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PTA Blog Talk

Medical Industrial Complex

Published October 9, 2013 10:03 PM by Jason Marketti

I was reading about how the Native Americans are going to be affected by the Affordable Care Act. Apparently there's still confusion about the federally recognized tribes who will be covered and some may have to prove their ancestry again. Then there are the Amish, who have opted out of the ACA without much difficulty. I guess the government picks and chooses who they want to impose a fine on and who they'll ignore. Weren't we all told that everyone is required to have health insurance? I guess the wording on the barn can change as we go about our day. (An "Animal Farm" reference).

I'm trying to understand how all of this will directly affect me professionally as well as personally. As I understand it, reimbursements keep decreasing for the same care we're providing in order to save money, and hospitals will be directing which facilities receive funds from Medicare as well as how much. Contain costs, force workers to work harder with less. I get it, no problem; I'll keep pulling with my head down.

Personally, however, I have issues with the medical system. As a consumer of health services across the spectrum, I'm disappointed by it all. There's no consistency when asking for specific information and finding a specialist in the healthcare community to treat my child is like mining for a bitcoin. We're on several waiting lists for potentially life-threatening situations and I can't always afford the emergency room visits when things are real bad. If insurance didn't pay for both my daughters' medication, we'd have to decide on their well-being or buying food for a family of five every week; the medications they take are that expensive.

If any of that changes, I am doomed. As I tried to get more information last week regarding changes to the health system regarding both my daughters' medical status, I was unable to because of the government's inability to compromise on issues. It has not been a good week to be a consumer in the healthcare market. Even some websites were down when I went searching for information.

Since I haven't read the ACA, I cannot say if it will be good or bad for us in the therapy profession. And since the government keeps adding addendums, I doubt I'll ever be able to finish reading it in my lifetime. I want to say we'll be alright but as reimbursements decrease, companies may begin to hire more assistants to reduce costs. It is a business, find cheaper labor to deliver the product. Don't blame the PTAs for this, talk to the representative you voted for (or the one in office) and see if you can fight the system. As a consumer of healthcare and an advocate for my daughters against the conglomerates who own the health system, I am tired of fighting, but I never give up.

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I can appreciate the frustration of the unknown and trying to find out how a new system is going to affect you personally and professionally.  In Canada, basic medical and health care is available for all.  Extra care like medications depends on individual health insurance plans or income levels.  

I did want to comment on the Amish/Mennonite population however.  The Amish in general (varies from district to district) do not believe in insurance.  To obtain any type of insurance would imply they don't trust God to meet their needs.  They do not use medical insurance, household insurance, life insurance, they don't drive cars so don't have car insurance.  Here in Canada, though they have every right to apply for a Health Insurance Card, they don't and give up a right offered to every citizen.  They pay in cash, personally or as a district for any care received.  And they always pay!  

I hope this rolls out in your favour for your girls and your profession.  From our side of the border, we're happy with our universal health care as it means care for all, no matter how rich or poor, young or old, colour, race, religion etc.  

Sharon , Pediatrics - Physiotherapist, Infant Development Program November 4, 2013 4:08 PM
London, ON Canada AA

Jeanne, I completely agree with you. I believe one of the advantages of going to a DPT was to gain direct access. Have not seen that come to light in many states yet. I also have worked in this field for 25 years and am thinking about a new career direction as are most of my co-workers. Therapy used to be about the patient and meeting goals. Possibly getting them rehabbed to home, however I think it's become such a patient profile game, (If they are sufficiently insured and will gain the most profit) then we are pushed hard to get them on caseload, whether they are appropriate or not. I miss the good old days where the therapists were actually valued and respected, not treated like a corporate meal ticket

Charmin, PTA November 4, 2013 6:16 AM

You can read the ACA here:  http://www.hhs.gov/healthcare/rights/law/index.html

I understand your frustration, but before you blow off in the public forum, you may want to at least skim the law.  Section 1501 deals with the individual mandate.  Yes, it is 906 pages long.  But if you don't know what it says, you'll be vulnerable to any shark who swims by.

Carolyn Heather Senn, Home Health - PTA October 10, 2013 1:52 AM
las vegas NV

If you don't have the DPT's to do their work , the PTAs will have no work to do. Why be a DPT instead of a medical doctor? The state of the physical therapy profession is such that I am happy to say I'm am going to retire from it in a few  short years. I enjoyed working in it in the best of times.

Jeanne October 9, 2013 11:21 PM

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About this Blog

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