"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, February 8, 2009

$100 Lumbar MRI in the USA?

Get a lumbar magnetic resonance image (MRI) for less than $100?

Is that possible?

In Japan, it is.

If the United States imports this feature of Japan's model in these changing health care times what implication does that hold for physical therapy?

$25 visits in outpatient physical therapy clinics?

Japan's system is called social insurance.

Japan is the world's second richest economy and, arguably, one of its most capitalistic.

Some other features of the Japanese system include the following:
  • everyone is covered (rich people cannot 'opt-out').

  • most care (80%) is provided by private doctors (not 'socialized medicine' like in Canada and England).

  • no gatekeeper (you can see an allergist or orthopedic surgeon on your own).

  • costs half as much as in the USA
    1. 8% of GDP in Japan
    2. 16% of GDP in the USA
  • Japanese people visit their doctor 3x as often as Americans do for simple procedures like blood pressure checks.

  • insurance companies are non-profit and aren't allowed to 'cherry pick' - if you have a history of cancer they still have to insure you.

  • zero medical bankruptcies.

  • $280 per month health insurance premiums - and the employer pays half of that!
Will the Japanese model happen in the USA?

Should it?

What do you think?

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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.