private pay and now we have multiple offices in the Charleston area and don’t plan on stopping there. The old path didn’t work for me. The new path has allowed so much more opportunity for me and my family. I am able to spend more time with my wife and kids, serve more patients, and start the LONG road to changing our profession for the better. Change is Coming!
It’s time to make a stand! We need to show the world the value we can bring as physical therapist. We aren’t just movement experts or rehab professionals or manual therapy gurus. We are problem solvers, primary care providers, leaders in the community! The tide is shifting and people are seeking more information on how to take control back of their health…without pills, shots, or surgeries! Pain, obesity, and cardiovascular disease is becoming more prevalent. We can lead the charge in conservative care, exercise, and changes in lifestyle. There are countless reasons why we should be at the forefront of healthcare but no one is going to hand it to us. We have to advocate for our own profession….WE WILL have to fight for it…and honestly we are going to have to EARN IT! Made 2 Move Physical Therapy
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