"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

Friday, July 20, 2012

Marcus Welby is Dead

"It's the death knoll of the private practice..." said Kurt Mosley, vice president of strategic lliances for Merritt Hawkins and Staff Care, a nationwide healthcare staffing organization.
"...I think... nobody wants Marcus Welby any more."
"That concept doesn’t play anymore and it’s not effective."
Recruitment of physicians into private practice is now only 1% of all physician recruitment activities.

"It’s not necessarily that surprising, but it dropped so dramatically (this year)."
This article from Healthcare Finance News sources Mosley's statement and provides additional links to explore these changes in physician recruitment.

Marcus Welby, MD was a television show about a gentle family physician in a private practice in Santa Monica, California. The TV show ran from 1969 to 1976. The 1970 season was the very first #1 hit show for ABC networks.

Marcus Welby, MD delt with sensitive medical issues, such as depression, brain damage, breast cancer, sexually transmitted diseases, epilepsy, leukemia and Alzheimer's Disease.

How Do Physician Employment Trends Impact Outpatient Physical Therapists?

Fundamentally, physical therapists' practice and physicians' practice are different.

Physicians require access to sophisticated testing, technology and the resources of the acute care hospital to practice effectively in these medern times.

Physical therapists may also need access to hospitals, but to a lesser extent than physicians (which helps explain why physical therapists are not included in Meaningful Use incentive payments for providers who purchase Electronic Medical Records and achieve interoperability with hospitals).

This American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) letter to the American Medical Association (AMA) nails the point, exactly:
"Doctors of physical therapy are not medical doctors, and medical doctors are not doctors of physical therapy.
Physical therapy is not a subspecialty of the medical profession.
Physical therapists provide a unique but complimentary service that physicians are untrained to provide."
Trends affecting medical doctors could buffet private practice physical therapists but seem unlikely to put the nail in the coffin of private practice physical therapists the way some are predicting for medical doctors.

I think the future is bright for private practice physical therapists. Its not a future like those who went before us, like Marcus Welby.

It could be better.

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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.