I just returned from a trip out to the Midwest visiting family. They live in a small town with a population of around 4,000 people. Towns out there are miles apart, and the closest city for major shopping is almost an hour away. That got me thinking about my first job as a COTA, driving around rural Missouri providing therapy in small hospitals, nursing facilities and patient homes.
My route most days was close to 200 miles, and it was normal to be on the road for ten or more hours a day. I would stop in several small towns; see a patient or two in a nursing home, hospital, or their home. This was before GPS and cell phones, so directional skills were an important part of the job too.
Back then reimbursement was not an issue the therapists had to worry about, that was all handled by the office. We kept a simple mileage log and dictated notes for each visit. The dictation was transcribed by a secretary and the paper copy forwarded to each therapist for editing and signatures, then to the facility for filing.
But traveling around through all the small towns on this trip made me wonder what rural therapy is like these days. With the price of gas and vehicle maintenance today I imagine it has to be difficult. Many of us had a company car back then and all we had to worry about were oil changes and gas, and we were reimbursed once a month for those expenses.
So it would be interesting to hear from any COTAs out there who work in rural areas. Is reimbursement an issue these days? Do any companies still provide a vehicle? How does modern technology assist you in your job?
Until next time, hope all your "Thoughts" are Good-