Increasing Access Through Telehealth: A Call to Action

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

The alarm rings: its 5am, and a new day begins
But I’ve already been awake from the pain in my limbs
Chronic insomnia, add it to the list
Of more problems I can’t seem to fix

Slippers on, I shuffle to the kitchen for my morning routine
Extra-strength Tylenol before grinding the beans
I take one step and here comes the sharp jolt
Pain searing through my back like a lightning bolt

Hobbling around, rushing to get dressed
Please don’t cry this morning, I can’t look a mess
The pain will start to subside once the Tylenol kicks in
Working two jobs, there’s no time for a therapy regimen

The pain is getting worse; and I’m feeling more like a cynic
For months I’ve called the physical therapy clinic
They have no availability, and I have no ride
How are we supposed to get our schedules to coincide?

Time drags on, and I manage to get through
Another day without losing my cool
Clocking out of my night shift and waiting for the Bart
The pain is so intense now, the crying starts

How is this my reality?
How is anyone able to meet
The demands of life when they have an injury?

The days go by, and the pain gets worse
I drop a glass at work and my lips start to purse
Full breakdown town, its definitely happening
Losing my grip, this charade has been maddening

Crying at work in front of my patrons,
A customer hands me a tissue as I fumble my apron
Seeing friendly eyes, I suddenly feel safe to vent
To the man standing there, listening with intent

At the end of my rant, I feel humiliated
As I turn to go, the man says, “hey wait a minute”
He is a doctor at Kaiser and he wants to help
There’s a new tool you can use, its called Telehealth

We can get you in sooner, even during your lunch break
To get you the support you need for this pain you can’t shake

And sure enough, the following week,
I was able to see a PT virtually
She showed me some tips that gave immediate relief
This magic profession, you wouldn’t believe.

Now it’s been 3 weeks and my pain has mostly subsided
And the resources she gave me have truly provided
Community support and financial relief
I now have my groceries paid for and I’m able to breathe

To show thanks for this opportunity, and that doctor’s suggestion
Feels beyond my ability, but I do have one question
Or really a request to make of all of you
To call your legislatures with the following review:

Please vote yes on The Expanded Telehealth Act, H.R. 2168
To provide more people with a better fate

To improve access to healthcare
One of the APTA’s goals as well as “The Triple Aim”
Let’s start here with this swear:
To give everyone access, all the same.