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Toni Talks about PT Today

Facilities Don't Want to Pay for PT Experience

Published August 26, 2015 4:11 PM by Toni Patt

Previously I've written about the financial burden on newly graduated DPTs. If undergraduate costs are included, a new graduate could be as much as $100,000 in debt. The debt is driving decisions about jobs, salaries and benefits. Until last week, I hadn't considered the effect this is having on more experienced therapists.

A friend of mine from another state called me. She lost her job. She wanted advice. She has been filling out applications and sending out resumes. She's had a few interviews but says they didn't go well. She put on her best face but felt like the facilities weren't really interested in her as much as going through the motions. One sent her an email the next day stating another candidate had been selected. The rest haven't contacted her.

She lost her job because the facility downsized. It was losing money and had been for a while, so they cut staff to reduce the cost of salaries. She thinks she was laid off because she had the highest salary of everyone in the department. I'm not sure if that is legal but she is probably right. Salaries are one of the biggest expenses in healthcare.

Facilities don't want to pay for experience. It's been a long time since experience mattered. Everyone wants a revolving door of new grads. Hire a new grad and replace him with another when he moves on. If the same position is constantly held by PTs with little or no experience, the salary remains near the bottom of scale. Even at prn rates, the facilities save money.

This means those of us from back in the day are at a disadvantage. Changing jobs becomes problematic. It might mean staying in a job you hate just to have a job. Or accepting another job you don't really want with a pay cut for the same reason. Or you could work prn at several places and make more money but lack benefits.

This truly concerns me. There is no hope the situation will change in the near future. I just have to hope that I don't experience it.

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I am a private practitioner struggling to make it in the world of "every orthopedist has their own PT center."  I would love to pay for experienced PTS but I can't afford it.  I started my private practice 21 years ago.  Insurance companies pay less now than they did then and the cost of EVERYTHING has increased significantly.

Instead of concentrating our $$ on fighting the insurance companies and getting decent reimbursement, like you said, the APTA has primarily focused on Direct Access.  Who cares!  When we called the insurance companies they were quite clear that they really didn't have anything to do with Direct Access and they would only pay our claims if we had a doctor RX.  

What choices do we have???

Tricia Ashton, Orthopedics - PT-owner, Ashton PT Center September 9, 2015 10:07 PM
Alexandria VA

I am still practicing but decided not to renew my membership to the APTA years ago as I did not feel they were addressing my needs as a therapist working in home health and pediatrics.  Articles in the journal were geared mostly towards research and offered little I could apply in the field.  The focus seemed to be more on pushing the doctoral degree and supporting reimbursement for those practicing sports medicine.  I do not think the APTA has much concern for those of us older therapists who choose not to invest the money to pursue a doctorate.  

Anita, PT September 5, 2015 9:17 AM
nashua NH

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