From the President

Michael Horsfield

By Mike Horsfield, PT, MBA

Dear Friends,

Elevate! I have a love-hate relationship with our talented Impact Editorial Board J. Writing is not a strength or a passion of mine. When sitting down to do these I just want to get to the end. Then they throw one word out there that makes me stop, reflect, and wrestle with its meaning. This month’s theme is Elevate. A word I realize has been a common thread in many of the most interesting and difficult conversations I’ve had with some of our most passionate peers.

These discussions usually start with a shared understanding that as physical therapists we are the best-kept secret in medicine AND we have to do something about “shitty PT.” How can both of these be true? To elevate our brand in the eyes of key stakeholders, should we first focus on a PR campaign or a quality assurance program? As a profession, are we willing to handle the responsibility that comes when our communities count on us to be “their person”? Are we comfortable being comfortable? Pontification without a clear path forward is usually how these conversations end. While there might be many right routes forward, I would like to propose two ways we will know we have arrived at our destination. Simple measures of success for a complex question: How we will all know we have done our part to elevate our great profession?

The first is when our when our neighbors no longer “go to therapy” but rather are “going to see their therapist.” When have you ever uttered you are going to dentistry, accounting, medicine? Why do our communities view us as a thing? A commodity? Is it a coincidence or is this the reason that payers tell us they pay us what they do because they can? People complain when their employer switches insurance plans and THEIR doctor is no longer in network. Wouldn’t it be cool if our patients did the same? How would this change the way we could negotiate with payers?

The second measure is when we all replace “I’m just a PT” with “I’m your PT.” “Just a PT.” These words send fingernails-on-a-chalkboard shivers down my spine—especially when they come out of my mouth. Why do we say these words? Why do I still say these words? Is it our humble nature or is it a way to deflect responsibility or accountability? Whatever the reason, I am fairly confident that we will not get our communities to change their opinion of us until we change the words we use to describe ourselves.

Simple measures of success that we can all work on . . . together. Please reach out and let me know when you get there!

We got this!