Apr 16 / Niccole Rowe, BA, COTA/L, Founding Partner

Fueling What You Love

“The duty of doing what you love fuels a fuller sense of being.” ― Lailah Gifty Akita

As an occupational therapy assistant (OTA), I have the privilege of helping clients do what they love. OTAs guide clients through struggle, fear, anger, and at times hopelessness to help the client improve engagement in occupations that have meaning for them. Our clients and co-workers recognize our value as OTAs which is further demonstrated in the outcomes that OTAs achieve through the delivery of our services. For most of us as OTAs, this is not just a career it is a calling. It is what gives us that “fuller sense of being”.

What happens when payors, legislators, and policy makers don’t recognize the valuable contributions of occupational therapy assistants?  How does this impact the clients, groups, and populations in need of occupational therapy services?

Recently, the OT community discovered some unsettling phrasing from a Tennessee payer regarding OTA supervision (Click here for the TNOTA Facebook Post). There has also been much discussion about cuts to OTAs' reimbursement rates (AOTA Article Regarding 15% cut). These changes are threatening our ability to serve those who need us, and our profession must respond.

As we celebrate occupational therapy this month, we must recognize the need to advocate, promote, and recognize the value of occupational therapy assistants. OTAs must embrace this challenge daily by advocating, promoting, and educating co-workers, organizations, and stakeholders to the training and competencies they have.  Every day, occupational therapists and students must throw their voices and actions in support of OTAs. As AOTA and state associations respond we must follow and support their efforts.

This challenge can be overcome, but it will take the united efforts of our profession standing with OTAs for each of us to become agents of change. As I think about all of the amazing occupational therapy practitioners that I have come to know over the years, I have no doubt we will not just overcome, but we will triumph.

Niccole Rowe, BA, COTA/L, Founding Parner