Physical therapy is one of the most common and effective types of conservative treatment for movement dysfunction and pain. Many of you have likely had to attend physical therapy at some point, or at least know someone who has. If this is the case, then you already know it takes time to rehab injuries, which means clearing your schedule and dishing out money in co-pays. I think we can all agree that time and money are precious commodities and when they’re on the table, we expect to receive nothing but the best care in return. Unfortunately, this is becoming more and more difficult to find in our healthcare system.
It’s no secret that this is a tough time for healthcare. Insurance companies are raising premiums, yet lowering reimbursement rates. You may have noticed that at any given time, your physical therapist is treating multiple patients at once. I can assure you this is not their preference or how our profession was meant to be, but unfortunately it is often necessary to stay in business. We are slowly moving in the wrong direction, causing providers to burn out and patients to not get the quality care they deserve.
So what if I told you that higher quality care is within reach? We can get back to what healthcare is supposed to be, where the patient and provider are both set up for success. It is called concierge healthcare, or cash-based services, and it’s reinventing the patient experience.
Simply put, cash-based physical therapy means that your therapist is an out-of-network provider and does not accept insurance. Instead, the patient pays out of pocket for services. You might be asking yourself, “Why in the world would I pay out of pocket for a service my insurance company would normally cover?” Following are a few good reasons:
Personalized, one-on-one attention. Cash-based physical therapists are able to provide one-on-one treatment sessions and the attention is focused solely on your needs. Sessions are typically around 60 minutes, as opposed to shorter sessions seen in the traditional insurance-based model. Having this one-on-one time is invaluable for both the patient and physical therapist. It means more time to gather a medical history, movement assessment, and carefully select treatments and exercises based on your individual needs.
Saving time and money in the long term. In the traditional insurance-based model you may be prescribed treatment up to 3x per week, but with cash-based PT this is rarely the case. Patients are typically seen less frequently because each session is longer and more focused. Cash-based services aim to provide quality over quantity, which can save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Ability to treat the person as a whole. In cash-based physical therapy insurance companies do not dictate what can and cannot be done. This means your therapist can spend more time evaluating the body as a whole rather than just the “injured” area. This holistic approach helps to uncover the root cause of your limitations and work toward getting you back to 100%. The end result is a healthier, happier patient with less chance of re-injury in the future.
There are no visit limits and your insurance company does not get to decide if you get better or not. Maybe you’ve already been through a course of physical therapy but ran out of visits covered by insurance. Hope is not lost. In cash-based PT your therapist is able to continue your treatment until goals have been fully met and you’re ready to be done.
Empowering you to take control of your wellness. You’ve made the decision to invest in your health, now it’s time to put in the work. When you’re paying your hard earned money for something, you’re much more likely to stick with the plan. You are completely in control of your wellness, but your PT will be there to guide you and give you the tools you need to succeed.
Choosing a cash-based physical therapy practice means you’ll truly receive a high quality of care. Each cash-based practice is a little different and costs may vary, so do your homework when looking for the right therapist. Although this route is not for everyone, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of concierge healthcare so you can weigh your options and select the path that’s right for you. Remember, your healthcare is the most important investment you can make.
About the Author: Jenna Siracuse, DPT is the founder of On Pointe Wellness and Rehab PLLC, a concierge Physical Therapy practice serving Gainesville, VA and surrounding areas. She treats a variety of orthopedic conditions for active individuals, with a specialization in performing arts and dance medicine. She takes a unique approach to therapy with highly personalized sessions, wellness workshops and her health and wellness blog. You can find out more information at www.onpointewellness.com or follow along on Instagram @onpointewellness.