Professional Therapy Associates Voices Montana Physical Therapists’ Support for Workers’ Compensation Reform Bill

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Professional Therapy Associates Reports That Recent Passage of Workers’ Compensation Reform Bill Has Not Impeded Injured Workers’ Access to Physical Therapy Services

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We’re honored that so many patients have made us their provider of choice in recognition of our outstanding team of physical therapists, state-of-the-art facilities and proven track record of physical therapy results.

Montana physical therapists were among the many healthcare professionals to voice support for House Bill (HB) 334, which was designed to reduce Montana’s workers’ compensation insurance premiums, and which Governor Brian Schweitzer signed into law in April 2011.* Professional Therapy Associates recently conducted a review of its patients with work-related injuries to determine the impact of the bill’s passage, and found patients receiving workers’ compensation benefits have maintained the same level of access to physical therapy services since the new law went into effect.

“Many of us in the healthcare industry recognized the necessity of lowering workers’ compensation insurance premiums; we just wanted to ensure that injured workers would still be able to access the same rehabilitation services they were entitled to under the previous system,” stated Blaine Stimac, owner and CEO of Professional Therapy Associates in Flathead Valley, Montana. “Physical therapy plays an important role in helping employees recover from job-related accidents and return to work. Since the new law has gone into effect, I’m happy to report that individuals who require rehabilitative treatment have been able to continue receiving the same quality care from the physical therapists in our clinics.”

Workers’ compensation insurance provides income and medical benefits to employees injured in the course of their job. HB 334 addressed medical costs and benefits under Montana’s workers’ compensation system. While the new law limits medical benefits to five years from the date of injury, it gives workers the right to appeal for a two-year extension. Among the advantages of the new system are a streamlined treatment process, fewer administrative requirements and additional tools to help employees stay at work after an injury.**

Physical therapists are experts in the musculoskeletal system; their training enables them to help patients regain full mobility after an injury or surgery, while alleviating pain. As Stimac explains, “Our goal is to get the injured employee back to work by gaining control over painful areas, restoring proper mobility and biomechanics, establishing comprehensive and functional strengthening programs to do in the clinic and at home, and training the worker on correct use of their injured area and continuation of their home program to minimize chance of re-injury.”

Stimac notes that an effective physical therapy program supports the aims of Montana’s new workers’ compensation system by facilitating employees’ return to work as quickly and safely and possible. And by teaching employees how to avoid injuries, it can also help to reduce future workers’ compensation claims.

“I’m proud of the service our practice provides to Montana’s injured workers. We’re honored that so many patients have made us their provider of choice in recognition of our outstanding team of physical therapists, state-of-the-art facilities and proven track record of physical therapy results. It’s rewarding to see the progress our patients make under our care, and very satisfying to help them achieve their goals and return to work,” asserted Stimac. “I’m glad that lawmakers recognized the role Montana physical therapists play in employees’ rehabilitation, and that they empowered us to continue doing what we do best – helping our patients find freedom from pain and fully recover from their injuries.”

Professional Therapy Associates provides physical therapy services at four clinics throughout the Flathead Valley region, including Downtown Kalispell, Kalispell North, Whitefish and Columbia Falls. For additional information on Professional Therapy Associates – including physical therapy treatments, staff, locations and contact information – please visit http://www.ptflathead.com.

About Professional Therapy Associates and Blaine Stimac
Professional Therapy Associates (PTA) is an established provider of physical therapy in Montana. Founded in Kalispell in 1988, the practice has expanded to include four convenient locations throughout Flathead Valley. In addition to its flagship Kalispell North facility, PTA also has clinics in Downtown Kalispell (Flathead Health and Fitness), Whitefish (The Wave) and Columbia Falls (Columbia Falls Clinic). Owner and CEO Blaine Stimac is a licensed Physical Therapist in Montana, and holds a Master of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Montana. He and his team offer a full range of services, including manual physical therapy, sports medicine, therapeutic exercise and biofeedback, as well as treatment for back and neck injuries, motor vehicle injuries and work-related injuries. For more information, visit http://www.ptflathead.com.

  • Drake, Phil. “Governor signs bill aimed at major workers’ compensation reform.” Article posted on Montana.Watchdog.org (a branch of the Montana Policy Institute); April 12, 2011. montana.watchdog.org/2011/04/12/governor-signs-bill-aimed-at-major-workers-comp-reform

** Warden, Lori. “Workers’ Comp Drops Rates for Employers.” Big Sky Business Journal; July 25, 2011. http://www.bigskybusiness.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2092:workers-comp-drops-rates-for-employers&catid=19:montanagovernment&Itemid=119

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