Laura Suttinger, CHTWHITEWATER – Laura Suttinger, an occupational therapist at the Fort HealthCare Therapy & Sport Center in Whitewater, has earned the distinguished Certified Hand Therapist (CHT) certification after completing all required examinations and clinical studies. The designation offers assurance to the public that the therapist treating them has achieved the highest recognition of competency in the profession.

Suttinger cares for patients with upper extremity injuries and conditions as well as post-surgical and orthopedic needs. Along with her certification in Hand Therapy, she specializes in ergonomics and home safety.

The Hand Therapy Certification Commission, Inc., (HTCC), is the only organization granting hand therapy certification in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, The Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand. Requirements for certification include at least five years of clinical experience as an occupational therapist or physical therapist, a minimum of 4,000 hours in direct practice in hand therapy, and successful completion of advanced clinical skills and theory in hand and upper extremity rehabilitation. There are approximately 4,500 individuals worldwide that hold this designation.

The HTCC emphasizes the importance of hand therapy for the prevention of dysfunction, restoration of function, or the reversal of pathology in order to enhance hand use for individuals
with upper extremity disease or injury. Hand therapy is the art and science of occupational and physical therapy theory in a practice that combines comprehensive knowledge of the upper quarter, body function and activity.

Suttinger states, “I enjoy using my knowledge and experience to help each individual understand and manage their symptoms. Success means they are able to resume doing what is important to them.”

Kim McCrea, PT, DPT, director of rehab services for Fort HealthCare, recognizes the commitment many of the therapy staff has made to their professions. “I am so proud of Laura for achieving the hand therapist certification. We are very fortunate at Fort HealthCare to have such a wealth of talented clinicians who have advanced training and certifications. It really demonstrates our commitment to professional development and exceptional clinical care.”

Fort HealthCare’s team of CHTs are also very integral parts of the comprehensive service provided by the Fort HealthCare Center for Hand Care. The goal of the Hand Care program is to provide seamless, efficient, and coordinated care that restores injured hands to the highest possible level of function. The collaborative approach to the evaluation and treatment of hand and upper extremity conditions offers innovative treatment techniques, proactive, patient-centered care, all in one location.

The Fort HealthCare hand care team consists of James Bruno, MD of Fort HealthCare Orthopaedic Associates, occupational therapists, five Certified Hand Therapists, nursing staff and an industrial case manager. Dr. Bruno is one of the expert orthopedic surgeons at Fort HealthCare Orthopaedic Associates. His partners are Isidoro Zambrano, MD, Thomas Nordland, MD, and Paul Schuppner, DO.

The Center for Hand Care offers personalized care, state-of-the-art equipment, an electronic medical records system, on-site digital radiography, innovative treatment methods and  rehabilitation tools all under one roof. In one appointment, a person can meet with a board-certified orthopedic surgeon and a CHT. Staff can also assist with any necessary insurance pre-certification, setting up tests or appointments, touring the facility, coordinating follow-up care with a primary care doctor, and answering any questions.

For additional information about hand therapy through Fort HealthCare, contact the Fort HealthCare Therapy & Sport Center at (920) 563-9357 (Fort Atkinson), (920) 648-8170 (Lake Mills), or (262) 473-5599 (Whitewater).

For more information about Fort HealthCare’s Hand Care program, visit