According to Physical Therapy Director Lance Gross, the PT department is on the list for renovation and expansion. "About a month from now, what we're going to do is remodel this space and, plus maybe, two more rooms this size (the size of the office). And the object is to take out the interior walls and (create) a Physical Therapy Gym area where we can fit all our patient care," Gross said.
Currently, the PT department is housed in three old patient rooms and a hallway. They also share space and equipment with Cardiac Rehab. People can tell they have entered the physical therapy area when they see a hallway filled with various kinds of exercise equipment along the walls.
Gross said most people in the Fulton and Sharp County areas don't know that physical therapy is offered closer to home than they thought.
"As long as I've been here, I still have people come in all the time, new patients, that didn't know we have physical therapy available here," Gross said.
According to Gross, one of the problems in getting the word out that there is physical therapy offered at the Fulton County Hospital is that when a doctor prescribes physical therapy for a patient, the doctor usually doesn't consider where the patient lives and might tell their patient to go to a hospital that is some distance away. "Most of the time, doctors have therapy prescription pads from all different areas," Gross said. Doctors normally just pull one of these pads out and write out a prescription, and patients think they have to go to that particular place for their physical therapy. According to Gross, that's not true.
"The patient has the right to choose where they get their therapy at," Gross said.
Gross said most insurances accept physical therapy. "I've never seen a patient come through here (PT) that we haven't accepted their insurance," Gross said.
The PT department gets a wide array of patients. "Most of our patients are geriatrics. We do get a lot of school athletes," Gross said. "We also deal with work related injuries."
The PT department works will all age categories from infants to seniors.
"We have different equipment based on what the patient needs," Gross said. "What we do is rehabilitate anyone after any type of orthopedic surgery," Gross said. He also said the PT department helps with all those who have any type of issue with weakness or physical limitation.
Gross said those on his staff are all local people. Though Gross lives in Mountain Home, he has been working at the hospital for 12 years. Angie Cadenbach, who has her doctorate in physical therapy, grew up around the Viola area. Jennifer Innis, a licensed physical therapy assistant who is also on Gross' staff, is from the Salem area.
"Anyone who has post surgical or has some balance issues or something here, and they need physical therapy services, they can drive to Mountain Home or they could drive to West Plains or Batesville or they could just come here," Gross said. "The size of our facility and the size of our staff doesn't make us any less qualified (than larger hospitals)."