On November 12, 2013, I participated in Legislative Day in Madison, WI. Legislative Day is an opportunity to communicate the physical therapy community’s message to our state’s elected
officials. It provided me an opportunity to demonstrate the unity and strength of our physical therapy profession in Wisconsin along with the ability to advocate for measures to reduce barriers and improve access to physical therapy for individuals and families. We advocated for our profession by educating legislators about the WPTA’s mission and build relationships that will help strengthen the physical therapy profession and enhance the delivery of care in the Badger State.
The day was set up to educate us about the issues that we would present to our legislators. It began with an overview of the current legislative environment and discussions of issues relative to physical therapy. Our WPTA lobbyists who communicate directly with our legislators and their staff presented this information to us. The specific issues we were briefed on were x-ray ordering, Medicaid and worker’s compensation. The big issue we were told to focus on was x-ray ordering as it relates to physical therapists being able to provide a prescription to our patients for an x-ray with an x-ray Technician taking it. The emphasis here being that we are educated in this area of recognizing clinical prediction rules of when x-rays would be indicated such as Canadian C-spine rules and Ottawa Foot/Knee rules. It is also in the best interest of the patient to be able to receive an x-ray sooner if they visit us first versus making separate referrals and appointments weeks later with their physician. In regards to Medicaid and worker’s compensation issues, we wanted to remind our legislators that we would like to continue to be in the loop if conversations come up on these topics. Specifically, we wanted to be included when discussing ways of stream
lining the processes of going through Medicaid and worker’s compensation claims as they take a lot of time to complete.
After being debriefed on these topics we walked over to the capital building to meet with our assigned legislators. It was a very cool experience to sit down with them personally and tell them about our profession and what it has to
offer the people of Wisconsin. When describing our positions to them, most of them were very interested and supported us because we kept the focus on our patients and what we can provide to them. We think that with these
policies in place that we will be able to provide even better care to our patients. Aside from speaking to legislators, I was able to tour our capital building. It was a beautiful site to experience walking through the rotunda and
looking up at the dome of the building. Afterwards, I attended a student social at a local brewery and was able
to meet with other students from UW-Madison, UW-Milwaukee and Concordia. It was great to meet with them to
discuss how our Legislative Day went, as well as discuss our own personal goals and ambitions related to our profession. Overall, it was a great experience to learn more about student advocacy as it relates to physical therapy and taking action to further our great profession.