Friday, September 26, 2008

POPTS Clinic Interview

My mother set up an interview for me through one of her tax clients (she's an accountant). So I trekked over to Richmond Hills, Queens - about 1:45 each way for me via public transportation (maybe one day I will get a car... just trying to save the environment ;).

I knew very little about the "practice" until I got there. The location was not in the best part of Queens (and as much as I dislike Queens there are some real nice areas). Outside the office it said "Medical Office" with rehab as one of the listed services. As I sat and waited for the office manager to arrive I simply could not envision myself employed in this very sterile and cold environment.

When I sat down with the office manager he quickly broke into what the position entails: 5 days a week, 10 hours a day, 60-80 patients a day, all no fault insurance, I would have two aides to help me out. He showed me a chart and explained how each patient got basically the same treatment: ice or heat, electrical stimulation, "some massage" and he described how easy the documentation was. He told me he was ready to fire his current two PT's he had on staff to have me as the sole PT. The two PT's he was willing to let go had over 10 years experience each according to him. Please keep in mind that I just graduated, I only have a permit and not yet a license, the man did not even "interview" me, my presence and shirt and tie (I can look quite sharp) was enough for him to hire me on the spot. My first major question to him was "who owns this practice?" Lo and behold, it was a physician who "makes an appearance about once a week, if that."

Clearly I was a cheaper source of labor. The best part of all of this was the office manager, who was not a PT, and his complete lack of awareness of the regulations behind PT permits and licensure, along with clear issues with other aspects of the law. The particular regulation he was not informed of is the following:

Supervision of a permittee by a licensed physical therapist shall be on-site supervision and not necessarily direct personal supervision except that such supervision need not be on-site when the supervising physical therapist has determined, through evaluation, the setting of goals and the establishment of a treatment plan, that the program is one of maintenance as defined pursuant to title XVIII of the federal social security act.

Needless to say I took the job on the spot... JUST KIDDING!!! This was a clear abuse of "quality Physical Therapy" and part of the reason our health care system is all screwy... people cannot get better with this "mill" of rehab. My next step regarding this "business" is to figure out the most appropriate way to report this clear referral-for-profit situation to the state board.

I actually was at a Brooklyn/Staten Island district meeting of the NYPTA last night and the speaker was from the state board of Physical Therapists. She described the difficulty with anectodal evidence in reporting these situations is that often times it is not enough for the state board to begin an investigation, to which my response was... what other kind of evidence can we really provide - patient accounts, the stories of people who were foolish enough (or greedy/unethical [let's call it what it is] enough) to work at these establishments...? It's just a sad situation that needs a solution, but I need to deal with this after I pass my boards... stupid boards...

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