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You Better Recover in 12 to 20 Physical Therapy Visits: New Limitations for PT Treatments

New guidelines issued by the New York State Workers’ Compensation Board limit the number of Physical Therapy treatments you can receive for your back injuries, neck injuries, knee injuries or shoulder injuries. These guidelines went into effect December 1st. The chairman of the Workers’ Compensation Board, Robert Beloten said the guidelines are meant to improve the standard of care, and the quality of medical care provided to injured workers – while “reducing system costs”.

Really? Limiting physical therapy treatments to 12 to 20 visits seems as though it will reduce the costs for Workers’ Compensation but what does that do to improve the quality of medical care if you’re someone who needs further physical therapy treatments to recover from your work related injury?

The Physical Therapy Alliance of Upstate New York indicates that limitations on PT visits may not be adequate to resolve many back, neck, shoulder or knee injuries, and that the limitations will only mean longer administrative time on behalf of the physical therapists who need to seek approval to provide additional PT treatments to injured people who need additional visits. Patrick Privatera, president of the Physical Therapy Alliance, says that these physical therapy limitations will not improve the quality of care for workers, and will probably have the exact opposite effect. There are just too many injuries, particularly post-surgical cases, where 12 to 20 visits is not adequate, and says: “There will be more administrative burden placed on physicians during an exceptions process that could take weeks to resolve, delaying treatment and keeping an injured worker out of work longer than necessary.”

Doesn’t seem like limiting physical therapy treatments will improve medical care to me.