1. What motivated you to pursue the CO APTA president position? – It presented as a natural next step from being the Chapter Chief Delegate for two terms and serving on the APTA CO executive. To make an impact where it mattered I needed to step up to help my profession. Through my role on the executive I had entered into state political activity as we supported bills through the legislature, and I had developed through my role as a delegate and then chief, key contacts and exposure in policy, payment, academic and regulatory realms which impact the PT profession. I felt it was my time.
2. Have you experienced any surprises in your time in office that you did not anticipate going in? – Only daily. The impact of Physical Therapists in society is a hidden secret still only partially told. Out impact is broad, diverse and under-appreciated, especially by ourselves allowing others to utilize the platform of rehabilitation to advance agendas often contrary to the interests of the PT profession. We do not need to utilize the work of others for our benefit and especially for our patients benefits, but we do need to constantly tell our story.
3. You have advocated on behalf of Colorado and our profession at both the state and national levels. What do you think are some key issues at these legislative levels facing PTs? – Scope of practice, ours is evolving (as other doctoring professions also evolve) to meet the needs of society (not ourselves). With scope maturation that matches our skill set, knowledge and expertise we need statutory authority to help all we can with this growing benefit we provide. Insurers should seek to join with PT’s in improving direct access for Coloradans and all people nationally to the services we provide. As a profession we need to continually ask of ourselves what responsibility we carry as front -line healthcare providers.
4. In my experience, a small percentage of PTs participate in the legislative process and advocate for themselves or the profession. How can PTs become more involved in this process? The legislative process is complex, messy and convoluted. The trick is to find a way to have a seat at the table. Primary for PT’s in CO to start to find a voice is to be a member of the State APTA CO Chapter, join in the open Government Affairs Committee, attend meetings, be available at conferences to join discussions and to partake in fund raisers for the PT PAC and the Chapter as we move further into Sunset and our battles over scope of practice continue. A few will lead, but many can participate and lead in their sphere of influence.
5. What can PTs expect in the coming year in regards to the pending battle over dry needling in Colorado? A lot of legal procedures. Potential legislative activity, ongoing challenges outside of Colorado which also influence the debate and the need to continually put the patient first in these discussions, not our profession. The genesis of the lawsuits lies with those who put them forward, whilst we who answer them chose to either focus to ourselves or to a larger societal view. We need to continue to seek the societal view. Each persons perspective is their own, but the PT profession needs to expect of itself that we seek to protect our scope for the good of the majority, to answer the responsibility placed upon us through our licensure to serve the needs of society.
6. What qualities should the chapter consider in the next CO APTA president? An individual able to consider multiple perspectives, seek input from stakeholders but then make a decision and follow through. Ideally a person who allows others to grow within their skill sets, and one able to filter information from the professional, societal and association vantages to find the best path forward amongst the many vested interest groups which our profession touches and is interwoven with. And most importantly, someone who can continue and advance the successes we are making and not shy from changing course to find a better way forward where we need to.