Lower health care costs and a faster road to relief are finally in sight for Michigan residents. In early July the Direct Consumer Access Bill was passed after 34 years in the making. The bill allows consumers the option of seeking treatment directly from a physical therapist without having to gain a referral from their physician first.
“This is a huge day for patients and physical therapists alike,” said Gina Otterbein, a Physical Therapist and co-owner of Northern Physical Therapy, with offices located in Coopersville, Cedar Springs, Wayland, Grant, and Sparta. “Michigan is the last of the 50 states to pass this type of bill, now people in Michigan have the choice to go directly to a physical therapist which provides faster access, results and ultimately lower health care costs.” Otterbein notes that physicians (and physician assistants) will continue to refer to PT especially after surgeries or severe injuries, but now there is the option to see a PT directly for issues such as a sports injury, back flare up, knee pain or shoulder stiffness. The physical therapists will assess the client’s problem and develop a plan of exercise, manual therapy, education and other PT treatment to get the client back to life quickly and safely.
The bill, which was signed by Governor Rick Snyder was previously passed by the House of Representatives in June and by the Senate in May. It will officially go into effect on January 1, 2015 and will grant patients the opportunity to visit a physical therapist up to 10 times. Many Coopersville residents, along with Northern Physical Therapy supported this bill, “We appreciate everyone who supported this bill, both our community members and our legislators” said Otterbein. Northern shared information about the bill's progress through social and electronic media and the community responded. “It was truly amazing!”
Because the Michigan Physical Therapy Association (MPTA) has been working on the Direct Access plan for 34 years, they’ve seen many states ahead of them who have experienced significant advantages from the direct access route. Other states have shown a correlation between direct access and lower health care costs, faster recovery times, and a more positive relationships between the patient and the health care providers.
If you would like additional information on the Direct Consumer Access Bill, contact Gina Otterbein at 616-997-6172.
We're generating a grassroots effort to get SB690 Say Yes to Direct Access passed. If you've already submitted your support to your local representative, thank you so much! Direct Consumer Access to Physical Therapy in Michigan means you get the freedom to seek physical therapy evaluation and treatment without a prescription from your doctor.
Please consider contacting your local representative to show your support by sending them an email at http://www.capwiz.com/mpta/home/.
We greatly appreciate your support!
Gina Otterbein, Janis Kemper,
& your friends at Northern PT
Seeing our loved ones age can be a difficult process. We want what’s best for our parents and grandparents, and as their health changes it’s not uncommon to worry about their safety. A serious side effect that we, as physical therapists, often see with aging is the increased risk of falling and loss of balance.
Read the article in its entirety here.
We often get patients in the clinic who explain their back pain, along with a lengthy description of the different treatments, surgeries, and medications they’ve encountered along the way. “Nothing worked. I’m hoping you can help me,” they say. Physical therapy is a safe alternative to surgery and medication, and it can help you live pain-free: Our goal is not just to mask the pain, but to find the cause and treat it.
Read the article in its entirety here.
One of the most common questions we get is whether to use heat or ice for an injury. Both are beneficial when used properly, but the best option depends on what type of injury you’ve incurred.
Read the entire article here.
As a physical therapist and expert in body mechanics, I see many patients come in with sprains and back pain, due to overextending themselves while doing outdoor activities. In an effort to eliminate some of that pain, I put together a list of simple tips to help you avoid injury this season.
While doing active tasks such as gardening and yard work, you’ll want to remember to stretch and maintain a healthy body position.
- Avoid strain on your hands by periodically spreading your fingers wide, then make a fist. Repeat.
- Reduce stress on your wrists by rotating them in one direction, then repeat in the opposite direction.
- Use a stool or knee pads to protect your knees and hips.
- Avoid putting constant stress one part of the body by varying tasks: Rake for a while, then bag for a while.
- When lifting, keep objects close to your body, keep a straight spine, and lift with your legs, not your back.
After the work is done, you’ll want to stop to relax. But keep these tips in mind:
- Lawn chairs can be hard on your back, so get up and walk around every thirty minutes.
- Find a chair that supports your back and fits your size. Avoid staying in one position for more than twenty minutes.
Summer is a great time to be active, but always remember, if you begin to experience discomfort in a muscle or joint, stop and rest. If you are experiencing persistent pain, a physical therapist could often help to relieve pain and educate you on proper body mechanics to avoid injury in the future.
Diana says she loves working with patients of all ages and diagnoses, but her interests in spine pain led her to obtain this particular certification. She feels the McKenzie method is a great tool for assessing and treating patients with back pain.
Way to go, Diana!
West Michigan Woman, March 2013
Still battling with extra weight gained over the holidays? It seems as though the last few pounds are the hardest to shed. But losing the weight is easier than you think, when you turn simple office tasks or household chores into opportunities to burn calories....
You can read the article in its entirety here.
Read Janis and Gina's previous West Michigan Woman articles on postpartum exercise and strengthening your core (pages 20-21).
Stop the "Crunches" and Train Your Core
West Michigan Woman, February 2013
How many times have you started the year off with good intentions of following through with a resolution to lose weight, get in shape, or be more active? We’ve all been there with the best of intentions, but once February rolls around, that resolution is long gone. Many of us lose the time and ambition, or find that working out can be quite painful.
You can read the article in its entirety here, see pages 20-21. And to check out Janis and Gina's last article on postpartum pregnancy exercises, click here.
You can read the article in it's entirety here.
Congratulations are in order for two of our therapists who recently achieved advanced certifications in their respective fields.
Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation Certificate
Terri Jeurink, a Physical Therapist at our Coopersville Clinic has received her Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation Certificate from the Women’s Health Section of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).
This certification recognizes the specialty of pelvic floor rehabilitation, including evaluation and treatment for men and women who may have urinary incontinence (leakage), urinary frequency or urgency, bowel dysfunction, pelvic pain. To obtain the certification, Terri had to complete three different classes and competency exams held by the APTA, collect letters of reference, and complete a case report within 1 year after completing the necessary courses.
“I am passionate about helping people feel better, especially when it comes to issues that affect their everyday lives. Obtaining my Pelvic Floor Rehabilitation Certification will allow me to better assist those patients and help them feel good again.” Jeurink says.
Orthopedic Clinical Specialist Certificate
Susan Roemer, a Physical Therapist at our Wayland Clinic has received her Orthopedic Clinical Specialist (OCS) Certificate from the American Physical Therapy Association.
To acquire the certification, Susan had to demonstrate extensive knowledge in the field of orthopedic physical therapy through experience (of which she has 8 years), continued education, and passing a rigorous exam that tests her intricate clinical knowledge of orthopedic tests, problem solving, assessment, evaluation and treatment skills.
“While attaining the OCS certification I acquired new techniques for diagnosing and treating orthopedic conditions, which has helped me to treat patients more efficiently and effectively” Susan said.