Lobby Day: A Personal Response

January 24th, 2020

Lobby Day is an important time to be an advocate for Physical Therapy as a profession. When Ricardo sent the email to our class concerning participation in molding legislation, I did not know what to expect. I did not know how to contribute, nor that it would be so easy to participate. It always seemed like such a bother to get involved with politics, and a lot of times I felt as if what I had to say was never really heard. Ricardo indicated to me that every voice counts, and, as an active constituent of the Third District of Illinois, it was imperative that I show my support. I wrote an email to the Honorable Mattie Hunter, State Senator, to address the importance of representing the support of the Sunset Bill. I also faxed information regarding the Sunset Bill to Illinois State Representative, Honorable Kenneth Dunkin of District Five.

My fax included a flier regarding the importance of the Sunset Bill that aids in governing the Physical Therapy profession currently being reviewed for changes as legislation HB3499 and SB2095. As a major piece of legislation influencing the practice of Physical Therapy and the actual Physical Therapy Practice Act, it must be supported. As specialists within the healthcare field, this legislation protects our profession and is definitely worth supporting. The areas of change were not controversial as some other areas of legislation, and supported by an overwhelming majority of physical therapists. It was initially supposed to be evaluated on March 8, 2005, but has been postponed to March 16, 2005.

The Sunset Bill is one of the most important pieces of legislation for physical therapists. It is the basic guideline of Physical Therapy practice for not only the state of Illinois, but nationwide. This bill protects the right of Physical Therapists to practice, and allows Physical Therapy Assistants to work under them, and not under any other healthcare provider. Updates to the Sunset Bill being proposed to change in the Illinois Physical Therapy Act include an updated version of the definition of Physical Therapy. It indicates the requirement for Physical Therapists to “treatment diagnose,” which is a standard for Medicare documentation. It also identifies the parameters of the degree of Doctor of Physical Therapy, and the use of evidence-based practice in regard to patient treatment.

Being an advocate for the profession of Physical Therapy is a new experience for me. It is exciting that I can support my career as a student in school by influencing legislation. If one voice can be heard to support an important piece of legislation, I am proud to stand-up and speak. The Sunset Bill will help shape the way we can treat patients as Physical Therapists in the future. It may play an important role in the future of our profession. I feel strongly that I made a difference by aiding Ricardo in flooding emails and faxes to important governmental representatives that are speaking for constituents based on their votes. In the past, I did not feel as though my voice would make a difference. However, hearing the passion that was displayed by Ricardo, I believe I can make a difference.

Lobby day is one that comes but once a year and it is that day when all the doctors are required to give sound advice to their patients in the form of lectures and discharge their duty of keeping their body free from diseases, quite similar to the Hippocratic oath that they take while beginning their profession. Also, they have opened up medical centers online through which patients can avail various benefits and people who can use this platform to expand their business and get the support you need to make your medical practice.

In the future, I would like to take a more active role in participating in the political arena. Past frustration with my profession’s legislators as an athletic trainer angered me and left me feeling discouraged and hopeless. Feeling as though my voice did not make a difference or that things people in the profession preached about were not being heard left me disheartened in ineffective advocacy. I plan to participate in voting for representatives in the realm of Physical Therapy, and will try to stay aware of important issues affecting my new profession. Seeing passionate members of Northwestern’s Physical Therapy Program lead by example and get students involved in advocacy in Physical Therapy as they enter the program makes the hope for improvement in our profession contagious. I hope to be an active part of molding this profession.