Updated: Mar 11, 2021
This is part 1 of 3 of my introductory blog series My “Why” detailing the purpose and motivation behind Hutch Health Services. Check back for parts 2 and 3 in the next few weeks!
Why did I choose to step away from the clinic and start my own cash-based practice?
This is my passion
If you’ve known me at all over the last 18 years since I first took up Athletic Training as a freshman in high school, then you probably know that Sports Medicine has been my greatest passion.
My interest in sports medicine didn’t actually start in high school. My dad was the Director of Sports Medicine at The University of Texas when I was growing up, and I’ve been around it my whole life. I was known as “Lil Doc” by Longhorn athletes of the 90’s and early 2000’s. My first tape job was taping the thumb of Casey Hampton when I was 10 years old!
But I took on the identity of an Athletic Trainer at Westwood High School. Over the next 10 years, I lived to be an AT. I dedicated most of my time to studying, and learning how to be an athletic trainer, how to work as part of a team, and how to care for athletes. I’d frequently get to school by 6:30 AM for morning treatments, and leave after 7 PM after practices, or after 10 PM if we had a game. In college at the University of Texas, it was much of the same, with the added task of travelling for games around the country. Working as an intern for the San Antonio Spurs, I had two actual days off the entire season, and game days consisted of 18 hour days (NO JOKE!!) During this time, I rarely thought of it as work. It was my passion, and my good fortune to be able to fully pursue that passion.
To advance my career, I chose to pursue my Doctor of Physical Therapy, and while there were no more morning treatments, practices, or games, it was similar, in that the vast majority of my time and effort was spent learning and honing my craft. My passion for the science, the art, and the practice of rehabilitation never waivered.
I can do better
Then I started my professional career as a clinician, and gradually over the next 5 years, burnout started to set in. The high volume of clients that came through the clinic started to feel like drinking out of a firehose. Like I was drowning. I was buried in paperwork, often spending hours in the evenings and weekends catching up. I persevered, telling myself that pretty much all of the outpatient PTs that I know are experiencing similar issues, and that this is just how it is to be a healthcare provider. I kept track of time by counting how much time I had left until I had to be back in the clinic; like my first client the next day was a ticking timebomb. I often felt that I was not able to give my best to each client, or worse, that even my best was no longer good enough. I felt like clients were suffering because of my own mental and physical health issues.
2020 was a hard year for everyone, but my hard year started a little earlier…my wife moved out in September, and our divorce was finalized December 26th 2019. I took a leave from work, and reduced my hours so that I could attend counseling sessions. Literally my first week back in the clinic full time, my company sold the rehab department to a regional rehab management company based out of Georgia. 3 weeks later, as COVID started to boom in the US, they laid off the entire department. Most would struggle with unemployment, but I had moved back in with my parents after divorce, had minimal debt or expenses, and had been told (and naively believed) that I would absolutely be back with the company. 6 weeks of unemployment was time for reflection for me, to realize how little I missed the clinic, and how much more joy and peace-of-mind I felt with the time off, even in the midst of a pandemic and mass quarantine.
OK I’ve set the scene. TLDR- I am a rehab junkie, who loves the science, the art, and the practice of being a healthcare provider. However the rigors of the clinical setting affected my health, and 2020 pushed me to realize that change was needed.
I’ve always felt that the values of the healthcare system did not align with the values of the healthcare providers, and healthcare recipients. I’ve come to realize my values as a healthcare provider, and my plan is to build Hutch Health Services to align with my personal values.
So why did I leave the clinic and start my own cash-based practice?
Because I value being a healthcare provider, and I value my ability to provide quality care to my clients over maximizing the quantity of clients served, or revenue produced.
Because I value the provider-client relationship, and believe that both parties benefit from developing a lasting relationship, where there is familiarity, and trust, and the lifelong health of the client of primary concern.
I value my community of Austin, Texas, and want to have the time and energy to increase my engagement with the community, and to provide education and support to those who seek it.
I value work/life balance. I know, I know. I said before that being a healthcare provider is my passion, and barely feels like work. The reality is, that it is work, and although it doesn’t always feel like it, it can take a toll. I want to be able to work a schedule that fits the needs of my clients and provides me with necessary income, but also allows me to prioritize my health, to enjoy time with my friends and family, to travel, and experience all the world has to offer.
So here we are. I'm less than a month in to building Hutch Health Services, and I am already extremely happy with the change for me personally. I feel refreshed, invigorated, and ready to start anew.
Thanks for reading!
Keep an eye out for parts 2 and 3 of my blog series on "My Why" in the next few weeks.
If the values I outlined here align with your personal values, and you would like help overcoming injury or justing getting more active in general, reach out to schedule a free consultation to discuss my exercise-based physical therapy, and health coaching services.
-Dr. Jared Hutchens, PT, DPT, ATC, LAT