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Laurie Ray presenting to group

As the Consultant for the Dept. of Public Instruction for Physical Therapy (PT) and Medicaid, the PT consultant provides consultation, technical assistance, professional development and support throughout NC for each of these areas. This includes everything from providing professional learning on specific topics to retrieving articles to provide evidence for a therapist. Structured professional development sessions are planned and provided to address needed topics and content identified through consultations, questions and technical assistance. Program development, best practices and policy compliance are also offered through direct consultation via phone and email, listservs, websites, conferences, institutes, regional meetings and on-site technical assistance and/or consultation.

The PT consultant participates with NC DPI to develop and implement policy and guidance related to school-based physical therapy, funding issues (regarding Medicaid) and adapted physical education. Further, there is a pursuit the latest information and evidence regarding school-based physical therapy, Medicaid reimbursement and adapted physical education.  Providing assistance to NC DPI, Exceptional Children Division, individual local education agencies and charter schools for program planning, development, management and evaluation for each of these program areas is a top priority for the PT consultant. Individually and in collaboration with DPI colleagues and the NC APE Advisory Council, the PT consultant develops updates, disseminates and posts written resources and guidelines on best practices in school-based physical therapy, Medicaid reimbursement and APE. The consultant also promotes understanding of the role of PT, APE and Medicaid reimbursement in education and facilitates interdisciplinary collaboration by all means available.

The overarching purpose of this position is to ensure that every student in North Carolina (NC) public schools receives educational services that are needed, individualized and of high quality through his or her school system’s physical therapy and adapted physical education programs. In addition, the PT consultant works to ensure that cost recovery for NC school-based medical services through NC Division of Medical Assistance (DMA or Medicaid) is appropriate and accurate.  NC is unique in how it has consistently invested into providing a state level consultant in these areas. NC DPI leadership recognizes how complex it can be to educate students with disabilities and sought a contract with the Physical Therapy Division at UNC-Chapel Hill to provide consultation to NC public schools and assist NC DPI to ensure high quality services throughout NC

The majority of this work is to serve as a resource for anyone with questions or concerns about any of my areas of responsibility. Often the PT consultant speaks and exchanges emails with school-based and other physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, NC board of physical therapy licensure, Exceptional Children program directors, parents, case workers, school nurses, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, special education teachers, adapted physical education specialists, general physical education teachers, policy makers, finance and compliance staff and other DPI staff, among others. Collaborations are all efforts to ensures students with disabilities are well served in NC public schools.

I hope my work supports NC public schools to provide every student with a disability an excellent education. Ultimately we must facilitate their learning and participation so they leave school prepared to work, continue their education and/or participate in their communities.

– Laurie

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