What Every Physical Therapist Needs to Know About the ACA

positives list

A common goal among healthcare professionals is in sync with what the patient population wants, too: improved access to medical services and affordable coverage for every American. Now that healthcare reform, “Obamacare” is underway, physical therapists are doing what they can to expedite the more positive measures that Mr. Obama’s plan brings to allied healthcare, like expanded Medicare benefits and the ability to treat and evaluate without a referral from an MD.

The Positives of Obamacare

Progress is being made by state legislators, broadening physical therapy options for Americans from coast to coast. To date, these are healthcare reform goals that many allied healthcare professionals fully support and try to increase public awareness of:

  • More open access to physical therapy providers: 48 states in the U.S. no longer require patients to seek a referral from a medical doctor before coming to a physical therapist for an evaluation. 44 U.S. States, including Washington D.C. allow PTs to evaluate AND treat patients without referrals.
  • Strong Support of Legislation for Medicare Access to Rehabilitation Services: these laws will make physical therapy a mandated benefit under Medicare, NOT just an option. This legislation will also repeal limits on outpatient therapy, by lifting restrictive caps on treatment costs and long 2-year waiting periods. Therapists strive as well, for reform of the Medicare physical fee schedule.
  • Stronger support of “comparative effectiveness research”: this can prove a physical therapist’s intervention is, in some cases, just as effective as surgery, with less risk posed to the patient and a shorter recovery period.
  • Make physical therapy available to poor patient populations: This can be achieved, in part, by including PTs in programs that expand access in Indian reservations.
  • Increase access to federal scholarships and loan initiatives for physical therapists, many of whom have trained in accordance with the APTA’s Vision 2020 goal.

American Traveler Allied: Where Supply Meets Demand

Now that so many new Americans qualify for medical benefits and have entered the healthcare marketplace, supply must meet the demand. The Baby Boomers have reached retirement age, and the nation has seen cases of chronic disease, 75% of total healthcare costs, rise along with the aging population. Only a highly trained medical professional is prepared to meet these kinds of challenges.

Cue the well-educated PT! Physical therapy offers an alternative to the surgery and prescription drugs many patients may need; a PT’s rigorous training, accompanied by experience in an advanced clinical setting, prepares therapists to meet specific patient needs. An excellent place to build an allied health professional’s resume is at an experienced healthcare staffing agency that encourages “Travelers” to work in diverse settings that exercise every muscle, so to speak, in their repertoire of advanced clinical skills. PTs, PTAs, occupational therapists, and speech language pathologists grow their skill sets in therapy jobs that contract with the nation’s top, award winning healthcare employers.

Experienced Staffing Agencies are Ideal for More Than Just Physical Therapists

American Traveler Allied supports Graduate Medical Education (GME), which includes availability of clinical fellowship programs. We are proud to offer speech language pathologists CFY opportunities for recent graduates that are going places! Leaders in allied healthcare are looking to improve patient outcomes. Some think healthcare reform puts us on the right track. Leave us a comment and tell us what YOU think!

**Facts and statistics cited in this blog were taken from the American Physical Therapy Association’s article: The Role of the Physical Therapist in National Healthcare Reform