Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR, Gives 2017 Susan Carter Lecture on Reform & Readmission in Post-Acute Care | MedStar Health

Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR, Gives 2017 Susan Carter Lecture on Reform and Readmission in Post-Acute Care

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Dr Kenneth Ottenbacher speaks to an audience at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital.

WASHINGTON, D.C., - Nov. 8, 2017 - MedStar National Rehabilitation Network welcomed Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, PhD, OTR, to be its special guest speaker for the 2017 Susan Carter Lecture, which took place at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital on Wednesday, Nov. 8.

Dr. Ottenbacher is the director of the Division of Rehabilitation Sciences in the School of Health Professions and is also the director of the Center for Recovery, Physical Activity and Nutrition, and associate director for the Sealy Center on Aging at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) located in Galveston, Tex. He received his PhD from the University of Missouri and is a licensed occupational therapist. He began his academic career at the University of Wisconsin in the Department of Occupational Therapy and was promoted through the ranks to full professor. In 1990 he joined the State University of New York at Buffalo where he served in several positions including Associate Dean for Research and Academic Affairs in the School of Health Related Professions and Associate Director of the Center for Functional Assessment Research in the School of Medicine. In 1995, he joined the UTMB as Vice Dean and Professor in the School of Health Professions.

Dr. Ottenbacher's current research involves using large datasets to study rehabilitation outcomes with a focus on functional assessment, disability and frailty in older adults. Dr. Ottenbacher has published more than 350 articles in journals and has received continuous federal funding as principal investigator to support his research and training activities since 1984. Dr. Ottenbacher has been the recipient of numerous awards for his research, mentoring and service activities.

He is a recipient of the Gold Key Award from the American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine and is a charter member of the American Occupational Therapy Foundation Academy of Research. Dr. Ottenbacher is a fellow in the American Occupational Therapy Association

Dr. Ottenbacher spoke about where the American healthcare system is headed. He talked about readmission rates with patients and the problems surrounding patients who are from poor income areas who end up rehospitalized after their first event. Dr. Ottenbacher talked about the various types of disabilities which require rehospitalization many times. He listed 'debility' or a state of being weak or infirm.

"Readmission rates quite often happen after the first week of discharge," said Dr. Ottenbacher. "We need input from our therapists, from the field, to deal with the changes that are going on."

He says that one of the challenges that subacute hospitals face is penalties associated with readmission after a disabling event or injury.

"The best way to predict the future is to create it," to use a quote said Dr. Ottenbacher. "It's one of my favorite quotes and pertains to what is going on now."

The Susan Carter Lecture was named after former patient Susan Carter, who received assistance in managing polio related health problems. Susan's life tragically ended in 1993 when she was struck by a car outside of her office in D.C., but her spirit lives on through the lectureship where MedStar NRN brings in the brightest minds in rehabilitation to speak.

For more information on past Susan Carter Lecture speakers, click here.

About MedStar National Rehabilitation Network

The MedStar National Rehabilitation Network is a regional system of rehabilitation care that offers inpatient, day treatment and outpatient services in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia.

The Network's interdisciplinary team of rehabilitation experts provides comprehensive services to help people recover as fully as possible following illness and injury. Rehabilitation medicine specialists, psychologists, physical and occupational therapists, and speech-language pathologists work hand-in-hand with other rehab professionals to design treatment plans tailored to each patient's unique needs. Rehabilitation plans feature a team approach and include the use of state-of-the-art technology and advanced medical treatment based on the latest rehabilitation research.

The Network provides comprehensive programs specifically designed to aid in the rehabilitation of adults and children recovering from neurologic and orthopedic conditions such as amputation, arthritis, back and neck pain, brain injury, cancer, cardiac conditions, concussion, fibromyalgia, foot and ankle disorders, hand and upper extremity problems, post-polio syndrome, stroke, spinal cord injury and disease, and sports and work-related injuries.

Inpatient and day treatment programs are provided at MedStar National Rehabilitation Hospital located in Northwest Washington, D.C., and at more than 50 outpatient sites conveniently located throughout the region. MedStar National Rehabilitation Network is fully accredited by The Joint Commission, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), with CARF accredited specialty programs for Amputations, Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury and Stroke.

For more on MedStar National Rehabilitation Network and to find a location near you, log on to

For Immediate Release:
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Derek T.Berry

Director of Communications


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