Like all physical therapists, Corey Kuipers loves to help others. He cares deeply for our profession and wants to ensure a bright future for his patients. One of the best ways he’s found to achieve this is through advocacy – by ensuring the voices of his patients are heard on Capitol Hill.
Corey is a physical therapist in our Coopersville clinic. He has a contagious passion for raising awareness about the role of physical therapy, the value physical therapy brings to health care, and the quality of care that patients receive. In 2017 he went to Washington, D.C and Lansing, MI., to advocate on behalf of our profession and the patients we serve. We sat down with Corey to talk about his experience, and how he initially became interested in the advocacy portion of our profession.
Corey (second from left) is pictured on Capitol Hill
Why were you initially drawn to the advocacy side of physical therapy?
I grew up in politics. My dad served as both a State Representative and State Senator in Michigan so I learned from a young age that if you want something, you have to advocate for it and speak with those who can elicit these changes. Serving in a liaison role for Northern Physical Therapy has been a great opportunity to collaborate with policy makers in multiple efforts to advocate for policy changes that seek to address both the immediate and long-term needs of our profession. These issues include payment reform, innovative healthcare delivery, improved access to care for patients and consumers, advancement in quality initiatives, and demonstration of the benefits of physical therapy.
What brought you to Capitol Hill to advocate on our behalf?
Physical therapy often gets overlooked, or even forgotten about, by the federal and local branches of government. This is, in large part, due to the fact that they don’t know the services we provide. In order for our profession to thrive and allow patients easy access to PT, we all need to advocate policy makers, consumers and payers on the value and integrity of physical therapy. We need to be a voice to our patients and our communities. With the ongoing opioid epidemic, this is our time to advocate for safe alternatives to pain relief.
Corey (far right) was one of five from the state of Michigan that attended the Federal Forum in Washington, D.C.. He visited the offices of two United States Senators and 14 United States Representatives. They discussed issues surrounding the Repeal of the Medicare Therapy cap for outpatient services, Sports Medicine Licensure clarity act, and the SAFE PLAY act and youth concussions.
What advice do you have for those who may want to advocate to their legislators but don’t know where to start?
When people hear about advocacy, especially when it comes to advocating to those in the government, they tend to shy away for fear that they lack knowledge on certain issues, or fear of being looked down upon. The reality is, legislators are human, and are seeking to learn more about issues that are important to you, their constituents. When it comes down to it, they need you to be happy. They are going to listen to what you have to say because they want your support. At the end of the day, legislators are people, just like you and me.
Corey (left) is pictured with members of the APTA
How would you like to expand on advocating in the future?
I would like to continue to stay involved with the MPTA and attend advocacy events such as state advocacy day in Lansing, the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfasts, and the Federal Advocacy Forum. I believe it’s important to develop a rapport with these legislators and the more they trust you the more likely they are to support your cause. I’m happy to advocate for my profession and would like to encourage fellow physical therapists and other healthcare professionals to become involved in advocating for our patients as well.
West Michigan Legislative Luncheon
In addition to the wonderful work that Corey is doing, Northern Physical Therapy is the premier sponsor for the annual Legislative Luncheon, which is hosted by the Coopersville Chamber of Commerce. This year’s luncheon will take place on Monday, June 19, 2018.
Northern Physical Therapy is a Grand Rapids Physical Therapy based clinic with locations in Muskegon, Wayland, Lowell, and the surrounding areas. Our goal is to help clients feel great whether they’re suffering from back pain or a sports injury. We offer free consultations at each of our clinics. You don’t have to live with pain!