Can I Get Better With Fewer Physical Therapy Visits?
Posted on June 12, 2021
This is a question we get all the time, and, we understand where it is coming from. With the rising costs of co-pays and co-insurances, we realize that people are having to spend more money out of pocket at each visit to attend their physical therapy sessions. It's a balancing act between cost and the right dosage of visits to get better. We understand this, and research what is best and what are the industry standards. Here is what we have found.
There are a few good studies out that show the benefits in cost savings and reaching your goals (successful physical therapy discharge).
A study released by the Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality and Innovation (APTQI) suggests that lower back pain patients who adhere to a standard physical therapy regimen with multiple visits cost less in overall Medicare expenditures than do patients with fewer outpatient therapy sessions.
According to the findings, nine to 12 physical therapy visits resulted in an up to 32% Medicare cost reduction. This study is an indicator that sticking with a physical therapy program can help patients ease the pain in their backs as well as their wallets.
Another study that was published in Orthopaedic Practice (volume 29, number 4, pages 201-202) looked at the frequency of visits (how many times a week) and the relationship to successful discharge and reaching goals. They found that maintaining a frequency of 2 visits or more per week led to successfully discharge for physical therapy 93% of the time! With on 1 visit per week the successful discharge rate was only 49%.
The results of this study show a positive correlation between the number of visits per week and reaching a successful completion of physical therapy. The authors concluded that the most significant factor affecting success was frequency of attending treatments.
These two studies demonstrate why here at Rock Run Physical Therapy we try to schedule our patients at minimum 2 times per week and a typical treatment plan is 5-6 weeks (10-12 visits).
Much like a medication prescription, you wouldn't take half or a quarter of the prescribed dose, just to save money, and expect the same outcome as taking the full prescribed dosage. When your physical therapist at Rock Run Physical Therapy is giving his recommendations for frequency and duration of treatment it is backed by research and clinical experience. In order to get the most success and cost savings from physical therapy, we recommend that you adhere to the treatment plan.
As always, if you have questions or concerns please bring them up to your therapist so we can address them and get you back to life!