How Do PTs Fit Into Healthcare Reform?

We recently sat down with one of our PT Advisors, Steve Thompson, and asked him some tough questions about the PT profession. Here he shares his take on PTs place in Healthcare reform and the power of community.

PT will play a major role in lowering the cost of healthcare

As insurers and politicians are looking for ways to reduce healthcare costs, PTs can fill this role in the new healthcare reform. One way that costs can be reduced is by allowing the consumer to access PTs directly.  Currently, in California, if a consumer has an injury, then he/she can access their physician without needing a referral in most cases. Strangely, the consumer can also go see an acupuncturist, massage therapist, personal trainer, chiropractor, or cross-fit gym all without a referral from a physician.  However, if a consumer has a musculoskeletal injury, they cannot access a physical therapist, sometimes the best resource to help with many musculoskeletal conditions.  Currently, there is a bill in the California legislature that will open Direct Access to physical therapists without the need for a referral but it still needs to clear a few more hurdles to become a law.  If Direct Access is achieved, this could allow for PTs becoming a great addition to the healthcare system and reducing healthcare costs.

Online community will improve the quality of patient care

There are many factors that are trying to fracture the PT community, including, but not limited to, insurance companies trying to pit one PT against another by reducing reimbursement rates but opening up contract to all PTs where before they were more restrictive so it has raised the competitive nature between PTs.  Also, the professional associations of physicians and chiropractors are attacking the PT profession and trying to limit the access of the consumer to physical therapy.  Also, the rise in hospital groups and ACO’s has created a highly competitive environment between physical therapists as they try to “join” the hospital networks. With all of these attacks on our profession, there needs to be a method of uniting our profession.  Therapydia is the medium that has the opportunity to bring the PT community together to stand up against those pressures that are trying to keep us small and insignificant.  I look forward to the efficiencies that Therapydia can bring to our community through social media applications, business information sharing, professional networking and much more.

Steve Thompson, MPT, is the CEO of Sport and Spine Therapy of Marin. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a board certified Orthopedic Physical Therapist. He has also completed the Folsom Physical Therapy year-long manual therapy course. Steve still maintains his patient caseload while continuing to pursue other specializations in Active Release Therapy and Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization.

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