A Witty PT (aka Aaron Hackett, DPT)
DPT from University of Utah
2 Terms Reimbursement Chair APTA Utah Component
4 Years Utilization Management including prior-authorization, retro-reviews, Tier reviews, reconsideration, appeals.
3 Years Clinical practice guideline development
3 Years private consulting adults with disability non-profit wellness
Current County Aging Services Fall Prevention Educator
Amateur designer, painter, artist.
30+ years experience with dry humor and sarcasm
We all have a story. I am no different. However I will spare you the perplexities of my youth during the 80’s. They were certainly times that tried men (or at least men’s hairstyles). Suffice it to say, I came through mostly unscathed. Except for a few choice photos that remain in my childhood albums, no one will be the wiser.
My physical therapy story begins in 98′. Yep, back when Britney Spears was an MTV sweetheart and the US President “Bubba” liked a “hands on approach” with his staff. I had just graduated high school. The stress of adulthood had not yet caught up, but I could see it gaining! A close friend and I started working out early mornings. This turned out to be one of those defining moments in life for us both.
I can still watch the whole event in my brain like a scene out of a Matrix movie. All action slows down but is in crystal clear definition (not 4k though, that wasn’t invented yet). We were headed north through an intersection in my parents station wagon (yes, true). The light was green so I proceeded through…
“Oh Shhhhhhhh!!!!!” we both yelled simultaneously. We didn’t even have time to finish the explicative. An oncoming car heading south did not yield and turned left. We collided.
I can see it all. We look at each other, back at the other driver, I try to hit the brake, she is not looking, our bumpers kiss, metal crumples, glass breaks. In my head it takes ages for the crash to be over, but in reality it was over as soon as it started. To be honest, we were both unlucky and very lucky. My friend did not have a seat-belt on that day. He hit the dashboard but was lucky he did not go through the windshield. The lady that collided with us hit her head on the windshield. I never learned how she ended up.
My friend needed physical therapy for his knees after surgery. He had blown out one PCL and had some meniscus issues with both. He thought his PT team was the coolest. They were giving him all kinds of hope and a game plan to get back to normal life.
[Fast Forward several years>>>] I graduated from Physical Therapy school with my DPT in 2006 and knew everything. Orthopedics was my bag of chips; and my hat goes off to all those working in skilled nursing and inpatient care. By the end of the first 5 years I already sinking into a rut. I was in an ok clinic, but their culture never really meshed with mine. I was then offered a position with some friends from PT school. It was a great place! However, it did not last. The owner returned from a sabbatical and I was laid off after just two years.
Another clinic owner was looking to “bring on a partner”. They wanted to build their “private practice”. I quickly learned the promises were empty and the private practice was partially owned by the only referring MD. Every day was a drag and my career was not fun anymore. I felt I had been lied to. I had had enough of the clinic.
I had made an acquaintance with a non-clinical PT, while I volunteering on our local PT Board, that worked in utilization management and decided to reach out. It just so happened they were looking for a therapist for clinical reviewing. I figured I would give it a shot and see first hand what all the bad UM hype was about. Hey, if clinicians are going to be dishonest, maybe they weren’t right about non-clinical work as well.
In most respects, I am happy to report, they were.
Every day I look at clinical notes from every corner of the US. Orthopedics, pediatrics, skilled nursing, neurological rehab. The most common diagnoses to things I swear were made up. You name it, I have likely seen clinical documentation for it. You know what? It has taught me tons!!! That is what I want to share with you: The mistakes, the mishaps, the misinformation, advice, tips, cautions, what I see, what I don’t see, and what I wish I saw more of.
Lets face it. It won’t matter how well you can scrape-and-tape if you can’t get someone to pay for it. Fancy machines and magical hands won’t do you any good if they stop working the moment you start your treatment notes.
However, I will be the first to admit this stuff is not exciting and it is not dazzling, but it is SOOOO crucial. It takes an open mind and the willingness to learn and laugh at missteps. The fun had been stripped from my career, and have decided to bring it back. I can’t promise every blog post will make you LMAO (or would that be LYAO?). But I will strive to offer you content that makes you think, laugh and be a better rehab professional. Plus, memes, designs and swag all designed by a licensed rehab pro like each of you.
General disclaimer: All the information in my website is my own opinion. It is backed by years of experience and real world work. I strive to find reliable sources of information. I do pride myself on giving tips that are ethically sound and within the bounds of my professional experience. However, I do not claim to speak for any particular companies, entities, associations or groups. All information found herein is for informational purposes only. I do not promise that the advice and tips will reduce denials or other negative consequences that could happen in a clinical setting including (but not limited to) appeals, audits, etc. All examples used in blogs or otherwise will have had any identifying information removed. Any resemblance to actual people is purely coincidental.