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PT and the Greater Good

Congratulations?

Published May 21, 2013 4:16 PM by Dean Metz

A friend of mine posted on Facebook today, "I've maxed out my health insurance deductible, in-network bills are on them now." What an interesting state of affairs when we're tempted to congratulate someone for being unwell enough to warrant full payment for health care costs. My only fear is that we're in May. What if they hit their maximum annual benefit? What then?

Since I've been back from England, I've been nickel and dimed for co-payments and deductibles. I've submitted claims for reimbursement and waited, and waited, and waited for those checks. Even with "good" insurance, one still has to have a significant amount of cash on hand to receive healthcare in this country.

The sad thing is that this is a luxury problem. So many people have no insurance at all.

What if I didn't have that money up front? Would I put off seeking care for some things? Probably I would. What if I put seeking care off for so long that I wound up in an urgent or emergent medical situation? It would cost the insurance company a lot more in that instance. It would also cost me a lot more too!

These payment challenges are not foreign to those of us in private practice. We often have to devote significant time and resources to billing and collection. If we don't accept insurance, our pool of potential clients is perpetually shrinking as the economy continues on its jobless recovery. How many patients elect not to seek a physical therapist's help or rely on the trainer at the gym instead? How many people could we prevent from injuring themselves or hasten their recovery if they didn't have to weigh the value of our services against their other needs?

Are we being penny-wise and pound-foolish with our approach to financing healthcare? I believe we are.

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1 comments

Dean,

Is there an immediate perceived value for PT services for the clients?  For some there is not.  Why should I pay a $25.00 co-pay 3 times a week to exercise with an aide when I could pay about the same amount for a gym membership 5 days a week with a trainer. A gym does not close for every major holiday on earth and stays open from 12-1pm while the PT's are on their lunch break.

Are there alternatives to PT services?  Yes.  Not only are there trainers but the internet is full of exercises and activity I can find without cost and time of seeing a PT.   Didn't Lisa use youtube to find a procedure recently?

What value does PT offer to a person without insurance?  Not much really.  The out patient PT's better offer something more than exercises and BMI education.  Teaming up with a massage therapist, nurse practitioner or chiropractor would probably pull in more patients than just PT alone.    When the full effect of the cuts come hopefully we will see more and better collaboration within the health care community.  

Karen May 21, 2013 10:08 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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