KAREN KOCH, OT, HMOTA, CAPS, ECHM, CHAMP, LICENSED BUILDER
Karen Koch, who graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Occupational Therapy, is an OT entrepreneur.
She started her first business in 2006, Functional Homes, Inc, an accessible construction company. They do occupational therapy home evaluations, accessible construction, and design throughout the state of Michigan. Karen states, “We do anything from grab bars and ramps to bathroom, additions and whole home redesigns and construction.”.
Outside work, Karen enjoys really fun outdoor occupations: Competitive sailing, biking, skiing, and flying airplanes with her husband.
Karen wanted a career that would allow her to be creative and not require her to sit behind a desk. She exclaims, “OT allows me to use my creativity to create functional homes for people to allow them to live the lifestyles they choose as safely and independently as possible. The tagline for my business is: ‘No barriers. No limits. Independence for life.’ The embodiment of our profession in my opinion!!”
In 2015, she started the Home Modification Occupational Therapy Alliance-HMOTA. HMOTA was started to promote occupational therapists as leaders in the home modification field and to develop a lucrative business model for home mod OT’s.
HMOTA has home modification jobs throughout Michigan and the USA that members of HMOTA are paid to complete. They are always looking for OTs interested in working with us on home mod evaluations and accessible design. Karen asserts, “One of the issues with OT’s becoming leaders in home modifications is not enough OTs that are knowledgeable and experienced in home modifications (mods)”. Home mods is a specialty within OT, we are working to help OTs increase their knowledge. Here is a link for OT’s who are interested in being a part of HMOTA and doing home modification prn work. https://hmota.net/occupational-therapists/
“The Home Modification Occupational Therapy Alliance-HMOTA is one of my favorite accomplishments, that, and winning 2nd place in the Chicago to Mackinac sailboat race”, states Karen. HMOTA now has over 900 home mod OTs throughout the country who meet virtually the 1st and 3rd Mondays of every month and works to develop state of the art home evaluations and to bring in contract work for home modification occupational therapists. They are working on developing a market for home mod OT’s and funding our profession in ways other than health insurance and Medicare. “A rising tide floats all boats”, asserts Karen. “Last year we developed a research-based program to allow home mod OTs to partner with their local non-profits to obtain grants for OTs and home modifications. We were fortunate enough to obtain a HUD grant for $1,000,000 in San Antonio Texas”.
Karen values her involved with MiOTA. She said, “I had an opportunity to work with MiOTA as the representative for home modifications a couple of years ago.I love to attend the continuing education and regional meetings to further my knowledge and to keep my CEU’s up for my license.”.
She believes, “If our profession is going to survive and thrive, we need to support our professional organization financially and by becoming active to promote our profession.There is strength in numbers, as part of MiOTA we can do things collectively an individual therapist could never do on their own.Membership in MiOTA is vital to good paying jobs and expansion and recognition of our profession.”
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