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PTA Blog Talk

Therapy Buddy

Published August 23, 2013 7:44 PM by Jason Marketti

Group physical therapy was a way to have patients come together and participate in activities where they could encourage one another and watch each other progress. Since the decline in reimbursements for this type of activity, it's no longer economically feasible for facilities and therapists to do this. In some instances, the group coding may have been abused and overused. With the old system, two therapists could have seen eight patients in an hour and billed accordingly and someone made big bucks when this type of group billing was the norm.

Getting away from groups was not the brightest thing to do though. Yes, the one-therapist-to-four-patients ratio was probably overly abused by some companies but when patients have some sort of workout partner their accountability to participate in their own care should increase. We read and are told to walk or hike with a buddy, work out with a friend, have a running or lifting partner etc. Where are the patients' workout buddies?

I instruct patients in the proper technique of the exercises but I don't perform all the exercises along with them. Another patient with the same or a similar diagnosis would. Two knee patients could compare stories, discuss surgeons, do range-of-motion comparisons, and encourage one another with their exercises and gait.

But I'm sure there would be some therapist who still messes this up for the rest of us and has two comatose patients trying to play volleyball or barely gripping a weight, while they talk about what they did over the weekend to another care provider for an hour.

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At the facility I work in we don't see groups (except occasionally in OT) but we DO dovetail. That is...if a pt can go to the gym to exercise, they are usually transported by an Aide to the therapist. While the therapist sets them up on their ex's or begins something for balance or starts to gait train with them, the aide then goes and gets another pt. Once both pt's are in the gym, the therapist begins the "Time" for the 2nd pt. This is a way for the pt to encourage each other. We spend 30 min w/ both pt's and bill both pt's for 30 min (maybe one from 09-0930 and the other from 0915-0945 for example). Once PT tx is over we check to see if the OT/OTAide is avail to treat the pt (provided they are on OT services) and vice/versa. The pt is transported back to their room by the PTAide again. This allows the therapist to see more patients, allows patients to interact and encourage one another and increases overall productivity since the aide transports to a therapist, any training that is done by the aide for OOB to chair is billable as well! (AND BTB ALSO).

Veronica November 7, 2013 1:59 AM

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About this Blog

    Jason J. Marketti
    Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant
    Setting: San Jacinto, CA
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