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2021 Candidates for Board, Nominating Committee, and other positions

President Elect: Emily Herndon

Why are you interested in applying for this position?

More than a year ago, I made the decision to get further involved with MAPTA because of the recent upheaval of our healthcare system due to COVID-19. In March 2020, I decided to close my private physical therapy practice, Plains Physical Therapy, to take the time needed to determine the best way for the clinic to operate moving forward. During this time off I was able to take a bigger look at what I was doing as a professional and decided it was the best time to become more involved and active. I applied for MAPTA Director of Membership Services in October of 2020 and have been serving on the board since that time. In the last year, I have seen MAPTA involved in expanding telemedicine services in Montana with Blue Cross Blue Shield and Medicaid, forming a payment committee to address payment concerns directly with insurers, continue to offer diverse educational courses via Zoom and navigate a busy legislative session in Montana with the following results:

  • Passage of SB70 that revised laws pertaining to physical therapists
  • Oppose a bill that would have reorganized the several professional licensing boards, including PT, to be under the purview of the Board of Medical Examiners
  • HB43 – expand practice of telemedicine
  • SB121 – revise definition of acupuncture to reflect modern techniques and practices

Overall, the first year on the board was a busy year. My reason for applying for the position as President is to expand on this year’s results and continue the work currently being done.


What do you anticipate will be the largest priorities of the position you are applying for during your term?

• Updating the MAPTA strategic plan. This is the body that guides our association. This is our vision statement, mission and goals of what the organization is actively doing to promote and advance our profession in the state of Montana. By updating this plan, MAPTA will have the framework to make decisions and progress our professions goals.

• Support our Legislative Committee by bringing together more MAPTA members to advocate our profession to their local representatives about healthcare and physical therapy.

• Expand our Payment Committee. Currently there are three people serving on this committee. All members are owners of private practice facilities. My goal is to expand this committee to better represent all physical therapy settings.

• Facilitate collaboration and communication with other allied healthcare associations in the state of Montana to promote advocacy, reimbursement, education and public awareness for all.


Please provide a biography including highlights and accomplishments of your career, relevant experience to this position, other volunteer experience, etc.

Work Experience: Owner Plains Physical Therapy; Previously: Staff Physical Therapist, Bones Physical Therapy, California

Education: 

  • The University of Montana, Graduated: May 2006; Degree Obtained: Doctorate of Physical Therapy
  • Murray State UniversityGraduated: May 2003; Degree Obtained: Bachelor of Science, Exercise Science Athletic Training
  • Mt. Hood Community College, Graduated: June 2000; Degree Obtained: AAS Physical Therapist Assistant
Board and Leadership Positions:
  • •Owner of Plains Physical Therapy – September 2008 – Current Date
  • MAPTA – Director of Membership Services, October 2020 - Current Date
  • MAPTA – Payment Committee Member, April 2021- Current Date
  • Bonner-Milltown Community Council, April 2020 - Current Date
  • Women’s Hockey Association of Missoula (WHAM) - President 2013-2015, member at large and goalie coordinator 2016-2021
  • The University of Montana Physical Therapy Advisory Board – Member 2010-2014

Other Relevant Experience:

  • APTA Private Practice Section – Peer2Peer Network – March 2017 to Current Date
  • APTA Advocacy Network – Key Contact – February 2021 to Current Date
  • Missoula Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) – contributing member – April 2021 to Current Date
  • Alumni of Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses – Graduated 2016, currently active with this program


Vice President: Samantha Schmidt

Why are you interested in applying for this position?

I intend to give the PT profession a strong voice and representation to create a Montana where healthcare providers and their patients can thrive through equitable access, appropriate reimbursement, and patient centered care.

I served on the legislative board this past year and prior to that worked on COVID related telehealth access and coverage for PTs in Montana. Over the past 10 years, as a private practice owner, I worked with MAPTA and payers in authorizations, reimbursement, and appeal processes. Over the past 19 years, as a PT, I have worked in hospital, home health, skilled nursing facility, and outpatient orthopedic settings and will bring those experience with me to represent the broad field of Physical Therapy in our great state.


What do you anticipate will be the largest priorities of the position you are applying for during your term?

The physical therapy profession needs strong advocates during policy making, negotiations with payers, and collaboration with other health care providers. I look forward to working with the MAPTA legislative committee, the MAPTA payment committee, and other health care providers to address administrative burdens, reimbursement issues, and access for patients to PT.

