Physician owned physical therapy services and referral for profit can be added to the laundry list of items that physical therapists are standing against. What is a POPTS? The name pretty much sums it up- it is a clinic which offers PT services that is owned by a physician. This means the physician gets a kick back of the profit for patients referred to the physical therapist.
I read about the bill and the legislation behind it, I read the cons that the APTA stated about POPTS, but it was not until I read Joe Black’s post on POPTS that I truly realized what it was, the impacts it had on PTs and patients. It was then that I also realized that in 2009 I was one of those patients getting mediocre care at a POPTS clinic. I took a pretty nasty fall why skiing, tearing my ACL, MCL, and medial and lateral meniscus. I went to the best Orthopedic surgeon that the DC area had to offer. After surgery he referred me to “his” PT clinic saying that I would get the best care there because “his” physical therapists know the ins and outs of the surgery I just had. I did not argue because I did not know any better. After 2 weeks of seeing a PT that asked me every time I saw her what my injury was, I decided to switch. I went to small independently owned clinic and worked with the PT who pushed me beyond my limits, had me running in a few weeks, and came to cheer me on at the finish line of my first 10k. She is the reason why I became a triathlete, quit my job in accounting and am pursuing a career in PT but that is a different story for a different day.
Now looking back on it I also realize that the POPTS clinic charged me $25 each visit where as the independently owned clinic did not charge me anything because she told me my insurance covered it in full. Darn, I wish I would have not been so uninformed back then!
To play devil’s advocate- do you ever think a POPTS clinic model could be a wise investment for both the physician, the physical therapist AND the patient? Let’s talk about it!
For your reading pleasure here are several great reads on the topic:
Term and Title Protection for Physical Therapist and Physical Therapy
AB783 and the California Campaign to Stop POPTS
POPTS in California. The Anti POPTS Movement Goes Web 2.0
POPTS and Referral for Profit
APTA and POPTS-II
Talk to you Wednesday, March 6 at 9pm EST!