News & Press: Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight on Marcia Spoto PT, DC

Wednesday, January 2, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gloria Baker
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Marcia Spoto PT, DC

Board Certified Clinical Specialist in

Orthopaedic Physical Therapy

Owner: STAR Physical Therapy



January 2019

The NYPTA is very fortunate to have Marcia Spoto, owner of STAR Physical Therapy, as a member.  Marcia has been very involved with the NYPTA in supporting the role of physical therapists as conservative musculoskeletal providers.  She is currently Co-Chair of the Public Policy Committee.


In 2018 she retired from teaching at Nazareth College, but maintains a faculty position with Excellus BC & BS Spine Care Pathway Program.


Marcia and her husband John have six children and four grandchildren.


Take a few minutes and get to know this month's member spotlight with us! Enjoy the Q&A with Marcia below.

How long have you been a member of the NYPTA?  What is your best experience thus far?


I have been a member of the NYPTA since 1987. I first engaged actively with the organization as an insurance specialist. I had been serving locally on physical therapy committees for insurers and IPA’s and developed experience in representing the profession to 3rd party payers and other groups. Most of my involvement with the NYPTA has been related to supporting the role of physical therapists as conservative musculoskeletal providers, as well as advocating for the independent practice of physical therapy. I have participated in lobby day many times throughout the years, and am currently the payment co-chair of the public policy committee.


The best experience that I have had thus far was working with NYPTA leadership on Worker’s Compensation payment reform. As many of our members know, WC reform has been very challenging for the profession in New York State. However, in 2018 a dedicated work group formed and pulled together in a synergistic way to advance important changes to the WC system, which will translate into better recognition of the value of PT services and improved care for injured workers. 


Tell us a little about your background, and how your path led you to where you are in your career today. What’s your favorite moment of your career so far?


The short version of the story is that I received my bachelor’s degree in physical therapy in 1979. My husband and I then moved to Iowa and pursued chiropractic degrees at Palmer College. We established a practice together, what is now STAR Physical Therapy, in Fairport, NY. After 15 years in practice, with a focus on spine care, I accepted a teaching position in the developing physical therapy program at Nazareth College of Rochester.


In the mid-90’s, I helped to establish an organization originally designated the Rochester Physical Therapy Alliance (RPTA). The thrust of this provider group was to represent the interests of independent PT practices in the region. The RPTA has now become the PT First Alliance (PT1A) as it expanded to the Syracuse and Buffalo regions, and it has worked alongside the NYPTA, AIPT and other groups on practice issues.


At Nazareth College, my teaching responsibilities included musculoskeletal management, differential diagnosis and pain management. I retired from teaching in 2018. In addition to owning STAR, I also work with Excellus BC & BS, and have been a member of the faculty of their Spine Care Pathway program. In addition to serving on the public policy committee, I also serve on the Orthopaedic section practice committee.


What are some of the key opportunities and challenges facing the physical therapy profession?


Although one of the great tragedies of our time, bringing sadness to so many families and communities, the Opioid epidemic has elevated the subject of pain management and exposed our top-heavy approach to addressing pain in the US. We now know that the emphasis on pharmacologic interventions and other passive treatments for pain, and that looking at pain through a purely biologic lens, has contributed significantly to Opioid abuse and addiction. We also know that nonpharmacologic interventions, such as exercise and patient education, should be moved to the forefront of care. Physical therapists are positioned well to serve as front-line, first touch providers for musculoskeletal pain problems, and we are being recognized more and more for the value that we bring to the healthcare system. The challenge now is for the profession to move in the direction of population health, and to become more involved with healthcare policy-making.


What advice would you give NYPTA members who are new to the profession? 


New graduates should embrace their stewardship role as physical therapists. Here I mean both their obligations to the profession, and to the public at large. Advancing the profession involves hard work and advocacy. We also have a responsibility to the public to support the vision of the profession and to help ensure that people live quality lives. After all, movement function impacts almost every aspect of health. 


What is a favorite tip you have that you could share with others in our industry? (Productivity, technology, networking, etc.)


View your career growth as an organic process, and be willing at times to see where it takes you. As important as it is to be goal-oriented, do not become constrained by your goals and look for opportunities. Be open-minded. There are a lot of roads to travel. 


What are you passionate about?


Doing everything in my power to advance the conservative approach to treating musculoskeletal conditions. I was struck in my own education by the void in primary care providers for orthopedic conditions in the US. Although Physiatrists are capable of serving this role, there simply are not enough of them. So we have Orthopedic Surgeons serving in that role. This contributes to our over-reliance on invasive, expensive treatments. Physical therapists are in the perfect position now to serve as primary care providers for musculoskeletal health, and there is growing evidence that we provide cost-effective care. But we need a cultural shift. 


What else would you like your fellow NYPTA Members to know about you?


My husband John and I have 6 children and 4 grandchildren. Three of our children are involved with my practice, and my oldest daughter Kali is a physical therapist at STAR. Now that I am partially retired, I enjoy a regular yoga practice, running, hiking, and really any form of exercise.  I love most spending time with our family. 


What is your favorite app or social media outlet?


I spend a fair amount of time on twitter, and I do confess that I do like to check out Facebook regularly. I would really miss an awful lot of what is going on with my children and grandchildren if not for Facebook. 


What is your guilty pleasure?


Watching Netflix with my husband, and not feeling guilty that we are almost empty nesters.




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