Physical Therapy Co-Pays
You have to love insurance coverage. When January 1 came around, a number of our patients learned the unfortunate news that their co-pays had jumped anywhere from $10-$50. (The increase from $0 to $50 was an isolated event; however I'd estimate the average rise being around $15). This was a surprise for the majority of our patients, and the most regrettable aspect is the effect the increase in co-payments has had on their plans of care.
On patient particularly stands out. Her start of care was in November following a repeat rotator cuff repair and SAD. She's been through the wringer. She works as part of the dietary team in a local hospital and is responsible for delivering meals to patients throughout the day. Her original injury, in June, occurred at work while she was pushing one of those massive carts around. She's been out of work since that time, collecting only 60% pay.
We were finally cleared to begin some more rigorous return-to-work activities at the end of December and started to make some major progress with her ability to manage occupational demands. Then she came in on January 2 to learn that her co-pay had increased to $40. Realizing that she and her family have had a hard enough time getting by on 60% pay, I knew there was no way she'd be able to continue even twice per week. We decreased the frequency to once per week, and I just hope it's enough to get her to the point she needs to reach when she returns to work at the end of this month.
To find a positive in this situation, now more than ever we as physical therapists need to provide the most efficient, evidence-based care. It's what we should be doing all the time, but the consequences are becoming greater and greater. I imagine these situations are not going to get better, and we need to adapt with the current climate in order to maintain our significance.