As healthcare costs in the form of copayments and deductibles rise, more patients are delaying treatment in the hopes things will improve on their own. However, this approach actually costs patients and insurance companies more in the long run.
Lexington, Kentucky (PRWEB) September 07, 2013
KORT physical therapist Dr. Robbie Hinkebein PT, DPT, OCS, ATC and a team of more than 100 physical therapists from around the country met with legislators in Washington, D.C. at the end of July to discuss issues and challenges facing the healthcare industry. Hinkebein met with Kentucky Congressional Representative Ed Whitfield (1st District), Representative Brett Guthrie (2nd District), Representative Hal Rogers (5th District) and Representative Andy Barr (6th District) to discuss pending legislation affecting Medicare reform and rising healthcare costs.
“It was an amazing opportunity to sit down one-on-one with our local members of Congress and speak honestly about real cost savings issues related to healthcare reform, and discuss how the physical therapy profession can solve some of these issues,” said Dr. Hinkebein. “I thoroughly appreciated the time and dialogue that our local Congressmen gave to help find solutions that will improve how we provide healthcare to all our citizens.”
According to Hinkebein, early intervention and treatment is one way to reduce healthcare costs. Studies have shown that patients who seek treatment for acute or chronic injuries early on have better outcomes and spend less time in therapy.
Early Intervention Costs Patients and Insurance Companies Less
Due to the rising cost of health care and confusion over heath insurance coverage, more and more patients are taking the “wait and see” approach to healthcare, according to KORT physical therapist Nelson Caudill, PT, DPT, CSCS.
“As healthcare costs in the form of copayments and deductibles rise, more patients are delaying treatment in the hopes things will improve on their own. However, this approach actually costs patients and insurance companies more in the long run,” said Dr. Caudill.
A 2012 study by Fritz and associates of 30,070 patients with the complaint of low back pain found that early treatment saved patients and insurance companies $2,736.23 in total healthcare costs versus patients who delayed treatment by 15 or more days following symptoms.
Another study by Gelhorn and Associates found that patients receiving immediate physical therapy care after an acute bout of low back pain ultimately had less corticosteroid injections, diagnostic imaging, and overall number of physician visits--resulting in less overall cost to the patient.
“In light of the best available research, the timing and type of intervention are critical in regards to outcome and overall cost. Someone experiencing a bout of acute low back pain should seek out intervention within 14 days of experiencing symptoms,” said Dr. Caudill. “This is true of most injuries as well. Seeking care as soon as possible after injury is always the best course.”
At KORT physical therapy, the clinical practice is based upon providing patients with the best evidence-based interventions tailored to each patient so that the best outcome is produced with the least amount of cost, said Dr. Caudill.
Most health insurance plans now allow patients to seek physical therapy treatment directly without a physician referral.
Kentucky Orthopedic Rehab Team (KORT) has been specializing in outpatient physical and occupational therapy in Kentucky and Southern Indiana for over 25 years. Local ownership and independent operations, allow KORT clinicians to work one-on-one with patients to regain strength, increase flexibility, improve mobility, and reduce pain without drugs or surgery. Selected as a “Best Places to Work in Kentucky” for nine consecutive years, and with over 40 locations, KORT has the most board certified Orthopedic Specialists and Vestibular Rehabilitation specialists than any other provider in the region. KORT’s certified athletic trainers provide sports medicine services to more than 30 high schools and colleges in Kentucky & Southern Indiana.