Letter from the President

Dear OT colleagues and friends,

My name is Angela Bernard. I am the new president of the Arkansas Occupational Therapy Association (AROTA). Like many of you, I joined my state organization while in school, but as life got busy, being a member became less of a priority. Since returning to Arkansas a few years ago, I developed a strong desire to become re-engaged in promoting our profession. Since becoming more involved, I have learned there are many important issues that are coming our way that we must face together. The need for occupational therapy practitioners in Arkansas to become connected and unified is more important than ever.

For many years, we have benefited from having a strong OT job market in Arkansas. This has largely been due to a couple of factors. First, Arkansas Medicaid has a good reimbursement rate for OT services. This has ensured a strong pediatric market and has kept the pediatric therapists from flooding the adult job market. Secondly, there have only been a few OT/A programs in our state with small class sizes. Both of these situations are changing. As we welcome new OT/A programs, it is more important than ever for us to take note of legislative issues and to have a strong presence with our legislators. For this reason, one of my primary goals as new president is to hire a lobbyist to represent AROTA. A lobbyist will keep track of important legislative issues in our state that could impact the OT profession. He/she would speak with the legislators on our behalf giving us a voice in these matters. This is of paramount importance. AROTA currently relies on the Physical Therapy Association’s lobbyist because a lot of the time, our interests are similar. However, there are issues occurring in other states (that may be coming our way) that would necessitate us having our own lobbyist fighting for OUR interests.

We are also planning on bringing back a conference---more news on that to come.

Please consider re/joining AROTA today. We need you! I look forward to serving you and helping to make AROTA the best it can be.

Sincerely,

Angela W. Bernard, OTR/L
President - AROTA