One Member’s Olympic Experience

PTWA Editorial Advisory Committee member Joyce Middendorp spent some time at the Olympic Games last week and was kind enough to share her experience with us. Sounds like it was a great time!

Our journey started Wednesday when we took the Amtrak up to Vancouver, B.C. What a wonderful start to our experience, it was so beautiful along the sound with great views throughout. Once in Vancouver our first mission was find and get to the hotel, which was 30 minutes south of town and supposedly easily accessible by sky train. With all the helpers and great signs everywhere we were surprised how easy and convenient it really was to find.

Now onto our first adventure–a hockey game. The atmosphere was great, lots of local support, families, and of course both teams were well represented.  It was very exciting with scoring back and forth right until the end when goals were being scored with ease for Switzerland. Overall it was a perfect start to our games! Again transit was a breeze with volunteers (or as the locals call them “smurfs,” because they are dressed in all blue) everywhere you looked. You couldn’t get lost if you wanted to. The only difficulty was getting used to being closer to people than you would like on the buses and trains but it wasn’t that bad.

The next day (Thursday) we were off to long track speed skating. After a great walk along the riverfront we enjoyed the speed skating. Being only two rows from the track was amazing… almost as amazing as getting an autograph and picture with Bonnie Blair!  Which was a great way to spend the 15-minute break between the skaters! It was a little surprise perk that came with our package deal and I think it made everyone’s day.

Joyce (right) muggin' with Bonnie Blair

We then headed to explore the downtown, take in the scenes and of course see the Olympic Cauldron which was a “must do” on my list. Too bad you couldn’t get very close to it.  Later that night we got to see several US athletes get their medals at the Vancouver Victory Ceremony including Shaun White and Scotty Lago for snowboarding, Shani Davis and Chad Hedrick for 1,000 meter speed skating, and the Canadian speed skater Christine Nesbitt who won by .02 seconds earlier that day in the 1000 meter distance.   We then ventured down to the Olympic Superstore which we heard could have waits up to two to three hours but we got in 20 minutes. It was not as super as I had anticipated but of course we did spend some money there.

Then Friday (our long day) at Whistler started at 5 a.m. when we took a cab to catch our Olympic bus to the mountain (a two to three hour ride) where we saw ski jumping at 10 a.m. The entire venue rocked with a drum line on the sidelines, crowd trivia and lots of great jumps. Most importantly for me as a physical therapist, no one fell or got hurt!  Some of the better European jumpers can really catch some air. This was most impressive. We even got to take some pictures of ourselves on a mock ski jumping setup and backdrop.

Bringing home the gold

After ski jumping we took another bus to Whistler Village where we walked around and saw several teams out and about. Whistler Village has a lot of hustle and bustle. After a bite to eat, we were off again up the mountain on the gondola to the Olympic Sliding Center to see skeleton. The higher you got the colder it was and as soon as we got to our seats (metal bleachers), we were not sure if having seats was such an advantage. The people on the ground standing at various turns, straight-aways and at the end seemed much warmer than we were. We enjoyed seeing the crazy sleds fly by so quick that it was hard to take many pictures. Unfortunately the Canadian (who was a favorite) did not place which bummed the crowd a little. It was not from a lack of support that’s for sure. After a long three hour ride down the mountain, we were able to take a short sea bus back to the train station which gave us more great view of the Olympic rings as well as the city lights and another view of the Olympic torch. Once back to the hotel, we collapsed and decided to sleep in the next day.

Saturday was quite the challenge in terms of taking the train due to MANY more people out and about. We first went to see the Ozone celebration site. There we saw the Olympic rings and a huge maple leaf all made out of cranberries which were unfortunately in a park instead of in the river as first planned due to fast currents. Nevertheless it was impressive. These celebration sites are everywhere in the surrounding cities and have many things to do, see, and partake in including a huge screen TV area where you can watch the events. Most of the day there is also live entertainment. After doing a little more shopping and grabbing our bags from the hotel we did manage to get to the Amtrak station although it did take some effort and some kind people to assure we succeeded.

