A Letter from Our Founder – Dr. Melanie Brennan
A letter from Melanie – I am filled with hope!
Happy New Year 2018!
2017 was a great year! We had so many wonderful achievements: A move into our beautiful and spacious new building, growing programs such as our Diabetes Prevention Nutrition and Exercise Program, Healthy Lifestyles Corporate Group Wellness Education Program, the addition of a full occupational therapy and hand therapy practice, Our first Run, Walk, Roll at Ironwood Springs, new office, exercise, and physical therapy staff, initiation of our Forever Strong lifelong exercise therapy and independent living skills program, and so much more. Throughout the year, physical therapy, Parkinson Wellness and Recovery (PWR!), and our ABILITY neurologic recovery programs, and Rock for Recovery Fundraising GALA also continue to thrive and grow. We added 7 new staff just in 2017.
Your outpouring of generosity has made this growth possible in 2017, making it our most impactful year in our history! Together, we met the recovery and rehabilitation needs of 58 more individuals with disabilities in our Forever Strong Program. These individuals no longer receive much needed assistance with exercise and rehabilitation, which is vital to maintaining and improving their quality of life. They move better, have less pain, have less risk of complications from sitting too long such as sores on their skin, contracted joints, and secondary cardiovascular conditions. Because of you, they are happier and better able to interact with their community, work, and life.
More than 14,000 individual visits came through our door in 2017! ExercisABILITIES has also begun the planning for a new pediatric rehabilitation unit thanks to your kindness and contributions. This program will fill a gap in services currently in southeast MN for children with developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorders. We are thankful for your contributions and grants to allow us to grow to serve the many who are unable to afford this care and would otherwise go without.
There is even more to come. In 2018, our goal is to continue to accelerate our work. Our goals will begin with the start of our pediatric visits on January 16th. We hope to grow our Forever Strong program to 90 individuals and hope to achieve more than 850 visits a month in our physical therapy and occupational therapy programs. We are working to add speech therapy services as well.
This work will not be easy considering the changing healthcare insurance changes and decreasing reimbursement and coverage rules. In 2018 and beyond, more individuals will not be covered for basic, human needs in their recovery process after devastating injuries, illnesses, or birth disabilities. In fact, our congress has reenacted a damaging and unethical rule that was first made in the 1980’s because they did not act to repeal the therapy cap prior to December 31, 2017. All Medicare beneficiaries will only receive $2010 of PT or Speech Therapy and $2101 of Occupational Therapy for the entire year with no exceptions, no money allowed over this limit. This is unethical, unlawful, and requires a loud community to make them change this decision.
What might the therapy cap mean to you? If your mom, dad, grandma or great uncle has a stroke, is diagnosed with MS, Parkinson’s, or has a spinal cord injury in January 2018, they will only likely be in the hospital for 2-3 weeks and then will only qualify for about 18-20 visits of PT. Let me tell you that we are good, but not miracle workers. Evidence and research shows that functional improvements can occur over many years after a stroke, but only with intensive therapy. Therapy along with skilled exercise and recreation continues to be the most effective treatment for recovery. However, our insurance companies and government are ignoring the evidence to save money. This is a horrible reality of our current reimbursement world and it is keeping many individuals of all ages from reaching their full potential.
ExercisABILITIES is here to help! And together, with your financial and volunteer help, we can provide affordable, reduced fee skilled rehabilitation, exercise, and many other services so that your loved one can continue to achieve their highest potential. They deserve the best. Together, we can turn the tide. Consider a donation today! We are looking for many volunteers as well to assist with our efforts. Contact us today!