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The Rise of ‘Prehabilitation’ in Physical Therapy

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The Rise of 'Prehabilitation' in Physical Therapy BY JOSEPHBRENCE ON SEPTEMBER 18, 2014

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By: FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Center Staff

Traditionally, people have often visited physical therapists to treat pain they experience as a result of injuries. Many are unaware, however, that physical therapists offer broad medical expertise and can provide a wide range of services, including preventative care. Serving as a leader in "prehabilitation" services, FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers promotes a comprehensive approach to care that aims to improve patients' overall wellness by addressing current issues, identifying potential health problems and guiding patients on prevention. With 38 locations in 12 states, FYZICAL serves as a medical, science-based business offering prescribed physical therapy, state-of-the-art balance centers and medically based fitness programs.

In an effort to shift the physical therapy industry away from its tradition of providing primarily reactive care, FYZICAL offers a variety of prevention-focused "prehabilitation" services, including thorough evaluations to identify specific health issues that patients are likely to develop over time. This includes the company's innovative BodyQ service, a testing program that identifies deficiencies throughout the body. Serving to identify potential sources of future injury, this integrated testing program assesses an individual's movement, balance, function, general health and recovery. This examination serves as a key tool in identifying an individual's total body strength, balance, movement and posture so providers can identify health issues that might worsen as a result of factors such as age or incorrect exercise form. Balance disorders that can progress with age and potentially lead to dangerous falls serve as key examples of issues that might initially go unnoticed by patients.

In addition to identifying potential balance issues, the BodyQ exam offers valuable information that physical therapists can apply toward helping patients safely reach their wellness goals, such as losing weight, engaging in athletic competitions or recovering from injuries. FYZICAL providers utilize the results of the BodyQ test and additional evaluations to design medically based exercise plans for patients.

This focus on "prehabilitation" allows physical therapists to acquire new sources of business. Preventative services empower patients to take charge of their health, and a number of people are willing to pay directly for these types of services, many of which are not covered by insurance providers. Prevention is a priority for FYZICAL, as the company recognizes that the existing physical therapy business model is simply not sustainable amid declining payments. In a Medicare reimbursement example for four common procedure codes in one visit, Liz Kuba, D.P.T. stated, "Your reimbursement declined more than 20 percent in 2013 compared to just three years ago for the exact same treatment provided. What kind of business model can support, much less sustain, that?" FYZICAL helps independent physical therapists across the nation develop new ways of doing business in a rapidly changing environment....(Read rest of article)