Professional Therapy Associates Keeps Profession Strong, Now Offers Student Fellowship Programs in Anticipation of Expansion

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The Montana-based physical therapy clinic is currently offering university students the opportunity to receive hands-on training and prepare for their future.

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The more we reach out and help those future physical therapists or those just starting out in the profession, the more we can pass on the purpose of delivering a high quality of care

As Professional Therapy Associates (PTA) prepares for expansion in 2013, the clinic will continue to provide student fellowship programs, which they believe will help continue to build the PT profession and allow students to obtain more clinical hands-on experience and knowledge.

According to a spokesperson for the American Physical Therapy Association, a challenge in the PT practice is addressing the needs of diverse patients/clients in response to known health disparities within our healthcare system. The profession needs to continue to work to increase the number and diversity of qualified applicants to physical therapy programs, as well as to further expand the number and diversity of qualified clinical educators who serve as role models and mentors for future physical therapists and physical therapist assistants (1).

PTA is solving those exact problems. Private practice outpatient PT clinics are faced with their own challenges, and PTA provides learning opportunities for those students who may not have been exposed to those challenges in the education environment. The training program for PTA students encompasses a wide range of clinical education concepts that are relevant to the outpatient physical therapy world (and specifically private practice). The clinic provides real-life situations, with tools and solutions to overcome the barriers, and the highly-qualified therapists at PTA act as role models.

The specific objectives of the student programs with PTA depends on where they are in the course of their program, the degree of knowledge with which they come into the internship, and the length of time they spend interning at the facility. Students learn and improve in the following areas:

●Greater understanding of clinical knowledge
oClinical reasoning and problem solving
●Clinical treatment skills
oOrthopedic testing, manual therapy treatment
●Understanding of private practice outpatient clinics
oCurrent healthcare industry and changes that may occur

“The more we reach out and help those future physical therapists or those just starting out in the profession, the more we can pass on the purpose of delivering a high quality of care (despite upcoming changes) and continue to build our profession and reputation,” commented Blaine Stimac, CEO of PTA.

The business model PTA utilizes is effective in treating patients and obtaining good results with them, as well as for the success of the organization. This business model allows a business and a group to overcome barriers that exist which many business owners struggle with on a daily basis. Many of the barriers that exist for a private practice owner include such things as hospitals buying up medical practices and controlling the referrals within a community, declining reimbursement, and increased competition. PTA has grown from 90 patient visits per week to 600 patient visits per week in just the last four years, despite the difficult issues facing private practices.

Students will learn the business concepts and how to implement them into their individual practices. PTA conducts pre-acceptance interviews for students interested in the program.

PTA patients say they enjoy the internship program and working with new interns alongside the experienced practitioners. Flathead Valley residents who wish to explore the benefits of physical therapy services may take advantage of free consultations provided by Professional Therapy Associates. These free health and injury screenings, valued at $100, are offered to all local residents who may be experiencing discomfort in their joints, limited range of motion, muscle weakness, lack of balance or other musculoskeletal conditions. Screenings are performed by licensed physical therapists, who will also answer questions about health issues, pain, and treatment. Interested individuals may schedule a free health and injury screening by registering online at

Learn more about the physical therapy services provided by Professional Therapy Associates by visiting

About Professional Therapy Associates and Blaine Stimac
Professional Therapy Associates (PTA) is an established provider of physical therapy in Montana. Founded in Kalispell in 1988, the practice has expanded to include four convenient locations throughout Flathead Valley. In addition to its flagship Kalispell North facility, PTA also has clinics in downtown Kalispell (Flathead Health and Fitness), Whitefish (The Wave), and Columbia Falls (Columbia Falls Clinic). Owner and CEO Blaine Stimac is a licensed Physical Therapist in Montana, and holds a Master of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Montana. He and his team offer a full range of services, including manual physical therapy, sports medicine, and therapeutic exercise and biofeedback, as well as treatment for back and neck injuries, motor vehicle injuries and work-related injuries. For more information, visit

(1) Accessed November 29, 2012. “Helping the Nation Stay Physically Active”,

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Alyssa Kaplan
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