“Price is what you pay, value is what you get.” Warren Buffett
I’ve written on this topic a bit recently. If you haven’t read part one check it out here. (Link is currently inactive; our apologizes. We're working to fix this.)
I feel the perception of cash based physical therapy is a bit skewed. The overwhelming sentiment from people I meet is that cash based PT is only for the super rich. That actually couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, I see more teachers and students then CEOs, lawyers and doctors. Why is it that students and teachers think going the cash based route is better? They base their decision off value, not price.
Let’s do another cost/value comparison like we did in part 1.
I recently had a client come to Atlanta clinic that had a subacute neck injury. She aggravated it doing power cleans and had already seen two different physical therapists. The injury occurred 7 weeks ago and she had been to a total of 6 PT visits. Her copay is $70 per visit. This is on the high side of copays for physical therapy as most are between $20-70 per visit. She’s already paid $420 for physical therapy and states about 20% decrease in symptoms when I saw her.
So far I have only seen her once and we will only need a second visit to look at her power clean technique(because this is how she hurt herself to begin with). On evaluation she demonstrated what’s called a facet joint sprain. Basically she sprained a joint in her neck and it can be very painful/restricting. We used a variation of what’s called a mobilization with movement. In 10 minutes we were able to get full range of motion back with 75% reduction in pain. The rest of the visit we worked on improving the movement of the joints in the neck and then went over her homework which was a variation of this video post.
Let’s do the actual math. She paid $420 for 6 PT visits and got a 20% reduction in symptoms over a course of 6 weeks. We will see her 2 visits for a total of $350. She got a 75% reduction in symptoms and full range of motion back. Not only that she has the knowledge to maintain and continue to improve her neck.
Is cash based physical therapy really more expensive? In this case no. Also, I don’t want to give off the impression that all physical therapy clinics that take insurance suck. That’s not the case at all. Here’s my main point. If a physical therapist with the same skill set, knowledge and training get’s 2-3 times more hands on time with a patient they will get better faster. That’s the beauty of the cash based model. It’s just one on one with a physical therapist. If you want to get better as fast a possible, cash based is the way to go.
-Dr. Danny, PT, DPT
Dr. Danny and staff's views on performance improvement, injury prevention and sometimes other random thoughts.