News & Press: Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight: William O'Keefe, PT, MS

Monday, April 1, 2019   (1 Comments)
Posted by: Gloria Baker
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William O'Keefe

Program Director,

Physical Therapist Program

Nassau Community College




April 2019


William O'Keefe has been an active NYPTA member since 1992.  He has thoroughly enjoyed practicing in the field and teaching.  Outside of his passion for the profession of physical therapy, he's passionate about family.  Passionate about adoption.  William sat on the board of an adoption agency that specialized in the adoption of older children that have not only been in foster care, but have experienced failed adoption.  He stepped down from the board because he is currently in the process of becoming a parent to his fourth child.


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

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


I have been a member of NYPTA since 1992.  My best experience thus far is being an active member of the association and utilizing the vast expertise of the members of the association. 


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?


I became a physical therapist assistant in 1990 graduating from Nassau Community College.  I moved to Colorado and worked as a PTA for a short time at Denver Presbyterian Hospital.  When I moved back to NY, I worked in various settings enjoying the flexibility of a career in physical therapy.  I was offered a position as a lab assistant at Nassau Community College.  In addition, I secured a position working as a physical therapist assistant in a school district on Long Island. I realized I thoroughly enjoyed both positions, practicing in the field and teaching.  I became a physical therapist in 1996 after graduating from Mercy College.


It is difficult to state one favorite moment in my career there are so many.  One happened while I was at a gas station.  I was filling my car with gas and a man pulled up and called out to me.  I looked and it was a patient I had treated.  It was so exciting to see him driving a car.  You see one of the skills we worked on was transfers from his wheel chair to a car and getting his wheel chair in the car.  I was excited to see him able to freely access his community.  Another was seeing Alumni of the program being an integral part of the health care team.     


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


There are many opportunities and challenges facing the profession.  One key opportunity for us is being a vital member of the health care system as it relates to prevention and wellness. One challenge I would like to identify, all though there are several, is the projected change in Medicare reimbursement for physical therapy services delivered by a physical therapist assistant.  Using a modified reimbursement rate of 85% is short sighted in my opinion.  As I believe it excludes the supervisory role of the physical therapist in the treatment episode. 

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


My advice would be to utilize the vast resources to help develop yourself as a professional.  The association on both a national and local level, is working to help you and help advance the profession. In addition, your input into the association is vital. 


What is a favorite tip you have that you could share with others in our industry?


Remind yourself why you chose this profession as your career.  It is a great career, it can be fun while challenging, with high rewards by virtue of impacting people’s lives.  


What are you passionate about? 


Outside of my passion for my profession, I am passionate about family. I am passionate about adoption. I sat on the board of an adoption agency that specializes in adoption of older children that have not only been in foster care but have experienced failed adoption. This agency empowers the adoptee.  I am not on the board currently because I am in the process of becoming a parent to my fourth child. 


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


I am the father of three fine men and the expectant father of a 17-year-old boy.  I have two grandsons and a granddaughter, and they bring me great joy.  


What is your favorite app or social media outlet?




What is your guilty pleasure?


My guilty pleasure is boating and traveling. 





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Claudia B. Fenderson says...
Posted Tuesday, April 2, 2019
I applaud Bill for his ongoing service to NYPTA and the profession as well as the compassionate service he has provided in fostering and adopting older children who have experienced failed adoption. These young men have been so fortunate to have been raised by Bill who serves as an exemplary role model for them. I continue to be in awe of Bill's ongoing commitment!! Claudia B. Fenderson

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