Please provide a biography including highlights and accomplishments of your career, relevant experience to this position, other volunteer experience, etc.

Sam is a co-owner of Alpine Physical Therapy in Missoula, MT. Sam is also a co-owner of a walk-in, urgent care, physical therapy company called PhysioTrekk. Sam is the co-founder of the non-profit FIT TO FIGHT, which provides a support group based on exercise, education, and health for those facing cancer. Sam and her partners developed and have launched technology of a new web platform for testing tactical athletes, youth sport teams, and/or the active individual for injury prevention called the IPPA (Injury Prevention and Performance Assessment) Tool.

Sam holds a BS in Health and Human Performance and a BA in Psychology both from the University of Montana. She completed her Master’s in Physical Therapy from University of Utah. She is Comprehensive Certified in Pilates, Pilates Method Alliance Certified, and a Master Instructor for Comprehensive Pilates and Core Align for Balanced Body Pilates to train movement specialists nationally. Sam is also a member of APTA, MAPTA, and NSCA.

Nationally and most recently, Sam presented at Balanced Body’s Pilates On Tour Rehab Summit conference, at the National Strength and Conditioning Association’s national conference and at The Athena Pack business conference. She is also on the Legislative Committee for the Montana American Physical Therapy Association. She has served on Western MT Avalanche Foundation Board, Hamilton City Parks Board, and has volunteered with Trout Unlimited, Camp-Mak-A-Dream, and Five Valleys Land Trust.

When not teaching movement, helping others return from injury, or managing her businesses; Sam can be found around the campfire, on the river, or in the mountains with her husband, two young children and black lab.

Director, Programming - No Candidates

Chief Delegate - John Carling

Why are you interested in applying for this position?

To ensure that issues affecting our profession locally are not overlooked by our national representation, and to contribute to the profession that has given so much to me personally over so many years.


What do you anticipate will be the largest priorities of the position you are applying for during your term?

Identifying issues in the house of delegates that either benefit or do not benefit the practice of Physical Therapy in the state of Montana and making sure that our Montana delegation's interests are heard and understood.


Please provide a biography including highlights and accomplishments of your career, relevant experience to this position, other volunteer experience, etc.

  • M.S. Exercise Science 1993 Brigham Young University
  • MSPT University of Alabama Birmingham 1995
  • Outpatient Neuro PT 1995 St. Vincent Healthcare
  • Outpatient Ortho PT 1996
  • DSc Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions 2006
  • Supervisor St. Vincent Healthcare 2006
  • Tenure track Assistant Professor MSU-Billings Dept. of Health and Human Performance 2013-2016.
  • Fellowship in Orthopedic Manual PT at Regis University 2017 to present.
  • Private Practice Owner 2019--Present.
  • Volunteer with scout troop 373 Billings 2004--2018.
  • Montana State Soccer referee 2004 to present.


One Year Delegate - Anna Thorniley

Why are you interested in applying for this position?

I have had the privilege of serving as the newsletter editor since 2017. In this time, I have read many articles from our chief delegates and have developed an appreciation for the process of advocating for our profession. I have also arrived at a place where I am ready to step up from the editor position and rise to serve our profession.

What do you anticipate will be the largest priorities of the position you are applying for during your term?

The strong priority of this position will be learning the legislative process and staying abreast of motions proposed for House of Delegates. I expect this position will have the responsibility to support the 4-year and senior delegates while learning and growing towards serving in these roles down the road. I look forward to working with our delegates to serve and represent Montana APTA.

Please provide a biography including highlights and accomplishments of your career, relevant experience to this position, other volunteer experience, etc.

My name is Anna Thorniley and I am a physical therapist living in Bozeman, Montana. I am originally from the Pittsburgh area and pursued a physical therapy degree from Slippery Rock University and graduated with a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in 2014. I quickly developed a tender spot for the geriatric community and was drawn to hospital-based systems. The start of my career was very inpatient focused working in both acute care and in inpatient rehabilitation clinics. When I moved to Montana, I transitioned to outpatient therapy to meet clinic and community needs. I currently have the privilege of supervising three outpatient therapy facilities in the Bozeman Health organization.

In 2017, I was approached by a Montana APTA member to help with the newsletter editor position. Since then, I have enjoyed virtually connecting with members of the board and learning about local as well as national advocacy for our profession. I am at a place personally and professionally where I feel ready to take on greater responsibility to give back to a profession which we all find so vital to community health and wellbeing. Thank you, in advance for your consideration in my filling the one-year delegate position.