Overall our experience was priceless. It was highlighted by seeing the Canadian spirit everywhere and across all age groups. The Canadians were full of pride especially after they won that first home turf gold medal. Canadians as a whole were very respectful, helpful, friendly and very polite. Overall it seemed as though the organizers did a great job in having enough buses, trains, etc to get everyone where they needed to be and on time. Of course a lot of our time was spent in lines for security, buses, trains, coffee, food and bathrooms but it was still fun and exciting. Everyone was in the same boat and really seemed to make the best of it. It was also nice to see the all the USA sweatshirts, flags, and memorabilia around the venues as we were well represented as expected. We were lucky enough to stand right next to an American luger and his family at the ski jump, we saw the speed skating team at the skeleton, got Bonnie Blair’s autograph and saw several other family members and USA Olympians out and about during the day which was all very exciting. I am so glad and thankful that we had the opportunity to partake in the games, thank you Canada for being such a great host!

Joyce Middendorp, MPT

Dispatches from the Dominican Republic

PTWA member Bernice Kegel, PT, is in the Dominican Republic with a team from Children of the Nations working with survivors of the Haiti earthquake. Here are excerpts from an email she sent PTWA Feb. 19:

We started our first day of work today. We are stationed at the Children of the Nations Clinic in Barahona, which is about three hours from Santo Domingo Airport. We are staying in a nice house, with good cooks, so our basic needs are taken care of.

From what I understand, a lot of surgeries were being done at a border town hospital in Jimani. Many, many surgeries were done, but there was no where for the patients to go.  It was decided to take 10 pediatric patients from Jimani by helicopter to the Children of the Nations Clinic for post-op care. That number has flexed up and down since then.   Some of the children have been sent back and forth to Santo Domingo for plastic surgery.

As I understand it, groups have been coming in and out every 10 days to assist. Today was changeover day, which means that there were many people sleeping here last night. Our group consists of an ER doc, a family practice doc from Issaquah, Bethany, a nurse from Virginia Mason, Eric Cairns, PT and myself. There is also a group of about six counselors, two who have already been here for a week, and another four from San Diego. There is an interest in getting children to talk about the trauma that they have sustained, without re-experiencing the trauma, which sounds really interesting to me. I wish I had better language skills to communicate with the parents. The Haitians speak French and Creole, and the Dominican Republic people speak Spanish. I speak none of the three. One of the children can speak English, and we have a few interpreters and parents who can help with this. I hear the children repeating “good job” already. The children have clearly been traumatized, and pain control issues are big. As a PT, we are never popular anyway. We are at five weeks post earthquake and I am shocked at how quickly the children have developed horrible flexion contractures. The lower extremity amputees sit with their hips and knees horribly flexed. I have been trying to explain to the parents that these issues need to be addressed before prosthesis can even be made. Needless to say, the parents are all asking when their child will get prosthesis. I hate to say it, but a few have shoulder disartics, and very high above elbow amputations, so the news that this will probably not happen needs to be broached. At the same time I have an above elbow amputee that is ready to be fit, but nobody available to fit her. One of the members of our team has carpenter, woodwork-type skills, so I am giving him a crash course in prosthetics and seeing if he can come up with some sort of knee weight bearing rig to try to take care of the hip flexion contracture. I also have a set of stairs to work with on the outside of the building, but there is no railing at all, and about a 30-foot drop. Scares me to death. I have one adult wheelchair which the children fight over, and two sets of adult crutches. I have no parallel bars, but rigged up two gurneys next to each other, with the side rails up. It sort of works.  I have a small mirror, and some theraband. I don’t think I mentioned that the place we are working at is not a hospital. It was established as an outpatient day surgery center, I think for children with cleft palates. We have two dental chairs, an x-ray machine, and then the children are all in one big room. It is sort of organized chaos. Parents are put to work cooking and cleaning etc. All the children except two have someone with them. I think the adults are sleeping in the office building near by, and a few of the children are now “outpatients” but there is nowhere for them to go.

It has been a long day, and more emotional than I prepared myself for. Reading the charts (which are pretty incomplete), but it can break your heart if you try to think too far into the future.

*PTWA received an email from Children of the Nations this week expressing their desperate need for PTs and OTs to join their teams. Click here to find out how you can help.

