Are you an Educated Healthcare Consumer?
Very few people know that they can go directly to a Physical Therapist without a referral. It’s true. As of 2007, New York State law allows for direct access to physical therapy without a prescription or referral from a doctor. “Even if I have Medicare?” you ask. Indeed. Most new physical therapists, having graduated in the past 5 years from an accredited program, have Physical Therapy Doctorate degrees. They are doctors of physical therapy. They are the experts in evaluating and assessing musculoskeletal injuries and dysfunctions, as well as designing custom treatment programs to return a patient to normalcy in short time.
So, if you have hurt your back, shoulder, knee, ankle, etc, why are you going to your primary care MD? Or to the ER? Is it so you can get tests and pills? In some severe cases, like if you can’t walk at all, this may be appropriate. A fracture is possible and emergency care may be your best recourse. But routine injuries are often best dealt with directly and a PT is the best professional to manage that.
Better yet, treatment by a PT has repeatedly been proven to be the most cost-effective means of managing outpatient care. A study released last week in the journal Health Services Research revealed the following:
“Patients who visited physical therapists directly for outpatient care had fewer visits and lower overall costs on average than those who were referred by a physician, after adjusting for age, gender, diagnosis, illness severity, and calendar year. In addition, overall related health care use—or care related to the problem for which physical therapy was received, but not physical therapy treatment—was lower in the self-referred group after adjustment.”
These results suggest that PTs who see patients without a referral (said: physician gatekeeper) are actually taking more responsibility for the overall care of their patients and their healthcare dollars. They are practicing in an efficient, effective, and fiscally responsible manner.
Individuals’ healthcare costs are rising annually. Insurers are raising rates and blaming it on the rising cost of care. Shouldn’t every patient and insurance company be acting like a consumer? Wouldn’t a responsible consumer seek the best quality and value in the market?
For a PT close to you, search Find A PT.