"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

Monday, January 26, 2009

Spend Money on Health Care to Stimulate Demand

Physical therapists face a 15.1% pay cut in 2010.

Congress can prevent these cuts by voting to prevent an update to the much-hated Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) portion of the physicians' fee schedule.

Why should Congress act on behalf of physical therapists?

Self-interest, to put it bluntly.

Congressional and American self-interest.

Physical therapy jobs are an important part of the United States economy.

Health care jobs are reponsible for half the job growth in the US economy since 2001.
"The good news is that if the housing market falls into a deep swoon,
health care could provide enough new jobs to prevent a wider recession."
But, the flip side of this upward trend is the larger trend of excessive US borrowing:

"...one explanation for the huge U.S. trade deficit is that the country is borrowing from overseas to fund creation of health-care jobs."
Uh oh, Congress is between a rock and a hard place!

What, you ask, will Congress do?

Well, your crystal ball is as good as mine is.

But, today's Online News Hour with Jim Lehrer spoke truth to power when, in the face of massive US job layoffs, the show's moderators advocate spending in order to 'elevate demand in the economy'.

Right now, the 2 trillion dollar US health care economy is 50% funded by the US government.

One specific reccomendation of the moderators...

  • Spending money now on Electronic Medical Records (EMR) - expected 10-year return (according to Congressional Budget Office)= $90 billion.
Another spending item that will no doubt surface in discussions is the The Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services Act (H.R.43/S.46) sponsored by the following:
  • Congressmen Xavier Becerra (D-CA)
  • Mike Ross (D-AR)
  • Roy Blunt (R-MO)
  • Senator John Ensign (R-NV)
In 2009, the therapy cap is an easy target that physical therapists need to popularize for the benefit of our patients.

It may seem opportunistic to exploit political circumstances for economic gain now but physical therapists must remember that, for too long, the policy-makers in Washington have exploited physical therapy patients and providers for such morally ambiguous concepts like 'budget neutrality'.

Act now and contact your congresswoman (or man) and ask them to suport H.R. 43/S. 46 .

Free Tutorial

Get free stuff at BulletproofPT.com

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 .

"Make Decisions like Doctors"

Copyright 2007-2010 by Tim Richardson, PT.
No reproduction without authorization.

Share PTD with your Peers!

American Physical Therapy Association

American Physical Therapy Association
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.