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PT and the Greater Good

Primary Focus

Published June 12, 2012 12:04 PM by Dean Metz

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.



Screening athletes for muscle imbalances would have saved my daughter a lot of pain and worry, not to mention an entire lost season of competition. It would have saved our family and insurance company hundreds of dollars in copays and deductibles from unnecessary tests.

Won't know for another two years the long term ramifications, and one could argue without a crystal ball we'll never know for sure. As the state champion the year prior to her injury, she was on track for a potential full ride scholarship to college. During this summer before her junior year, she's diligently working to get pack up to par.

My husband's company is privately held and self-insured. So the money "insurance" pays for health care directly affects their bottom line and the employees bonuses. Not sure all of the employees "get" that. But it seems these types of companies would be the most logical place to petition a proactive insurance system. They have the most to gain, and the most to lose.

Thanks for another post challenging the status quo to raise the bar.

Jane Goude June 21, 2012 9:37 PM

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About this Blog

    Dean Metz
    Occupation: Staff Development Specialist
    Setting: New York, NY – Newcastle Upon Tyne, Great Britain
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