Physical therapists and physical therapist assistants are essential to the U.S. health care system. APTA's "The Economic Value of Physical Therapy in the United States" report underscores the importance of including physical therapists and physical therapist assistants as part of multidisciplinary teams focused on improving patient outcomes and decreasing downstream costs.
Policymakers and commercial payers should consider the insights provided in this report to support access to, coverage of, and payment for physical therapist services. Policies that position physical therapists as entry-point providers will ensure beneficiaries have timely access to patient-centered care that produces lasting outcomes and improves lives at a reasonable overall cost to the health care system.
"The Economic Value of Physical Therapy in the United States" uses conservative models to calculate the true value of an intervention that goes beyond simply comparing short-term costs. The report incorporates an assessment of an intervention's effect on patient quality of life — a key factor that can impact a range of economic and societal costs — in terms of dollar amounts. This is where the true value of physical therapist services can be demonstrated.