I have been following along with the reports from Danielle Bullen, Rebecca Mayer and Lisa Lombardo on the goings-on in Tampa last week. I find the outcomes interesting and validating. One of my contentions with Vision 2020 is that it seemed too isolating. That seems to be holding up now. As a profession, we are finally starting to realize that no provider can stand completely alone and that we need to partner with others to achieve the best outcomes for patients.
Physical therapy is most often an intervention of secondary or tertiary care. Both cases are the result of treatment after a disease/injury event has occurred. There needs to be a greater focus on primary care, preventing the injury from occurring in the first place. Are third-party payers reimbursing that? Not yet for the most part, but they will have to soon. Why? Rehab after an event is actually far more expensive than preventing the event from happening.
How could PT play a role? How about screening athletes for muscle imbalances and then prescribing a corrective program to prevent injuries? Working with primary care providers to offer programs to those at risk for osteoporotic fractures using the World Health Organization's FRAX tool as a guideline? Maybe working in partnership with dieticians, social workers and PCPs to address obesity issues?
I've spent a great deal of time over the past year researching everything about fall prevention. It is possible to prevent some falls from ever occurring and it is possible to reduce the incidence of falling in a given population. By offering our services in the arena of prevention and primary care we can demonstrate our value to payers, PCPs and patients.
Let us not miss this opportunity to make a mark in this territory. The value in this is something I learned while working in a primary care trust here in the UK.