Look for some familiar faces at CSM this week

Washington’s physical therapy schools will be representing PTWA at CSM this week! Stop by the following presentations and see what students and faculty at the Washington schools are up to.
Thursday Feb. 18

Platform presentation

12:30-2:30 p.m.
Cahalin L, LaPier TK, Shaw DK. Sternal Precautions – What Do They Mean?  (EWU)

Friday Feb. 19

Platform presentations

Cleary KK, LaPier TK, Jamison A, Beadle C. A novel approach to a typical cardiac rehabilitation program: For Your Heart, an exercise DVD. (EWU)

4 p.m.
Mike Walker, Bob Boyles, Brian Young, Joe Strunce, Gail Deyle, JulieWhitman, Matt Garber M, Rob Wainner RS. The efficacy of manual therapy versus placebo ultrasound for mechanical neck disorders, a randomized clinical trial. (UPS)


11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Yvette Griffiths, Christina Hamilton, Hillary Robins, Jennifer Hastings. The differences in self-efficacy, function, and participation between adults with C6 or C7 motor tetraplegia who use power or manual wheelchairs. (UPS)

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Roger Allen, Nick Siewert, Lars Kellow, Matt Kirchoff, James Evans. Effects on episodic vertigo intensity of plantar somatosensory input via direct pressure vs. TENS in patients with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. (UPS)

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Carol Ann Davidson, Cheryl Fong, Jeremiah Griffith, Jeff Holdener, Melissa Newcombe. A qualitative analysis of patient approach to post-stroke physical therapy intervention. (UPS)

Saturday, Feb. 20


Kranenburg M, Cleary KK. Gait and balance deficits in a patient hospitalized with bipolar schizoaffective disorder: a case report.  (EWU)

LaPier TK, Cleary KK, Gefroh J, Graham R, Hedgecock K.  Physical function, age and mental status are related to physical activity and exercise self-efficacy 3, 6 and 12 months following coronary artery bypass surgery. (EWU)

11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Laura Murahashi, Tanya Sena T, Bobby Yarnall, Bob Boyles, Cindy Benson-McGregor. Immediate effects of thoracic transverse mobilization in patients with the primary complaint of mechanical neck pain:  A pilot study. (UPS)

Platform presentations

8:45 – 9 a.m.
Roger Allen, Amy Moe, Casey Pyle, Chelsea Athing,  Elizabeth Luppino, Mauri Terao, Jeffrey Kline. Temporal relationship between stress and episodic pain flares in patients with fibromyalgia syndrome. (UPS)

9 – 9:15 a.m.
Roger Allen, Kelsey Wallin, Anna K. Smith, Caryn Bittenbender. Quantitative pain topography assessment: Reliability and functional correlations for patients with fibromyalgia syndrome. (UPS)

Goldrick SB, Anton D, Mizner R, Hess J, Kincl L.
“Analysis of Two Ergonomic Interventions for Lifting Concrete Blocks Over Rebar Wall Supports in the Masonry Trade” (EWU)

Plus check the conference schedule to see platform presentations from Eastern’s Drs. Kimberly Cleary and Tanya LaPier on their research labs at Eastern.

Have a great time in San Diego — your chapter staff is jealous.

It’s Time to Test the ProviderOne System

Recent testing with providers shows that most are not ready for the new ProviderOne billing requirements, which Washington’s Medicaid program plans to implement in April. To help providers prepare for the new system, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services pursued and received unprecedented federal funding to support a testing phase and a live help desk to assist providers with the transition.

The enhanced testing phase and live help desk started on January 4, 2010; yet three weeks into testing, only 186 providers had participated, less than 1 percent of the 14,000 providers who have billed in the last two years. Of those, only 59 providers had their test claims pay (there are not actual payments from the test environment).

Providers need taxonomy, a ProviderOne client ID and a National Provider Identifier to meet ProviderOne billing requirements. Of the test claims submitted in the first three weeks of testing, only 11 percent were paid, 64 percent were denied and 25 percent were suspended. Denial reasons were as follows:

•    49 percent were denied because missing or incorrect taxonomy
•    27 percent were denied because of missing or incorrect client ID
•    6 percent were denied because of missing or incorrect NPI
•    18 percent were denied because of all other edits (invalid procedure code, duplicate claims, etc.)

The federal funding for this testing and the help desk is only available through early April. Providers who act now will receive personalized assistance with the transition, but if all providers wait until the last month, the help desk will not have the capacity to help everyone, according to DSHS. To avoid disruption to payments, DSHS recommends that providers begin using the free testing program as soon as possible, but no later than mid- to late-February.

Contact DSHS today at 800-562-3022 (select option 2, then option 4) to find out how billing staff, billing agents or clearing houses can participate in this testing.

To participate:
Start by accessing the testing instructions at
If you need assistance, call the ProviderOne Help Desk at 800-562-3022 (select option 2, then option 4) or email them at
Sign up for our e-mail distribution list to receive important schedule updates and other information from DSHS: