August 12, 2013
Re: Chris Core's August 5 article, "For a stiff neck, nearly $6,000 in physical therapy seemed too much"
It's unfortunate that Mr. Core had such a negative experience when he recently sought treatment for his neck problem. Most physical therapists provide valuable services that enable individuals to participate in daily activities and improve quality of life. It is evident that our current health care delivery system is too costly, too complicated, and cannot be sustained in its current form.
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and its members are committed to ensuring the long-term viability of the health care system through the development of professional standards of practice, evidence-based practice guidelines and a simpler, more efficient payment system. APTA promotes the use of the best scientific evidence to support practice decisions, including those related to frequency and type of care provided. We are developing clinical practice guidelines and other resources to help reduce incidences like that experienced by Mr. Core and to optimize patient care.
APTA has begun developing an alternative payment system for outpatient therapy services that will address many of the issues raised by Mr. Core. This new system proposes to pay providers based upon the needs of the patient and not on the amount of services provided. Physical therapists are health care professionals who restore and improve movement to enable individuals of all ages to have optimal functioning and quality of life. Studies indicate that early and appropriate access to physical therapy results in significant cost savings for employers, insurers, and patients.
Paul A. Rockar, Jr, PT, DPT, MS
American Physical Therapy Association