"Physical therapy is not a subspecialty of the medical profession and physical therapists are not medical doctors; we are a separate profession that provides a unique service that physicians are unable and untrained to provide."

Letter to the AMA from the APTA, Dec 2009

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Physical Therapy's Unholy Alliance

This post well-summarizes the recent House and Senate vote on the Medicare Physician's Fee Schedule.

My response to the post recommends ending or reducing not only the bi-annual Medicare lobbying bonanza and PAC funding spree but also the "unholy alliance between providers, payers and patients" (I'm quoting myself).

Here is the response from the American Medical Association to Friday's Senate vote:


Statement Attributable to:
Nancy H. Nielsen, M.D.
President, American Medical Association

"The physicians of America are outraged that a group of Republican senators followed the direction of the Bush Administration and voted to protect health insurance companies at the expense of America’s seniors, disabled and military families.

"These senators leave for their 4th of July picnics knowing that the most vulnerable Americans are at risk ...

"...Today, thanks to some senators, we stand at the brink of a Medicare meltdown. On July 1 – just four days from now – the government will slash Medicare physician payments by 10.6 percent, forcing many physicians to make the difficult choice to limit the number of Medicare patients in their practices.

"The Senate must return from their recess and make seniors’ health care their top priority. For doctors, this is not a partisan issue - it's a patient access issue."

(here I respond to her original post)

While I agree with the facts of your post I wonder if the rhetoric of the AMA well serves the American public (especially the 46 million uninsured, mainly women and kids).

Instead of bi-annual(we went through this in December 2007 - remember?) 10% Medicare cuts why not a 2% annual reduction in the Medicare Physician's Fee Schedule?

Everyone knows the direction federally funded healthcare reimbursement has to go.

Large cuts inevitably trigger PAC funding and large-scale lobbying to reduce or reverse the cuts.

More money is not the answer.

One solution to the healthcare "crisis" is to dissolve the unholy alliance of providers, payers and patients.


Can patients afford healthcare without heavy regulation and government intervention?

That is, would there be a healthcare system without insurance companies and Medicare?

Many economists don't think so.

Nevertheless, physical therapy is well-suited to provide services to patients in gyms, schools, industry workplaces and to private-pay, 'cash practices' that would avoid the need for the third party arrangement that dominates healthcare today.

Physical therapists provide value with every intervention.

See how to provide valuable, audit-proof physical therapy for Medicare patients in outpatient physical therapy clinics.

Free Tutorial

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Tim Richardson, PT owns a private practice at Medical Arts Rehabilitation, Inc in Palmetto, Florida. The clinic website is at MedicalArtsRehab.com.

Bulletproof Expert Systems: Clinical Decision Support for Physical Therapists in the Outpatient Setting is a manager's workbook with stories, checklists, charts, graphs, tables, and templates describing how you can use paper-based or computerized tools to improve your clinic's Medicare compliance, process adherence and patient outcomes.

Tim has implemented a computerized Clinical Decision Support (CDS) system in his clinic since 2006 that serves as a Reminder, Alerting, Prompting and Predicting CDS using evidence-based tests and measures.

Tim can be reached at
TimRichPT@BulletproofPT.com .

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Consistent with the American Physical Therapy Association Vision Statement for Physical Therapy 2020, the American Physical Therapy Association supports exclusive physical therapist ownership and operation of physical therapy services.