Copes Adds Patient Safety Through Regulations to Lifelong Commitment to Treating Vulnerable Patients

Click Here to Read More...
When new Washington State Board of Physical Therapy member Rodney Copes, PT, MBA, considered career paths, he originally thought he wanted to work with athletes and thought he might study athletic training in college. A University of Connecticut (UConn) advisor suggested he aim higher because of test scores – so he chose to get a physical therapy degree instead. A high school varsity tennis player, Copes decided after earning his UConn PT degree in 1996 that treating athletes “wasn’t the road I wanted to go down.”

He chose instead to work in the skilled nursing facility setting. “I love the people,” he explains. “There’s an appreciation when you are working with someone who just wants to get out of bed. Go to the bathroom on their own. Go for a walk on their own.”

Copes, who grew up in various places because his dad was in the military, chose to get his PT degree from UConn, in part because his dad was from Connecticut and was then working in Massachusetts. At that time, there were no master’s or DPT programs and Copes went on to get an MBA from Jones University in 2004.

After graduating from PT school, Copes worked as a traveling PT for a short period of time and then travelled to Mukilteo to visit a friend from PT school who had settled there. Copes decided to stay too.

Currently a PT at Linden Grove Rehabilitation Center in Puyallup, Copes works closely with the nurses and CNAs at Linden Grove on what to look for with patients, since they see them every day, so deficits or new pain gets them into therapy. But he says his biggest battles are “people wanting to do it on their own but it’s not safe.”

Besides working as a SNF clinician, Copes began providing peer reviews for Tivity Health, based in Franklin, TN, in 2014. His experience doing insurance investigations grew into his interest in a Board of PT position. “If someone is going to go to PT, they shouldn’t have to think – is this going to be good PT,” he says. Copes also serves on a Department of Health Patient Safety Improvement Task Force, which is trying to reduce the amount of time it takes to process sexual misconduct cases, as well as recommending changes to better inform the public earlier in the processing of these cases.

Besides helping to protect consumers on the regulatory side, Copes wishes those who are looking for a PT could have a greater understanding of what type of PT they were going to, especially if they’ve never gone to a PT before. “Something other than a provider lookup,” he says, that helps the patient navigate the choices. “It would utilize the system less.”

Eclectic Background Leads to Board of Physical Therapy Role

Click Here to Read More...
When Jeffrey Foucrier, PT, DPT, Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist and Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist first graduated from PT school in 2011, he says, “I knew I wanted to create change but didn’t really know what that looked like.” His eclectic journey since that time includes inpatient ortho, outpatient ortho, being a community health volunteer, and teaching.

Foucrier always had an interest in how to protect the public and, when two Washington State Board of Physical Therapy positions opened up recently, he applied and began serving a four-year term this past September.

Foucrier grew up in Tacoma and moved to Olympia from Phoenix in March 2021. His wife Tamsin Foucrier serves as the Director of Entrepreneurship at The Evergreen State College.

After receiving several job offers from clinics in Olympia, Foucrier accepted a position as a physical therapist at the multidisciplinary Heart of Wellness clinic in Tumwater. “The dialogue with other experts in the field is incredibly attractive to me,” he says. “A team of people working toward a common goal is much more powerful than working in silos.”

Foucrier earned a BS in biology from Seattle University and his DPT from Regis University, in Denver, CO. He’s worked as a rehabilitation specialist at Rehab Without Walls in Seattle, as a PT in Casper, WY, Phoenix, AZ and Mesa, AZ, as an adjunct professor at AT Still University in Mesa, AZ, and as an assistant clinical professor at Northern Arizona University. He helped build community-based health and wellness programs for underserved and high-risk populations in coordination with Northern Arizona University, Crossroads Inc. and Arizona State University’s Student Health Outreach for Wellness. In addition to continuing to practice at Heart of Wellness, in April 2022 Foucrier will begin teaching again at an online Tufts University program based in Phoenix.

Foucrier has found the focus on foundational information during the Board of PT’s review of complaints to be one of the most rewarding parts of his work with the board. “Patient preference, research and clinical experience and how these are applied to standards of practice is fascinating.” He would also like to get students more involved in the regulatory process. He believes it will result in greater transparency as they become more experienced clinicians.

DEI Survey Unearths Wide Range of Opinions

Click Here to Read More...
Members expressed a wide range of opinions when asked for their definition and vision of DEI in a recent survey from, “Working to dismantle ableist, racist, sexist, and other discriminatory practices within the work place and within the community.” To, “A feel good activity that is a waste of time and resources instead of giving the best possible care to all patients.”

Of the 87 members who responded to our three-question survey, 51 (58.62%) said there is a DEI policy and/or procedure at their workplace.

When asked, “Which method can APTA WA use to help you understand DEI better?”, an equal number of people (18) indicated a webinar or article, 2 said a weekend course, 32 said “all of the above,” and 16 answered “other” specifying, “A series of articles with likely real scenarios a clinic will encounter,” “Opportunities to be included in initiatives,” “Whatever method is used, the lede (sic) needs to be how DEI is not a zero sum game. Advancing these causes will help all of us as a profession,” to simply, “We have enough,” and “Not interested. Thanks though.”

Joining APTA’s strategic objective to “foster the long-term sustainability of the physical therapy profession by making APTA an inclusive organization that reflects the diversity of the society the profession serves,” APTA Washington will use and continue to gather member input to move forward on our DEI journey.

APTA Washington DEI Special Committee web page
APTA DEI web page

Jammeh Appointed to PTA Position on Board of Physical Therapy

Click Here to Read More...
In October 2020, Destini Jammeh, PTA, Certified Lymphedema Therapist, began serving in the PTA position on the Washington State Board of Physical Therapy, after being appointed by Governor Jay Inslee. Her term runs through September 2024. Jammeh is just the third person to serve in this role since a PTA rep was added to the board in 2009, after PTAs became licensed in Washington state.

A PTA in the MultiCare Health System, where she has worked in both the Auburn and Tacoma locations since 2010, Jammeh specializes in care to oncology patients. During clinical rotations she did a lot of wound care and after graduation worked in acute care, rehabilitation, and outpatient settings.

After a middle school career assessment pointed Jammeh toward physical therapy, she wasn’t sure this was the right choice because she was unsure of working with sick people. “I was young,” she said. After shadowing PTs and PTAs on the job she realized her interest in anatomy, physiology and sports made the profession a good match for her.
Jammeh received her Associate of Science in Allied Health/Health Services/Health Sciences from Trident Technical College in South Carolina. Originally from Georgia and mainly from the South, Jammeh visited a girlfriend who lived in the northwest and liked it so much she stayed. She also earned a Bachelor of Arts in Healthcare Leadership from the University of Washington.

“I’m always looking for new opportunities for growth,” she says about applying for the Board of PT position, thinking the position would allow her to learn more about the profession and its regulatory side. “I’ve learned that so many things are not black and white. There’s a lot of gray,” she says.