Fiona McMahon PT, DPT
October is National Physical Therapy Month. During Physical Therapy Month we take time to inform the public about the benefits of physical therapy as well as focus on a particular issue affecting the lives of our patients. This month the APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) has decided to address the current opioid crisis. At Beyond Basics Physical Therapy, we addressed the treatment of chronic pain and the effect opioids can have in the blog titled “Navigating Life with Chronic Pain: Part 1 “. I highly recommend looking back at this blog to learn more about the pain science behind chronic pain and what you can do to treat it. Keep you eyes open for our upcoming blog, “Navigating Chronic Pain”: Part 2, for more on specific treatments.
For October’s Physical Therapy Month, the APTA has decided to address specific policy changes that need your support to help fight the opioid epidemic. The time for addressing the opioid epidemic is now (honestly, it should have been years ago). According to the APTA, 1 in 3 opioid users report they are physically addicted to opioids, and 4 in 5 new heroin users begin their addiction by misusing opioids. Even more staggering, heroin deaths now outnumber deaths due to gun homicides. This issue is an issue we, at all levels of healthcare must fight.
The APTA is advocating for these 6 policy changes to help fight the opioid crisis
1.Repeal the Medicare Therapy Cap: To allow patients on medicare to receive the care they need from their physical therapist
2. Remove Federal and State Restrictions that Impede Access to a Physical Therapist: Allow patients to see physical therapists without an MD’s referral
3. Ensure Comprehensive Insurance Coverage for Physical Therapy
4. Provide Fair Physical Therapy Copays Under Insurance: Reduce high copays and deductibles for physical therapy to lessen the incentive to turn to cheaper opioids over physical therapy as a pain treatment.
5. Allow Physical Therapists to Perform to the Full Extent of Their Education and Training: Physical therapists hold doctoral degrees and should be allowed to practice their full scope of services.
6. Protect Patient Choice of Physical Therapy Treatment: Patients should be able to select the therapist of their choice, not the one the MD selects.
If you have chronic pain, please choose physical therapy first. It is a much safer and more effective option than opioids. The physical therapists at Beyond Basics Physical Therapy are well trained and experienced in treatment of chronic pain conditions. Call today.