By: Jim Greenwood, CEO, Concentra
The use of Physical Therapy for musculoskeletal injuries in workers’ compensation has been and continues to be a controversial topic. Is there value when a patient receives physical therapy?
The answer to this question is, it depends. The range of when therapy is received (acute early intervention or delayed chronic care), the focus of treatment (active functional treatment or passive symptom reduction treatment), and who provides the therapy (a licensed orthopedically skilled physical therapist or an unlicensed technician) is very broad. In a recent Wall Street Journal article1 a physician billed “a large portion” of $1.2 million in charges to Medicare for physical therapy that was only passive (heat and massage) and only provided by unlicensed medical assistants. There is minimal value from this type of care.
In contrast, another article in the Wall Street Journal2 discussed how a health system in Seattle changed its approach for treatment of low back pain from a traditional doctor or specialist visit, imaging and other specialized tests, pharmaceutical treatment and then perhaps physical therapy (delayed chronic care), to beginning the process (early intervention) with a licensed physical therapist and a functional active approach. Patients improved and were educated on how to reduce their risk of further injury, and the cost per case decreased by 50%, including a decrease in MRI’s and surgery.
The effectiveness of this model has been confirmed in multiple validation studies. An acute early intervention functional approach with skilled orthopedically trained licensed physical therapists has significantly improved patient outcomes as well as providing significant cost savings. That is value!
That’s what I think.
1Confidentiality Cloaks Medicare Abuse – The Wall Street Journal – December 22, 2010
2A Novel Plan Helps Hospital Wean Itself Off Pricey Tests – The Wall Street Journal – January 12, 2007
About Jim Greenwood
Jim Greenwood assumed his position as Chief Executive Officer for Concentra in June 2007. Prior to this he was the organization’s Executive Vice President of Corporate Development since 1997, where his responsibilities included acquisitions, joint ventures, and new business initiatives. Since 1993, when Jim joined a predecessor company as Chief Financial Officer, Concentra has completed over 100 acquisitions and joint ventures. Mr. Greenwood was in the banking industry for seven years prior to 1993, serving as Senior Vice President for Bank One, Texas, N.A. and a predecessor financial institution. Jim graduated from Baylor University in 1983 and is a certified public accountant. In addition to serving on Concentra’s Board of Directors, Jim is a Board member for Amerita, Inc., a privately held specialty infusion company. Mr. Greenwood is also on the Board of Directors for the Founders Forum. Founders’ Forum is an organization for conservative business leaders who are focused on economic and fiscal issues. Mr. Greenwood also serves on the Baylor University Healthcare Administration Program’s Advisory Council.
Concentra is a leading national health care company focused on improving America’s health, one patient at a time. Through its affiliated clinicians, the company provides occupational medicine, urgent care, wellness and preventive services, physical therapy, physical examinations, travel medicine and drug testing from 307 medical centers located in 40 states. Concentra has over 100,000 employer clients and treats approximately 25,000 patients per day. In addition to these medical center locations, the company serves employers by operating over 250 work-site medical facilities. Through this complement of services, Concentra is raising the standard of health by putting individuals first, treating them with clinical excellence, and focusing on their ongoing wellness.