A Better Economy Starts with PT
Improving the economy is no easy task in the current environment. Today I read an interesting article reporting that companies are now looking at a community's health profiles to assist in determining whether to open shop there or not.* The analogy of a community's health rating to a consumer's credit score seemed an apt comparison. If a community is likely to present with a greater percentage of unwell people in the workforce, that will mean higher health costs for the employers. As an employer, if you could choose between places A and B to start a new venture, and one offered the risk of higher healthcare costs over the other, which would you choose?
The article reported that "IBM opened a plant in Dubuque, Iowa, because the healthcare costs there were the lowest in the nation." That means other towns lost out because of the poorer health of their residents. What sort of things did they look at? Obesity, smoking, excessive drinking, physical environment and other aspects factored into the equation. All these things could be addressed by physical therapists in conjunction with other health providers.
If you're wondering where to get information on your locality, you can try this site, which provides detailed information about how your county ranks on health issues. Maybe there's an issue standing out in your community that you could spearhead. It might mean the difference in whether your patients wind up having employer-paid health insurance in the future or not.
* Funkhouser, M (2012). Community health and the competition for jobs, Governing Institute, accessed Dec. 18, 2012.