Susie Sambell is a physical therapist from Waxahachie Texas. She works with orthopedic patients in an outpatient clinic and is a member of Generation X. She shared a physical therapist’s Perspective on Healthcare in written form.
Tell me about yourself and how you became involved in healthcare?
My name is Susie Sambell. I have been a physical therapist for 25 years. I grew up in PA, received my Bachelor’s and Masters degrees from Boston University, and shortly thereafter, moved to Texas. I was naturally interested in exercise, health and fitness at a young age. During high school, I became interested in physical therapy when I witnessed how physical therapy and exercise can help a person overcome an injury and regain function. I remember also being fascinated as I watched our school athletic trainer examine my knee. PT just seemed to fit my natural interests, intellect, and my desire to help people.
I have worked in several different settings in my career, but most of my experience has been in an outpatient clinic setting with people who have orthopedic problems. I currently work in an outpatient clinic located onsite at a business. I serve the employees and their families.
What does quality healthcare mean to you?
Quality health care starts with access and a goal of prevention. Everyone should be able to access basic healthcare needs. Quality healthcare also includes safe, effective treatment options to achieve optimal outcomes provided by educated and trained health professionals and staff.
Can you give me an example of quality healthcare?
A patient is able to be seen by an appropriate, caring professional who listens, examines, and provides effective treatment options in a reasonable amount of time, and is consistent with standards of care, in a manner that is inclusive, equitable, and respectful.
What do you wish people understood about your role in healthcare?
Physical Therapists are specialists in movement and function. Physical Therapy treatment for the most part is not a quick fix. Often, it requires effort and lifestyle changes on the part of the patient to improve their condition or function. Physical Therapists work in many different settings, with people of all ages, and with a wide variety of problems. Not all physical therapists have the same skill set. We are highly educated and trained.
What excites you about the future of healthcare?
Texas is at the bottom for direct access to physical therapy. I am excited to see physical therapists be able to treat patients without a prescription from a doctor or prescribing provider without restrictions. In the past 2 years, PTs were granted 10-15 days of treatment without a prescription depending on one’s credentials. I look forward to when this time constraint is removed. Other states have allowed PTs to have unrestricted direct access to patients for 20 years. This is a barrier to healthcare, and results in higher costs and time a patient spends to go see a prescribing provider in order to receive treatment by a physical therapist. In addition, PTs in Texas are fighting to have PT’s classified as primary care instead of a specialist in regards to co-pays. It would reduce the cost of PT to the patient.
What is one thing medical professionals can start doing today to improve the quality of healthcare?
Do research, and pay attention to research. Evidence-based practice has come a long way just in my 25 years in physical therapy. Outcome research may help us offer the most effective prevention and treatment, which should also help us earn trust from people who are skeptical of modern medicine and healthcare.
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