Amy Jo Lamb, OTD, OTRL, FAOTA
AOTA Vice President
Dr. Lamb is the Vice President of the American Occupational Therapy Association, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at Eastern Michigan University, and owner of AJLamb Consulting. She is the immediate past chair of the American Occupational Therapy Political Action Committee (AOTPAC). She brings with her the valuable combination of clinical practice as a registered occupational therapist combined together with health care policy experience at the state and federal levels. Dr. Lamb’s expertise includes health policy, prevention and wellness, and occupational therapy as a career.
Dr. Lamb received both her Bachelors of Science in Occupational Therapy and her post professional Doctor of Occupational Therapy from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.
Dr. Lamb got her policy start in the Minnesota House of Representatives working with the Health Policy committee. She was the paid lobbyist for the Nebraska Occupational Therapy Association from 2000-2008.
Dr. Lamb’s clinical practice spans from private practice, school based pediatrics, acute care, and elders. Prior to her current position she was an Outpatient Director with Brookdale Senior Living managing the outpatient therapy clinics and home health rehabilitation services in assisted living and independent living communities in the Denver Colorado area.
In 2012, Dr. Lamb was selected to join the AOTA Roster of Fellows. In 2011, she received the Lindy Boggs advocacy award from the American Occupational Therapy Association for her leadership in advocacy and political action in the profession of occupational therapy. Therapy Times included her on their Most Influential list for 2007 for her contributions at the state and federal level in advocacy and health policy development.
In her volunteer leadership positions, Dr. Lamb is part of the team that helps occupational therapy professionals understand the policy agenda of the association and the role they as health care professionals play in advocacy, she organizes the grassroots, educates others on issues, and spends time on the hill with members of Congress to meet the needs of the Association. Dr. Lamb speaks regularly to groups on health policy issues impacting practice and benefits of consumers and provides participants with practical ways to get involved in the process and make their voices heard. She currently resides outside of Dexter, Michigan with her husband Nathan and their two children Gabby (11) and Josh (9).
Examples of the importance of timing are all around us.
Consumers, health care providers and members of all political parties knew for years that the system of health care service delivery was broken. The challenge had been an inability to come together and agree on a solution. The 2009 health reform agenda advanced in large part because of timing. Political analysts agree the timing had never been better to advance a health care reform initiative with a democratic White House, Senate and House of Representatives.
Several years ago, two therapists saw two distinct needs in practice: high numbers of job vacancies in rehabilitation and the desire of rehabilitation professionals to be able to have more flexibility and control of their schedules. They took a risk and a rehabilitation contract company serving the local area was born. The timing of the market and the workforce is why, today, they have more than tripled their contracts and staff of occupational therapy professionals, physical therapy professionals and speech language professionals. Again, the timing was right.
The timing is right for us to demonstrate to the community at large the significance of occupational therapy in the United States health system. How do we demonstrate this significance?
· Cost effectiveness – At a time when federal and state budget deficits are out of control, everyone is looking for ways to save money. Instinct tells people to make cuts but occupational therapy is a cost effective alternative. We help people regain/gain the skills they need to live at their highest level of independence which often equates to less costs and higher quality of life.
· Reducing Hospital Readmissions – The Affordable Care Act included provisions that will make changes to Medicare, one of which is to reduce hospital readmissions to avoid costly inpatient spending to the system. Soon, hospitals will receive reduced Medicare payments for readmissions. Occupational therapy professionals are frontline service providers that can save hospitals thousands of dollars each time we stop premature discharges. People should not be discharged because it is Friday afternoon but because they are medically and physically ready to move on to another facility or to home. We can show the value of occupational therapy by speaking up about why clients are not ready to discharge, our plan to get them ready, and present our position to doctors including the importance of readiness for discharge to avoid readmission penalties.
· Prevention and Wellness – Occupational Therapy has been working to secure our place in the emerging area of wellness and prevention for over ten years. The Affordable Care Act places emphasis on prevention and wellness. The National Prevention Strategy published by the Office of the Surgeon General outline priorities that occupational therapy can align with. These priorities combined with the knowledge and skill set of occupational therapy professionals makes the timing right for this area of practice to see significant growth over the next several years.
Now is the time that we as occupational therapy professionals and students need to be speaking up on these issues. The Centennial Vision has strategically positioned us to take advantage of these opportunities ahead and capitalize on this moment in time to advance occupational therapy.
I agree. I think we need to start running research studies focusing on these things. I think the first one will probably bring the biggest punch if we can prove that, since numbers can speak louder than words.