"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

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

How Physical Therapists Can Add Value to Medicare Accountable Care Organizations

Private practice physical therapists in Florida who understand Medicare Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) are scared about the coming changes in healthcare financing.

But, like many large-scale changes ACOs will bring opportunities for success as well as threats to your current business model.

I'm discussing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the ACO model today, August 10th, 2011 at the Florida Health Care Coalition Sixth Annual South Florida Conference Empowering Healthcare/ Engaging Consumers in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Lessons learned here today that physical therapists in private practice can take home:
  • Insurance company employees are patients, too. They want better access, process and outcomes of care than they are getting now.
  • Wellness and Coaching are proven, albeit expensive, alternative model of chronic care delivery. "Expensive" is relative to the cost of people just taking care of themselves though better diet, exercise and controlling addictive or compulsive behaviors.
  • Improving behavior is also a proven strategy to lower costs. Whose behavior needs controlling? Patients need better strategies for managing their personal behaviors. Providers need more accountability for our workplace behaviors.
  • Behavior change skills are fundamentally different from physical therapists' traditional focus on "patient education".
  • Primary care physicians will be reimbursed for providing wellness care (eg: exercise prescriptions and interventions).
  • There is a problem with "rouge specialty physicians" driving up costs by performing too many uneccessary procedures, especially in South Florida.
  • A short-term cost saving strategy will be to increase screening of healthy populations for high-cost, common conditions, like future falls risk in elderly people, comunity-acquired pneumonia and depression in post-surgical patients.

    Physical therapists can provide these screenings.
  • Some insurance companies are experimenting with influencing patient behavior using social media, like Facebook and Twitter.

Learn more about Medicare Accountable Care Organizations at the FLorida Physical Therapists in Private Practice (FLPTPP) seminar How Physical Therapists Can Thrive Under Healthcare Reforn in Orlando on August 20-21, 2011.

Sign up now at the FLPTPP website.

You can sign up for the 2-day, 14-CEU seminar here using the web form at the FLPTPP website or you may also register by calling either one of these phone numbers:

1.813.874.2500 (office)

Toll Free: 888-MSK-4331

The course is being held at the Lake Buena Vista Embassy Suites. The Reservation phone number is (407) 239-1144. Ask for the $85 seminar pricing.

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.

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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.