Study shows adherence to physical therapy program for low back pain can reduce overall Medicare spend

alliance for physical therapy quality and innovation news

The Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality and Innovation (APTQI) today released study findings showing that lower back pain patients who adhere to a standard physical therapy regimen with multiple visits cost less in overall Medicare expenditures than do patients with fewer outpatient therapy sessions.

The independent analysis, conducted by health care research firm The Moran Company (TMC), assessed 38,260 Medicare patients.  All of the patients had a lower back pain diagnosis and an outpatient physical therapy visit in the year following that diagnosis.

Among the findings:

  • Approximately 22 percent of patients had a single therapy visit.
  • The remaining patients averaged 9.1 therapy visits over the course of eight weeks.
  • Patients with multiple visits incurred 14 – 32 percent lower average total Medicare spending in the year following their diagnosis than patients with one therapy visit in the same timeframe.

To read an executive summary of the study, click here.

To read the full study, click here.

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