Nominating Committee (1 of 2) - Thomas Little

Why are you interested in applying for this position?

The position of Nominating Committee interests me because of the instrumental role it plays in actively recruiting strong and diverse leaders across the state for the MTAPTA. The ability to connect the MTAPTA with passionate physical therapists who think “outside the box” helps bring together a coalition of leaders who can advance our profession to new levels. Physical therapists are inherently entrepreneurial in how they help communities and individuals live without limitations and having a supportive association that understands the unique barriers to treating communities is critical. I intend on nominating a diverse group of individuals that understand these unique barriers and can create solutions that help each clinician/clinic/community provide high quality care to Montana citizens without unnecessary restrictions. I believe in order for our efforts to be effective, it is important to have representatives of all facets of our profession including, but not limited to, practice setting, specialization, geographic location, ethnicities, and gender identities. I am honored to be slated as a candidate for the MTAPTA’s Nominating Committee and I would be humbled to work alongside all physical therapists in Montana to promote our invaluable profession.

What do you anticipate will be the largest priorities of the position you are applying for during your term?

Promoting active membership engagement within our chapter will be one of my largest priorities within the Nominating Committee position. I intend on performing this by frequently connecting and conversing with MTAPTA members. Forming personal relationships with members is vital to chapter congruence. Furthermore, most members have a strong desire to be involved but are unsure where to start. Therefore, I intend on making engagement convenient by ensuring information is easily accessible to members and operating as a point of contact for members who would like to become more involved with the MTAPTA

Please provide a biography including highlights and accomplishments of your career, relevant experience to this position, other volunteer experience, etc.

Thomas Little, PT, DPT, is a physical therapist for the Montana-based corporate wellness company Healthy Is Wellness. He operates onsite injury prevention and rehabilitation clinics for multiple diverse organizations in Bozeman, MT. His clinic provides physical therapy, OSHA First Aid, ergonomics assessments/training, and wellness education services. Thomas recently received the honor of becoming the AOPT Occupational Health Special Interest Group (OHSIG) State Resource Liaison for Montana. He received his Doctor of Physical Therapy from Northern Arizona University (NAU) in 2019 where he was awarded as the Distinguished Graduate Student for the entire College of Health and Human Services. Furthermore, while at NAU he was recognized as one of the top students in the nation by being nominated for the McMillan Student Scholarship Award.





Nominating Committee (2 of 2) - Cole Bausch

Why are you interested in applying for this position?

I'm interested in getting involved with the legislative aspect of the physical therapy field and representing the profession on a political level. I want to grow awareness of what physical therapy is and the qualifications it takes to become a DPT. Additionally, I want to advocate for larger reimbursements for the profession. I believe these changes happen due to increased education and awareness at a local level.

What do you anticipate will be the largest priorities of the position you are applying for during your term?

I believe that individuals on the nominating committee provide a crucial role in finding and recruiting qualified individuals to represent the Montana chapter and create local change for the physical therapy position. Therefore, I anticipate one of the largest priorities being recruitment of individuals in BOD positions that will be devoted toward moving the physical therapy profession forward. Additionally, of highest priority is to find and nominate individuals who possess strong collaboration skills to work with local state and county governments.

Please provide a biography including highlights and accomplishments of your career, relevant experience to this position, other volunteer experience, etc.

My name is Cole Bausch. I'm a full time physical therapist practicing at Active Physical Therapy and Sports Injury Center in Missoula, MT. I graduated with my Doctorate of Physical Therapy in April 2020 from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in Austin, TX. During my clinical rotations I provided PT services in acute care, outpatient orthopedic, and vestibular clinics. Outpatient orthopedics with a focus on sports rehabilitation is my true love. My clinical focus is on orthopedic sports related injuries and concussion management. I have completed continuing education courses on current concussion evaluation and treatment approaches and current trends in sport concussion management. Furthermore, my current goal is to become a Board-Certified Sports Specialist. One of my greatest clinical interests is bridging the gap between sports related concussion and the risk of orthopedic injury following concussion.

In addition to clinical practice I have a desire to create awareness of the physical therapy profession and to advocate for physical therapy at a political level. During my time as a student I participated in the Texas legislative session of 2017. My main objective at this session was to create awareness regarding direct access care in the state of Texas. I'm a Montana native and want to bring this passion for improved healthcare to my home state. I believe that lasting changes to the profession will start at the local level.

