The Warm Springs Managed Care program is remodeling a building on the campus to serve as a physical therapy center.
The building—by the courthouse on Warm Springs Street—should be ready for business by the end of the month.
Warm Springs Construction this week is working on the landscaping, and the new Managed Care physical therapy director is organizing the office and service areas.
The physical therapy center will be a great addition to Managed Care, as tribal members will no longer have to drive to Madras for therapy sessions. Some people have to drive to Madras twice a week for their sessions.
The director of Warm Springs physical therapy is Natalie Kiefer, a Choctaw tribal member, and doctor of physical therapy. She just finished graduate school at Pacific University, through an Indian Health Service scholarship program.
Natalie was thinking she would have to move out of state for a job with a tribe, as no Oregon tribe at the time had its own physical therapy program.
Meanwhile, Warm Springs Managed Care director Michael Collins at first was thinking about using the physical therapy practitioners in Madras to serve at the Warm Springs facility.
Then he found about Natalie, and both parties agreed the opportunity would be ideal.
Matter of financing
Some years ago Managed Care offered physical therapy to clients at the clinic. A budgeting issue forced them to discontinue the service, and for a time they could provide only level 1 care.
Since then, with more medical billing options open to the tribes, Managed Care is again in a position to offer physical therapy.
The service to members at the new center can also be billed to insurance.
Physical therapy is a specialty that rehabilitates and repairs certain ailments, promotes mobility and function, and quality of life.
It can help with post-surgery recovery, for instance. At the Warm Springs center, there will be physical therapy, and acupuncture.
Working part-time with Natalie will be one or two physical therapists from Madras.
The physical therapy center may be open by the end of the month, and look for the official grand opening in November.