Why is it important that I choose an
independent physical therapy (PT) clinic?

There are 3 types of physical therapy clinics: Independent, hospital owned, and physician owned.  Independent and hospital owned are recognized as ethical and legal business models in all the United States. However, due to a concern over patient care, physician owned physical therapy services (POPTS) have been condemned by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), were declared illegal in South Carolina, Delaware, and Missouri.  The APTA makes a strong statement against POPTS by calling them “referral for profit clinics”. The problems with this arrangement arise because of a lack of checks and balances.

POPTS are commonly located in the same building or have a similar name to the physician group controlling them. When the physicians who own the PT clinic refer patients to their in-house physical therapy clinic they profit from the referral. They also profit when physical therapy makes a referral back to a physician, as it is predominantly made to the owners of the PT clinic. This is concerning to government regulators. In a perfect world where everyone holds the health of the patient above any monetary gain this would not be a problem. However, the close financial association has proven too tempting in too many instances, leaving the patient victimized. Due to human nature, this is likely to occur even if the physician is an otherwise ethical and honest practitioner who has always tried to hold patient well-being in highest regards.

And even though when you choose an independent physical therapy clinic you are not guaranteed to receive the highest quality care available, it is much more likely. Having no direct pipeline feeding patients to the independent clinic, they must survive by word of mouth recommendation resulting from doing an excellent job on each patient. If the referring physician hears good reports on a clinic he will naturally keep sending patients to them. However, if outcomes are not what they should be, a physician will hopefully refer to a different clinic. The very life blood of the independent clinic is to give you the patient excellent care. For these reasons it is important for you to choose an independent physical therapy clinic like Oak Harbor Physical Therapy.

Hospital based physical therapy clinics are differentiated from independent and POPTS business models. These are clinics that are integral to the services of the hospital. They provide not only essential care for patients staying at the hospital but also serve in many capacities to support the community’s needs for out-patient services. These clinics are managed much like the x-ray department, laboratory departments and hospital based pharmacies. Their revenue flows back into the workings of the hospital and is helpful to its financial success.