A new study conducted by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) has found that physical therapy can help Americans live better lives while saving the health care system millions of dollars annually. The landmark report, titled “The Economic Value of Physical Therapy in the United States,” examines the cost-effectiveness and economic value of physical therapy compared to non-physical therapy-based care for various prevalent health conditions.
The study demonstrates that, when medically appropriate, the widespread use of physical therapist services would result in both health and economic benefits for patients and the U.S. health care system. This is a significant finding that supports the high-value, lower-cost interventions offered by physical therapy.
APTA President Roger Herr, PT, MPA, stated, “For decades, our profession has delivered cost-effective care that changes lives, and for just as long, we have strived to demonstrate our value to policymakers, payers, other health care providers, and the public. Our new study now allows us to make a compelling case for the impact of physical therapy on not only individuals but society as a whole.”
The “Economic Value of Physical Therapy in the United States” report uses an economic model to calculate the net benefits of physical therapy over alternative treatments for eight specific conditions, including falls prevention, osteoarthritis of the knee, and acute low back pain. The study takes into account various patient demographics, stages of life, and the breadth of physical therapist interventions.
Herr highlighted that the study’s findings not only demonstrate the value provided by physical therapists and physical therapist assistants currently, but also provides a dynamic resource that will empower APTA and its members to engage policymakers, payers, employers, and consumers. It will help reshape the understanding and implementation of policies and programs to best leverage the value of physical therapy.
To develop the methodology for examining the costs and benefits of condition-specific physical therapist services, APTA engaged the Nous Group, an international management consulting firm specializing in health and economics. A comprehensive literature review and consultation with APTA subject matter experts were conducted to identify conditions with the strongest evidence. Eight conditions were ultimately chosen based on their prevalence and associated level of health care spending across the U.S.
APTA plans to use the findings from this report to inform consumers, policymakers, payers, and employers about the significant role physical therapy plays and the economic value it brings to the health care system. This includes a campaign to promote the value of physical therapy and educate stakeholders. The full report and additional information about APTA’s campaign can be found on the ValueofPT.com website.
As the leading professional association representing more than 100,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and physical therapy students nationwide, APTA is dedicated to advancing the profession and advocating for the value and benefits of physical therapy. For more information about APTA, visit apta.org.
In conclusion, this new study by the American Physical Therapy Association highlights the economic value of physical therapy and its potential to improve the lives of Americans while saving millions of dollars in healthcare costs. The findings provide strong evidence for the cost-effective care provided by physical therapists and create a compelling case for the widespread use of physical therapist services. It is an important step towards reshaping healthcare policies and programs to leverage the value of physical therapy and ensure better outcomes for patients.