Dr. Crystal Miskin Appointed Director of RMUoHP Community Rehabilitation Clinic

by | Jun 24, 2021 | home highlight, News

Contributing Author(s): Cory Maloy
Photo of new community rehabilitation clinic director Dr. Crystal Miskin
New CRC Director Dr. Crystal Miskin

The Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions (RMUoHP) Community Rehabilitation Clinic (CRC) appointed Crystal Miskin, PT, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT, as Director. 

Miskin will oversee the staff, volunteers, and programs in the clinic’s ongoing mission to serve the uninsured and underserved citizens of the community who need physical therapy rehabilitation. The pro-bono CRC provides free care and is funded by the Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions Foundation, with support from charitable donations.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve the people of our community in this capacity,” said Miskin, “The clinic is a win-win for the community where we partner with everyone in the community to donate healthcare and medical services. Surgeons who donate their services, for example, have a place they can send patients for rehabilitation.”

Earlier in her educational career, Miskin was a physical therapy student at RMUoHP and served in the CRC as a student volunteer where she became a strong believer and follower of the clinic’s mission to help patients with their rehabilitation needs. Following graduation, she  pursued a residency at Kaiser Permanente where she became an orthopedic clinical specialist. Upon completing a fellowship, she became a Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic and Manual Therapists. These experiences prepared her to become a strong clinician and helped her in understanding patient stories and lives and gave her the ability to treat patients holistically. Today, in addition to her duties as CRC Director, she is also an assistant professor of physical therapy at RMUoHP.

photo of Dr. Crystal Miskin working with a CRC patient

Last year at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, Miskin, along with other CRC staff, quickly pivoted the clinic to a telehealth model to continue serving those in need. The clinic was one of the first to be able to provide successful telehealth capabilities in the area.

“For physical therapy needs, we had to get creative since we were not permitted to put our hands on the patient,” said Miskin. “We used Google Meet with the patients to perform a telehealth examination, which isn’t a complete examination but one we can do with the patient under our direction. We have them push or palpate or do tests on themselves.”

Because of her collaborative work on telehealth, the clinic was able to not only stay open virtually but increased its ability to continue serving a community where rehab clinics and other healthcare facilities were quickly shutting down rehab services.

The CRC is the first of its kind in Utah County in serving the uninsured and underserved citizens who need physical therapy rehabilitation. Most patients return to levels of normalcy, secure or continue employment, and carry on productive and healthy lives and daily activity.

The CRC has a highly-trained and skilled staff of licensed, qualified physical therapists and physical therapy assistants, as well as Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) students and faculty from RMUoHP, physical therapist volunteers from the community, and pre-physical therapy students from Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University.

“We’re very pleased to have Crystal as our new CRC Director,” said Victor Morris, Rocky Mountain of Health Professions Foundation Senior Director. “She is a collaborator. She believes everyone from every position has a point of view that contributes to the success of the organization. We know she will take the clinic to new levels of community service.”

In 2020, the sixth year of the clinic operating, the CRC provided 4,693 physical therapy rehabilitation visits (a higher number of visits than in 2019). These treatments (at current Medicaid rates) provided a total cost savings of $652,017 to patients and their communities.

“We plan to expand the clinic and add new services and programs,” said Miskin. “We recently started a health and wellness program and an undergraduate internship last fall. We would like to start a balance and falls program for our aging population, a veteran’s program, and a home health program to assist those who are home-bound. We plan to re-start our student-run clinic this fall (it was halted during COVID) and integrate students as much as possible with patient care.”

According to Miskin, the CRC is dependent on grants and donations for how much or even how quickly they can implement these new programs. With the new academic programs being added to RMUoHP, Miskin looks forward to partnering with the other professions and their students to assist patients in receiving the care they need.