Monday, July 14, 2008

America's Past-time

I wanted to share with you an experience or two I had this weekend... that is after all what this blog is for.

My mom wanted me to send one of her friends to an "orthopedist" for her back pain. I talked with this woman on the phone. As she described the types of physical therapy she had tried, I asked if she happened to know whether or not they were owned by medical doctors... and lo and behold she had been to a few POPTS. There she had received the opposite of quality care that I believe PT is about. Along with being cramped by the mass of patients/clients, all she received was some electrical stimulation, hot or cold packs, and maybe massage. No one ever really evaluated her or explained what could be going on with her. She discreetly explained to me it felt like they were out to make money and had little to no concern for her condition.

I explained to her that this is an unfortunate aspect of the health care field, especially one that gives physical therapy a poor image in the consumer's eyes. There were three to four clinics I recommended to her in Brooklyn that would be convenient for her to get to and where I know she will get quality care, a thorough evaluation of her condition, with the focus being on her and not her wallet (or purse?). This is a conversation I have had in the past with many patients who had already found the quality care of the clinics I happened to be working (affiliating?) at/with. The APTA and a few states in particular (South Carolina comes to mind) have been trying to battle what is now referred to as "referral for profit" (this phrase was thought to better capture the issue we are dealing with here).

Take a look at some of the documents the APTA has on this and a litany of other issues we are facing in this wonderful profession... It stinks that as a PT - and I think I speak for more than just myself - you genuinely want to help people feel better, function better... and have to deal with so many other professions looking to just make money (not to pigeon-hole entire professions, but I call it like I see it kids) as well as dealing with the tremendous cost of education to help people out. I did not get into this profession to make money, whats more is I did not get into it to battle with Chiro's, Athletic Trainers, Personal Trainers, MD's, physiatrists, and the list goes on... So for now, I will keep doing all I can do to help out as many patients/clients as I possibly can and hope that my and many other PT's efforts on the lobbying front come through so that health care can be more transparent and we can alleviate some of the ridiculousness that goes on in our health care system. At this point I am just ranting and need to pull back so I leave some room to study for my licensure exam...

Speaking of the licensure exam, I did take another break from completely studying this weekend as I volunteered at the MLB All-Star Fan Fest which was held here in NYC! Above and below are two of my fun pictures from the event, if you get a chance to come by this year or in the future, I highly recommend it. There are a few PT related things... i.e. the physical challenges that people have not been warming up for and thus I have heard "my arm is killing me" or "ouch, my hammie". The challenges include batting cages, throwing a baseball for video analysis (which is very cool) and for speed, fielding fly balls, a home run derby, a race from 3rd base to home that they time (my best times which are sad were 4.50 and 5.80 backwards - its 30 yards, so I am not yet ready for the big leagues :(

Until next time... stay healthy!!!

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