Collaborating Reduces Costs of Health Care is such a story.
The story appeared in the Money section of USA Today on January 6th, 2012. The article tells a story about an employee of Intel Corp. and its insurance company, Cigna of Oregon.
Peter Cady, who works 12-hour shifts on his feet at Intel's plant here, occasionally suffers severe lower back spasms. But he nearly gave up seeking medical help because in the weeks it took to get a doctor's appointment and a referral to physical therapy, the pain usually subsided.Why is USA Today breaking this story?
These days, he's much happier with his care.
Rather than waiting to see a doctor, Cady and other patients with routine back pain now see a physical therapist within 48 hours of calling, compared with about 19 days previously, Intel says.
They complete their treatment in 21 days, compared with 52 days in the past.
The cost per patient has dropped 10% to 30% due to fewer unnecessary doctor visits and diagnostic imaging tests. And patients are more satisfied and return to work faster.
"It's a real bureaucracy buster that gets you right straight to someone who can take care of the problem," says Cady, 47.
"Before, the doctor wasn't helping me or explaining anything. But the physical therapist educated me, gave me stretches and exercises to do, and cleared it up."
Physical therapists are REPLACING physicians as the primary providers of musculoskeletal care. Physical therapists are stealing physicians' caseloads.
Why aren't the physical therapists involved in this pilot project speaking up, blogging, tweeting and shouting from the rooftops?
The Intel/Cigna model is much like the Starbucks/Virginia Mason model of distruptive innovation - market-based solutions, rather than government mandates, that lower the cost of healthcare to employers and patients.
Physical therapist employees will see more work by disrupting traditional physician caseloads - but what about physical therapist employers?
What about the private practice physical therapists who employ physical therapists?
Will we be disrupted, too?
I'd like someone to tell THAT story.