Skip to main content

Here's how a hospital's physical therapy department designed an efficient, patient-centric system for managing referrals.

Feature - Referral Management 01

Physical therapy departments in acute care hospitals are under growing pressure to align their practices with hospital initiatives designed to decrease length of stay, discharge patients in a timely manner, and reduce readmissions. At Cedars-Sinai Medical Center (CSMC) in Los Angeles, it seemed that we had many more patients to see, and cases to manage, than could be handled within our desired timeframe.

CSMC is a large urban academic and research hospital that features a level-1 trauma center. In the Acute Physical Therapy Department, we receive an average of 1,350 referrals per month but have a staff of just 44 individuals—23 full-time staff, 6 part time, and 15 per diem. At first glance, the solution is simply to hire more staff. From a business perspective, however, this would require justifying the need for more staff via productivity standards and other financial metrics—a potentially complex and time-consuming process. And hiring staff might not be the best solution, anyway. We decided to tackle the situation by first looking internally.

Log in or create a free account to keep reading.

Join APTA to get unlimited access to content.

  1. Nigam Y, Knight J, Jones A. Effects of bedrest: Musculoskeletal and immune systems and skin. Nursing Times. 2009;105(23):18-22.
  2. Calvo-Ayala E, et al. Interventions to improve the physical function of ICU survivors. Chest. 2003; 44(5):1469-1480.
  3. Steiner C, Andrews R, Barrett M, Weiss A. HCUP Projections: Mobility/Orthopedic Procedures 2003 to 2012. 2012. HCUP Projections Report # 2012-03. US Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Accessed October 6, 2015.
  4. Smorawinski J, et al. Effects of 3-day bed rest on physiological response to graded exercise in athletes and sedentary men. J Applied Physiology. 2001;91(1):249-257.
  5. American Heart Association. Sudden blood pressure drop with position change linked to higher risk of heart failure. Accessed October 6, 2015.
  6. * Jones CD, Loehr L, et al. Sudden blood pressure drop with position change linked to higher risk of heart failure. Accessed November 21, 2014.

You Might Also Like...


Fee Schedule Cuts: Where Things Stand, What Could Happen Next

Nov 29, 2023

Time is running out for Congress to take action on cuts to the 2024 Medicare fee schedule. Are there paths that could lead to relief?


UHC Says Treatment Time Can Be Used in Lieu of Start and Stop Time

Nov 29, 2023

The latest clarification from the mega-insurer comes after it released a set of burdensome policy expansions earlier this year.


From PTJ: A Cheaper Alternative to Expensive Tech for Gait Analysis Poststroke?

Nov 28, 2023

Researchers say that videos fed into a “pose estimation” algorithm produced gait data comparable to results from motion capture technology.