“My Health Matters” – Covenant Health Therapy Centers Hosts Health Talk

Pam Free-Ollard, PT, DPT, Cert. MDT and manager of Covenant Therapy Centers at Fort Loudon Medical Center, spoke to a large group of residents in Tellico Village for the July Education Series in hopes to raise awareness about health matters and therapy options in their community. This event was sponsored by Citizen’s Insurance Solutions.

Free-Ollard acknowledged everyone has a choice in picking a provider for therapy services and highlighted unique qualities that demonstrates why Covenant Therapy Centers wants to be a provider of choice.

Pam Free-Ollard FLMC Therapy
Pam Free-Ollard smiles at the Covenant Therapy Center located at Fort Loudoun Medical Center.

She says, “Covenant Health establishes the expectation of a patient-first mentality. We are uniquely afforded time to spend with each patient and our patients receive one-on-one care with a licensed clinician for each of their sessions.”

Patients can self-refer to Covenant Health Therapy Centers; no physician referral is required. The staff includes five clinical specialist PT’s, one senior PTA, one clinical specialists for ST / OT, and two office administrators to help navigate the complex insurance industry. The clinic offers care in specialty programs both orthopedic and neurological with staff certified in various treatment methods including McKenzie, Dry Needling, Manual therapy for orthopedics; PWR, BIG (PT/OT) and LOUD (ST) for Parkinsonism.

Free-Ollard explained that success for the therapy staff is teaching patients how to manage symptoms, reduce pain and provide guidelines for pursing further medical care (such as orthopedic needs like X-rays and neurological needs like CT scans).

She said, “We are here to develop a relationship with our patients. We value being able to teach someone how to reduce pain, manage their symptoms, and improve quality of life. If a patient is lacking improvement the therapist will help the patient navigate seeking further medical intervention (such as imaging or referral to a specialty provider).

“For an aging population that’s active, we are here to help train your bodies to do exercises and practices that keep you away from providers for longer periods of time. We want to teach you how to manage your health before something bad happens, and so you have the capacity to heal more quickly,” Free-Ollard says.

Free-Ollard provided education to the residents that physical therapy can now be accessed through direct referral or through their provider (MD, NP or PA).  Some insurances may still require referral but the office administrators can assist in fulfilling any insurance questions, requirements and needs.

Recovering from a Stroke

Ann Blackwood, PT, MSPT, Clinical Specialist and Certified BIG, PWR, was present to discuss neurological services and shared that since the era of COVID-19, there is a rise in persons suffering from strokes.  Pre-COVID the majority of stroke sufferers were likely in their 6th decade of life or greater.  She said, “We now see stroke survivors of all ages.”

Services like speech, occupational, and physical therapy can aid a person in minimizing the physical and cognitive effects of stroke. Therapy is designed to aid in restoring and maximizing their function.

Blackwood shares that exercise has been proven to benefit the musculoskeletal and nervous systems. “Being active is the fountain of youth,” she says. “Studies show the more you exercise the healthier you are. We’re all going to hurt and have pain at some point, but as you get stronger, in general or from an injury, the better you will sustain and heal from issues.”

Event attendees shared stories about not being able to walk and then getting stronger and feeling better as a result of physical therapy. Therapy is covered by most insurances and does not require a physician referral.

Heather Majka, owner of Citizens Insurance Solutions, is a Tellico Village resident who is concerned about the health and well-being of her neighbors. “It is my passion to offer resources to facilitate that,” she says. “Partnering with our local hospital has been a true gift to our community. Everyone who has attended felt better equipped to navigate the health care system and the resources that Covenant Health makes available to us, as well as how to access them. We look forward to many more joint efforts and special things to come in the future with the partnership. Participants in the village have personally thanked me for the passion and commitment both Covenant and Citizens have shown Tellico Village.”

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