Underrepresented: Making PT More Accessible

What fuels my passion and sole existence of being a physical therapist is to make physical therapy more accessible to everyone without exceptions. Despite race, how one identifies, culture, legal status, experiences, finances, background, language, and all the layers that come with being a human being; I truly believe physical therapy is beneficial and should be available for everyone. Physical therapy can be difficult to access in our communities and around the world due to many reasons, but the most common I have found in our community are awareness, background, language, lack of insurance, or financial restrictions.

The number of times I hear in my day-to-day “I didn’t know PT could help with that” is sometimes astounding. Yes! Physical therapy can in fact help with postpartum, headaches, vertigo, balance, concussion, return to an activity, neurological rehab and so much more! The lack of awareness of what physical therapy really is and what it can help with is something that hinders people from seeking out physical therapy. Here at Hulst Jepsen Physical Therapy we help gauge this gap through community outreach programs, social media engagement, constant meetings with other medical professionals, and community partnerships and involvement. With every hire, I feel more and more ideas and plans of action flow in to educate our communities and in this way make PT a little more accessible.

Another big piece that keeps people from accessing PT is their background, culture, and sometimes language. PT requires personal information to be known to build an appropriate plan of care for everyone and sharing this information can be intimidating. Even more intimidating is PT as an unfamiliar concept in an unfamiliar language or culture. Here at Hulst Jepsen Physical Therapy, we make it a goal to keep diversity growing to be able to best serve our community. We have team members with various cultural and language backgrounds that help patients feel more welcome. Hulst Jepsen Physical Therapy also works toward community education in the underrepresented community and supports those who seek to serve these people. We also work towards educating our staff on how to help patients feel more welcomed in ways like the use of pronouns and creating a safe atmosphere.

Insurance and financial limitations are also a barrier to physical therapy. That’s why we partner with a grand majority of insurance including Medicaid and Medicare. For those that are not insured or have insurance that doesn’t par with us, Hulst Jepsen Physical Therapy has built-in options such as client pay, free consultations, and flexible clinicians that are willing to work with you on options for your plan of care. We also have the option for a financial assistance program that can even help with copays. Several of our clinicians also donate their time towards pro bono services and the creation of other ideas to support those who struggle financially to cover their PT needs. With 22 Hulst Jepsen Physical Therapy clinics in place, we work to bring our clinics closer to people’s homes to help with some of the traveling limitations.

As a Spanish-speaking physical therapist that is obsessed with making physical therapy available to all, Hulst Jepsen Physical Therapy has been a wonderful support in expanding my specialties and education to better serve my community. They not only welcomed me but also continued to support me in community projects to help others feel welcomed and cared for in a transparent, more accessible, and safe environment.

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Perla Perez, DPT