Cheap Healthcare: Why Should I have Physical Therapy from An Out-of-Network Therapy Provider When I Can Go with the Cheaper Option?
As an out-of-network physical therapy provider I get this statement quite a bit:
· “Why should I pay for therapy when I can use my insurance?”
Yes, insurance appears to be a cheaper option. But…
· Do you really want “cheaper” when it comes to your health?
· Do you want “cheaper” when it comes to getting you back to the activity or sport you desire as quick as possible?
And here are my answers as to why the “cheaper” option is robbing you of your ability to get better faster.
As insurance reimbursements get lower and lower, more in-network Physical Therapy providers are resorting to filling their therapist’s schedules. Most in-network providers will schedule their therapists with patients every 15 minutes, 20 minutes or 30 minutes. And double booking (putting two patients on the schedule) is quite common. If a patient is seen every 15 minutes, then the therapist really has a maximum of 15 minutes to spend with that patient. That is the maximum and certainly not the norm. The norm is really 10 minutes but to be more than generous I will use 15 minutes. And, by the way, in a 30-minute schedule scenario, the therapy business has not provided any assistance to the therapist in the form of a tech or aide. The business heads will usually do this in an effort to offset the costs of the therapist not having more than 2 people per hour, which leads to the therapist trying to jockey between 2-3 people in the treatment gym at a time with no help. This will leave you, the patient, sitting and waiting for the therapist to make his/her way over to you when they can. So essentially, even though the therapist is booked every 30 minutes, you are only seen when the therapist can finish with his/her other patients; so, 15 minutes out of that 30 minutes will likely be allocated to someone else during your time. For the cost of a copay…You get 15 minutes with the physical therapist…maybe.
What do you get out of your 15 minutes with your physical therapist? You get 15 minutes for the therapist to talk with you, discuss how you were after the last treatment, assess where the pain is still, what brings it on with what movements, then apply a hands-on treatment, and then offer an effective home exercise program to keep the gains you made. Does that sound like 15 minutes is enough time for all of that?
But then your 15 minutes are up. The therapist must move on to the room filled with patients waiting for him/her. You are then sent to work with a tech to go do your exercises for the next 20-30 minutes. Exercises that you could do at home. And then you are asked to repeat these therapy sessions 3 times per week for the next 4 to 6 weeks. You need to take time off from work, get a sitter for the kids, drive over to therapy, and sit in a room filled with patients for over an hour, waiting for your 15 minutes of real therapy time.
· What is your time worth?
· Is your time cheap?
This is just one example of how cheaper is not necessarily better when it comes to your health and getting the care you deserve to get back to the life you desire.
A therapy provider who is out-of-network has the time to spend with you. I spend 60 to 90 minutes hours with my patients one-on-one. In that time, I can provide you with exclusive hands-on time and ample time discussion and assessment. By having more time, I can get to the root of the problem faster and get you then recovered from your injury that has been bugging you for so long.