My volunteer experience includes coaching youth wrestling, mentoring young kids through the Big Brothers Big Sisters program in Missoula, being a mentor for the Active 6 program at the Missoula YMCA and home construction through Habitat for Humanity.

I was born in Butte, MT and now reside in Lolo, MT with my wife Bry and two kids, Austyn and Lucca. I lead an active Montana lifestyle through mountain biking, bow hunting and recreating outside with my family.




PTA Representative  - Laurie Roberts

Why are you interested in applying for this position?

My leadership abilities and experience with MAPTA will allow me the ability to be a strong representative of Montana physical therapy and a good understanding of the issues that we face. Working as a Patient Payment specialist gives me a unique perspective on the issues regarding payment and reimbursement affecting physical therapy.

What do you anticipate will be the largest priorities of the position you are applying for during your term?

The 15% Medicare reimbursement reduction is one of the biggest issues facing physical therapy in 2022. PTAs are an essential part of providing physical therapy services especially in rural and underserved areas. This cut will force outpatient physical therapy businesses to either face additional cuts in payments or to not treat Medicare patients or not see them as often. In Montana, we face a shortage of Physical Therapists. PTAs are necessary for patients to receive needed treatments on a regular basis. Many of these Physical Therapy Clinics are already facing business challenges due to Covid 19. This is in addition to other proposed cuts in the fee schedule.

Other on-going issues include telemedicine and physical therapy and the continuing Covid Crisis. It is important to educate Physical Therapists and Physical Therapy Assistants on the issues facing our profession and to encourage them to join MAPTA to have a voice in these important issues.

Please provide a biography including highlights and accomplishments of your career, relevant experience to this position, other volunteer experience, etc.

Professional Accomplishments: 

Physical Therapy Assistant, Benefis Health System, Transitional Care Unit, Senior Services

  • Performed duties as Lead Therapist and Scheduler for therapy team as needed
  • Accredited Clinical Instructor including orienting new PTs and PTAs
  • Extensive skills with treating patients to restore functional abilities

Patient Payment Specialist, Benefis Health Systems

  • Ensure accuracy and proper submission of patient information to Medicare and other payment services.
  • Strong understanding of billing codes and practices
  • Analyze trends and data in physical therapy and rehabilitation

President, Blue Ice Sapphire Mining

  • Maintaining operations compliant with Federal and State standards, MSHA, EPA, ATF
  • Hiring, training and education of personnel to ensure safety, efficiency and quality work
  • Completion of paperwork including taxes, production standards, payroll, state and federal paperwork.

Nominating Committee, MAPTA Board of Directors

  • Recruit physical therapy professionals to serve on the Board of Directors and various committees
  • Keep current with legislation and issues that affect the physical therapy profession including billing issues.
  • Advocate for the physical therapy profession
Employment History: Present Physical Therapy Assistant Benefis Health Systems,  Physical Therapy Assistant Mountain View Physical Therapy, President Blue Ice Sapphire Mining
Volunteer Experience
  • Area Director for Special Olympics Montana for 15 years
  • Fundraising Coordinator for Pet Paw-See
  • Board member of Physical Therapy Assistant Program, University of Montana – Great Falls


Candidates Needed for Board and Nominating Committee

Each year, members are encouraged to submit nominations for qualified candidates to represent APTA MT through a variety of leadership positions.

Open Positions for October 2021 elections

  • President Elect - 6 months of mentoring, then becomes President in Fall of 2022
  • Vice President
  • Director - Programs
  • Four Year Delegate  - becomes Chief, on the BOD, in final 2 years of 4 year term
  • One Year Delegate
  • Nominating Committee Member (3rd year as Chair on the BOD)
  • PTA Caucus Representative

Please refer to this PDF for job descriptions for all positions


    NOMINATE A CANDIDATE


    Elections will be held at the Fall Business Meeting, 12noon-2:00pm. See events page for more about the dates of the Fall Conference where this will be held. If due to emergency and the meeting can be held in person, we will offer e-balloting. If there is only one candidate nominated per office, we will send out announcements but will not online balloting software.


    Open Positions for October 2022 elections

    • Secretary
    • Treasurer
    • Director - Membership
    • One Year Delegate
    • Nominating Committee Member (3rd year as Chair on the BOD)


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