"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, January 25, 2012

Psst! Want a HOT tip? Form your own Physical Therapist Association...

All kidding aside, newly formed physical therapist associations seem to be a growth industry lately.

Full disclosure, I am on the Board of Directors of the Florida Physical Therapists in Private Practice (FLPTPP).

However, I do not belong to any of the following:
  • Physical Therapy Business Alliance (PTBA)
  • Physical Therapy Alliance of Upstate New York (PTAUNY)
  • New Jersey Society of Independent Physical Therapists (NJSIPT)
Perhaps there are unmet needs among physical therapist businesses that these groups are forming to address. According to the PTBA website:

"While our profession has successful organizations of "individuals" (American Physical Therapy Association, Sections of the Association, Components), a void exists in which the professional interests of physical therapy can be championed as businesses."
These three groups are organized to support the business activities of private practice physical therapy clinics. According to the PTAUNY website:
"The purpose of this organization was and is to keep the private practice owners and therapists informed of local and national trends, promote our practice, provide continuing education opportunities and communicate with local third party payers on issues that affect the services we provide."
The common thread of all three groups seems to be declining reimbursement and an inability of private practice physical therapists to act collectively. especially when negotiating third party insurance contracts. According to the FLPTPP website:
"... we will assist our members to control their financial well-being through improved reimbursement, sharing of expertise & best practices, and volume purchasing power."
While some traditional physical therapist organizations may feel stifled by these newly-formed groups, I think there is still plenty of oxygen left in the room.

Some of these groups, like the NJSIPT, have their own Political Action Committee (PAC) for soliting contributions. Will that decrease contributions to traditional physical therapist associations?

No, I don't think it will. There are more PACs in existence in 2012 than EVER in history and this Presidential election will require EACH political party to raise $1 BILLION dollars to field a candidate.

Does the presence of seperate groups confuse legislators who may be used to just one PT group per state?

No, just look at the physicians' societies - in Florida we have the following:
  • 1 Florida Medical Association
  • 17 sub-specialty physician asosciations (eg: orthopedics, family practice, etc.) AND
  • 67 county medical societies, one for each of the Florida counties.
By the way, EACH of these physician groups donates to their PAC to support their own (sometimes conflicting) interests. Do you think Florida legislators are confused by all the physician medical societies?

Not as long as the money keeps flowing! :)

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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.

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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.

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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.