Marshall School of Physical Therapy bridges the gap between education and uninsured and underinsured patients with a pro bono clinic.
“This is an opportunity for us to give back to the community and help to fill that gap in services for individuals who wouldn’t have the opportunity to go to physical therapy. Either because they don’t have the benefits or have exhausted their benefits and still need a little more time to meet their goals,” said Dr. Laura Stephens, assistant professor.
Stephens said the project has been in the works for a while.
“Given the area that we’re in, there is a high number of individuals who, unfortunately, don’t have physical therapy benefits or don’t have insurance at all,” said Dr. Stephens. “Unfortunately, another problem that we run into a lot is people have insurance benefits, but those allotted visits that they’re given by their insurance get used up very quickly before they have met their goal of getting better.”
The clinic is student-directed.
“The students are the ones who are proving the treatment and kind of running the day-to-day operations of the clinic with facility oversight,” Dr. Stephens said. “They’re doctoral students. They’re providing the treatment, but licensed physical therapists are providing oversight and assistance as needed and supervision.”
Students also were able to be a part of the planning stages of the clinic, and the students feel like it has already benefited them.
“It helped us develop leadership skills,” said Mollie Workman, a second-year student. “We’ve had to give information out to our classmates, we’ve developed policies and procedures and a few other things.”
Some of the students said they feel being involved with the clinic will make them better professionals.
“We don’t spend a whole lot of time learning some of the practical sides to starting your own clinic and the administrative part of being a physical therapist,” said Jordan Dowrey, a second-year student. “We’ve gotten practice at that
while we’re learning the skills in the classroom. It’s made us more well-rounded and better prepared for when we’re out on our own.”
“It’s helped remind us of why we chose physical therapy. We’ve been able to step back and see physical therapy as a whole and kind of shape who we want to be as clinicians in the future,” said Workman.
The program is open for students and community members without insurance benefits or who have already used their benefits up.
The program is located in Gullickson Hall and is open on Wednesdays from 5 pm-7 pm and Fridays between 2 pm to 4 pm.
Brittany Hively can be contacted at [email protected]