Corporate Physical Therapy Companies are Destroying Our Profession. Here’s why:
I haven’t been practicing very long, but I’ve been around long enough to make some of my own observations. I think it’s about time we started a discussion about our profession and the path we are walking down.
So I’ve got several points that I feel that need to be addressed. In no random order, here they are, after the jump…
A majority of Americans are going to immediately look into in-network insurance. That’s just the way it is, when out of network costs are “too expensive” for potential patients.
“$150+ for a physical therapy treatment? That’s too much for me. I have to look in-network.”
How about patients or clients that are okay with paying for a full hour massage, but all of a sudden feel that an out-of-network payment is excessive?
Everyone wants a quick fix.
Don’t we all?
However, most people don’t have trouble paying for something to help their well-being, but are okay with going out on the town and dropping the same or more at a dinner, bar, or both.
Patient and Therapist Advocacy
Why do our potential patients have such an issue paying for a premium service when they do the same thing for different services?
The answer is that we need to advocate for ourselves.
If we don’t make the public aware of the services we provide, we are doing ourselves (and ultimately, our patients) a massive disservice.
The general public is unaware of our training and the skill set that we offer. Three years postgraduate or six years accelerated is a lot of work that needs to be acknowledged.
We are movement specialists and can help prevent injury with our knowledge.
Our patients deserve our full attention and knowledge and absolutely no less.
When we are juggling multiple patients, how are we helping to progress their care efficiently?
Two or more patients over the course of an hour? That’s absolute insanity.
Because of our education and our skill set, we should be able to take care of our patients individually. Patients thrive and benefit from our full and undivided attention.
How can you pay attention to someone while trying to watch another patient? Or two? Three? That is an injustice to you and your patient.
Additionally, nobody else has our credentials. We spend three years learning about the human body, how it functions, and how to diagnose and correct movement.
Our patients deserve all of our attention and nothing less.
The Continuous Revolving Door
Bright-eyed, bushy tailed graduates want to come to these companies to gain experience, and that’s just about exactly what they’re valuable for, and I won’t argue that.
Those new graduates get full schedules. All of a sudden, a scheduled caseload turns into overload.
What happens when they leave? They just hire another new graduate. Bright eyed, bushy tailed.
Okay, so what?
These factors lead up to two things that therapists and patients alike notice:
Decreased Quality of Care
Patients at these companies get limited time with therapists and more time with the aides and techs.
They don’t receive the attention they should. Maybe at the end of their plan of care, they can do their exercises on their own — but then again, why do they still need to come to you if they can do said activities at home?
Their and your time is wasted.
Certainly not you as a therapist!
Why else? Money. The more in-network patients that come through the door, the more money the company makes.
There are formulas and quotas to be filled, and patients to be seen. When you don’t meet these, there is an issue for you.
Ultimately, these business practices are harming our profession and holding back our development as therapists. I feel that we should stand up for ourselves and advocate for proper patient care — and what I would love to do is open up a discussion to better ourselves and our careers as physical therapists.