How do YOU Choose Your Physical Therapist?

July 14, 2015

2012.11.11-Good-Better-Best-choices

WHAT YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR IN A PHYSICAL THERAPIST AND PHYSICAL THERAPY CLINIC

What to expect from your Physical Therapist:

• Is highly trained and experienced
• Performs a thorough evaluation to identify the source of your symptoms and design a plan of care specific to your needs and goals
• Listens to your concerns and provides educated and easy to understand answers to your questions about your condition or plan of care
• Is both courteous and professional, as is the entire staff
• Includes appropriate home exercises to optimize progress between treatments, maximize the effectiveness of your care and outcome, and transition you to independently manage your condition
• Achieves positive changes or results within 2 weeks. You may not be fully recovered by then, but you should have enough change to indicate that you have the correct plan of care. If changes are not seen, the plan is altered or you are referred to another health care professional who can help you
• Communicates appropriately with your other health care professionals

What to expect from your Physical Therapy clinic:

• Provides staffing levels allowing for dedicated hands-on, one-on-one care
• Schedules duration of appointments to allow your physical therapist to appropriately evaluate you, assess your progress and modify/advance your program
• Schedules you with one primary therapist for the duration of your course of treatment
• Schedules group sessions only when specific to your needs and billed appropriately
• Provides private treatment rooms to assure your privacy and that your physical therapist is devoting 100% attention to you

Other factors to consider when choosing where to receive care:

• Physicians that send you to facilities they own are profiting from the referral and that creates a possible conflict of interest. What are they more concerned with: Their profit or your well-being?
• Physicians who are employees of hospitals are generally “encouraged” to refer to other hospital-owned departments and often times suffer from negative reviews or punishments if they don’t comply (another possible conflict of interest).
• Hospital-owned outpatient facilities are often up to 4 times more expensive than the same services at physical therapist-owned private practices.
• Athletic trainers or new graduates of physical therapist or physical therapist assistant programs either lack the certification or the experience and advanced training that physical therapists with years or decades of experience have. They are less equipped to determine the source of your symptoms, which equates to longer or ineffective terms of care.

Recommendation: Select a privately-owned physical therapy clinic—remove the potential conflict of interest that exists with a physician-owned practice or one that is part of a healthcare network. Select a facility that employs only licensed physical therapists and physical therapy assistants who will work one-on-one with you to perform your physical therapy – not athletic trainers or rehabilitation aides.

Hopefully, you have been able to glean some valuable information from this article to help you make an informed decision on a very important matter… your health and well-being. The “bottom line” for a business may be profit, but your “bottom line” should be who can provide the best care at the best price, in the most expeditious and professional manner and achieve the best outcomes for your recovery. YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO CHOOSE, AND THE CHOICE IS YOURS!