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What If We Told You That Not All Physical Therapy is Created Equal?

Mike Wright PT, DPT, ATC

Setting: Orthopedic MD office.  You have just had an x-ray that came back clear (no breaks, hallelujah), medicine hasn’t helped the pain, and the MD enters the room:

MD:  Hi (insert your name here), everything looks clear on the x-ray and you still have pain so I think it might be time to try some therapy to see if we can get you better.

You: Ok, we can try

MD: Great.  I’m going to get you set up with the clinic across the hall.  I’ll send the referral over.  They use the same computer system and can talk to me anytime.

You: Alright.

*TIME OUT* Did you see what just happened?  I would guess most of you didn’t. What just happened is that the MD referred you to a clinic that they might have ownership,instead of suggest PT anywhere of your choosing.  Unsure how that matters?  A study1 assessed 3,771 patients with total knee replacements and the outcomes of therapy. Individuals that attended therapy at a clinic owned by physicians on average attended twice as many visits (approx. 8 more) and tended to receive less intense and specific treatment.  How does saving time and $320 sound? (based off $40/visit copay). Pretty good right?  Perhaps that referral isn’t based off care but based off self interest? I’m not saying but I’m just saying.

Bonus Riddle:  We’ve heard so many individuals voice their concern regarding visits to see their physician in which they actually see the PA. “I want to see the surgeon.” “I’m paying for the MD, not the PA.”  Common things I hear from patients in the clinic, as well as just in discussion with people.  It might be the most common thing after “is popping ok?”  So if it seems to be common thread that people want to see the MD and not the PA, why do people seem to constantly go along with therapy services in which they see commonly 5 different clinicians (PTs, PTAs, Athletic Trainers) in 6 visits?  Perhaps the thought is “that is just how it is” and the idea is that you just can’t do anything about it.

I’m here with great news! The grass is greener on the other side. While many clinics may have this scenario, there is something better.  At Greensboro Physical Therapy,we strive to bring you in with the same Doctor of Physical Therapy and keep you with them during your entire treatment.  We want to be your DPT for life!  We pride ourselves in getting to know you, your goals, your worries and more.  This you-centered focus allows us to get you where you need to be (apparently faster and better per research).

So if you’ve had that conveyor belt, bouncing around experience before and want something more, Greensboro Physical Therapy waits for you.   You have a choice, we hope you choose us.

1 Use of Physical Therapy Following Total Knee Replacement Surgery: Implications of Orthopedic Surgeons’ Ownership of Physical Therapy Services Jean M. Mitchell Ph.D. James D. Reschovsky Ph.D. Elizabeth Anne Reicherter P.T., D.P.T., Ph.D.