Thursday, September 4, 2014

So·lu·tion: Physical Therapy

a means of solving a problem or dealing with a difficult situation.
America has found itself in a difficult situation; spending far more than it brings in. The quality and accessibility of healthcare falls short. There must be effective solutions out there. Physical therapy can be and should be part of the solution. PT can help deal with the difficult situation America has put itself in through direct access. 

The amount spent on healthcare per person in 2012 was $8,915 which comes to a total of about $2.8 trillion (Wilson, 2014). When compared to other countries healthcare in the US often does not compare when it comes to quality (Munro, 2014). Not only does the quality of our healthcare fall short but it also is not accessible; many people (myself included) often do not seek appropriate heathcare services simply due to the thought of the bill to come. Physical therapist need to step up and fill some of the gaps. 

In order to fill in some of the gaps PTs must actively advocate for direct access. Australia has had direct access to PTs for over 30 years (Interim Study 13-006, 2013), PTs have been available via direct access in Canada since 1999 (Direct Access, n.d.). PTs must prove they deserve it and they would become part to the solution to Americas healthcare woes. How can PTs serve patients if they do not have access to them. It has been shown direct access compared to "physician referral" saves upwards of 123%. Research also shows referral based systems are 65% longer in duration (Mitchell, 1999). Longer treatment equates to more cost, its simple.

As PTs advocate for direct access we can make changes. As PTs we need to prove our worth. Let us provide the best care possible and become part of the solution to our heath care woes.

Direct access. (n.d.). Canadian Physiotherapy Association website.

Mitchell, J., (1994). Mitchell study: cost-effectiveness of direct access to physical therapy.

Munro, D., (2014) U.S. healthcare ranked dead last compared to 10 other countries.

Wilson, K. B., (2014). Health care costs 101.