Back in Action: How James Sieveke Rediscovered His Passion for PT
With the workforce participation rate among adults ages 65 to 74 continuing to grow (sitting at 25.8% in 2021), Luna is empowering these professionals to maintain flexibility and continue doing what they love.
In the second installment of our interview series, we’re introducing James Sieveke, an experienced PT elderpreneur from Tucson who has seen over 300 patients with Luna:
Share with us your background and experience as a physical therapist.
I have been a physical therapist since 1972, and I've been through various employment situations. These include managerial responsibilities, ownership of a private practice, selling to a larger national firm, and leading a hospital-based practice with 25 orthopedic surgeons and 25 therapists.
Why did you originally enter the physical therapy field?
I was relatively athletic as a young individual; I got involved with sports injuries and orthopedic issues, which piqued my interest in the field.
Rather than going to medical school and being involved with gallbladders and spleens, I had more interest in orthopedic-related things —muscles, joints, ligaments, nerves. Luckily, I had no major sports injuries, but I knew those who did. I was able to experience the rehabilitation process through them and became interested in the field.
My undergraduate schooling included a pre-physical therapy program, and I spent some time as a camp counselor for handicapped kids, so that’s how I got involved with the whole process.
When did you retire from formal care, and what did you do after retirement?
I retired from formal care right before COVID hit, around January 2020, but continued to see patients in a limited capacity. I became aware of Luna through their advertisements, but they had not yet come to the Tucson area. I expressed interest in exploring their platform once they expanded.
Around April of last year, I started with Luna, and one of the appealing aspects is they alleviated many of the responsibilities that I, as a clinician, would handle —such as managerial, personnel, and insurance issues, which definitely make it difficult to spend time with the patient. Luna taking care of all that responsibility allows me to focus more on patient care.
How does Luna's approach to patient care and flexibility fit into your career at this stage?
Luna's platform provides me with great flexibility to see as many patients as I like and the type of patients I feel comfortable seeing. Even though I'm at a more mature stage of my career, I still feel comfortable treating patients and contributing my expertise.
There are certain patients with diagnoses that I would not feel comfortable treating because I’ve been strictly a sports and orthopedic-related therapist, and the profession has gotten highly specialized in that regard. The flexibility is present there as well, so you can be the most beneficial toward providing care.
Do you feel like Luna has transformed the dynamics of your professional responsibilities in a beneficial way?
Having been in both aspects of being an owner of a practice and managing a practice, Luna really takes that responsibility off my shoulders, especially at the twilight of my professional life.
The app provides the benefits of quick template documentation; they take care of the insurance authorization process; they have been very open to the fact they are continuing to expand their involvement with different insurance plans to allow other patients to be able to see me as a clinician. I don’t have to worry about that aspect, and that is so much easier.
As I’ve mentioned to other therapists who have been looking to continue in the field to a limited degree, I honestly don’t think there are any negatives at all!
What do you consider the most important part of the physical therapy journey?
What a great question! Within that home environment, you have the opportunity — both for the therapist and the patient’s benefit — to develop a better relationship. You have true, one-on-one contact compared to three or four patients [and in some outpatient facilities, even more] over the course of an hour.
Getting to know the patient and the environment lets you develop a better understanding of what the barriers might potentially be for their recovery. That allows you to make adjustments to the treatment plan, guidelines, and protocols rather than feeling like your head is on a swivel.
What keeps you motivated to do what you love and continue seeing patients?
My wife wants me out of the house; does that count? Of course, I enjoy developing a connection with people and maintaining a skillset that people benefit from —and hopefully see the results from that skillset benefiting the patient.
The system is just so accommodating to allow me as a clinician to do what I do best, and that’s not necessarily the personnel, the insurance, and the bookkeeping aspect, but developing a relationship with the patient and hopefully providing the care they need.
If you want to get back into the field and continue focusing on your strengths — cultivating patient relationships and delivering valued care — without being bogged down by administrative tasks, insurance matters, or bookkeeping responsibilities, get started with Luna. Doing what you love has never been easier!