Meet Dr. Paul Heath, PT, MPT, CGMP, Founder and Owner
Get to know clinic Founder and Owner, Dr. Paul Heath, PT, MPT, CGMP! We sat down with him and asked some questions to learn a little bit more about his background, his motivations, likes and dislikes, and more!
Where were you born? Where did you grow up?
I was born in Trinidad and grew up there.
Did you play sports in high school / college? If so, what?
Growing up, I played cricket and occasionally played basketball, but I have played soccer all my life. I played and coached youth soccer here in the US at a very high level; that helped me make money for college. I have United States Soccer Federation (USSF) and Virginia Youth Soccer Association (VYSA) coaching licenses.
I still play recreational soccer to keep the body active. My son now plays and I mentor him as best as I can (but he always thinks he knows more than me… teenagers, smh).
This is where my interest began in creating the sports performance training program here at the clinic to study the science of movement and how to maximize output and to increase performance.
How did you end up going to your college/university/higher education alma mater?
My brother attended Howard University, and I came up in 1992 to spend Christmas with him. I took a tour of the campus and was hooked. I liked the campus and saw an opportunity, as I had been closely thinking about furthering my education. So the timing was perfect. That was my second degree, as I was working in Trindad as a QC tech for the largest flour milling company in the Caribbean.
What are some of your favorite things about living /working in the Upper Marlboro area?
The parks, the trees, the golf courses and being able to spend time with the kids and their sports activities in the area.
How did you end up at Physical and Sports Rehab?
I started PSR as I saw how quality care was slowly being eroded from the veins of our healthcare system. We have moved away from caring for our patients and refocused on generating revenue. The only way I was going to show patients what quality care is, was to start my own clinic. If you eat at a 5 star restaurant, you will always know when you are eating at a 3 star restaurant. I believe patients should know what is going on with them anatomically and physiologically in order for them to navigate the healing process.
What’s your favorite part working at Physical and Sports Rehab?
My favorite is actually working with patients and educating them about their bodies. Patients are lacking information, and they are hungry for information, and it is a joy to be able to pass that along. People want to know how to get better. I have never come across anyone who doesn’t want to get better. The favorite part is that I am going to school teaching these folks and they appreciate it. They get to understand the healing process. There are no miracles here - we cannot throw pixie dust and they are healed. Patients need to be involved with their care and understand what they are doing.
What do you find most challenging about your job?
Dealing with insurance companies and their lack of ability to pay for services rendered. Also their disregard for patients and their needs. Healthcare can’t be a moneymaking business. The body is constantly changing, so how can you establish standardized healthcare? You can’t standardize care on an entity that is constantly evolving. You do that with a pizza. You can standardize the making of a pizza - not the human body. Companies want to cut costs and don’t understand care. It forces doctors to dictate how they practice medicine.
Another challenge is that I find that therapists have to justify what they are doing even though they have a medical license. I have a degree with years of experience but I still have to document as if you have just come out of college, just for the sake of the insurance companies. I understand why, but it gets in the way of providing more care.
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
Seeing the joy in the patients when they understand what is happening with their bodies is the best part of my job. I am not Jesus, so I can’t heal everybody, but you will learn more about your body and how to take care of it. The joy is seeing patients have that eureka moment when they finally understand what is happening with them.
Many patients have a list of medications and can’t tell me why they are still in pain. One patient said she went to the doctor who told her, “Well, your pain could be this or that or the other. Here, take this medication and pay your copay at the front desk.” The patient still didn’t understand why she was taking the medication! Patients don’t want that. They want to understand how and why it works. They want facts.
Rehab is not what you do at the facility - it's what you do when you are not here. Here at PSR, you learn how to manage your life and your body...and then you go home and continue it.
Outside of work, what are your hobbies?
Golf, soccer, and cigars!
Is there anything else you would like to share? Any other interesting facts? (i.e., interests, hidden talents, run ins with celebrities, pet peeves, etc)
I have worked with professional athletes and what I have learned is that they are just ordinary people like you and me who laugh and joke and who also want to learn how their bodies heal and perform. Same thing with congressman and politicians… we don’t talk politics! We talk about everything else, mainly golf!