The issue of professional autonomy for Physical Therapists will be a headliner for 2008 political action groups.  The American Medical Association (AMA), American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), and Chiropractors have declared war on this profession.

Why?  Physical Therapists are viewed as a threat to the monopoly that physicians have run in our health care system for quite some time in regards to the management of musculoskeletal conditions.  With direct access laws in place in nearly every state, the reality that patients will have more control over who they see and the services they receive has many organizations fearing financial discomfort.

These attacks paint a pretty picture under the guise of ensuring continuity and high quality rehabilitation; however, the true motivation is to limit the Physical Therapists’ roll by keeping them as employees and to assure personal financial gain.

The January 2008 issue of the medical journal, Orthopedic Clinics of North America, is soley dedicated to limiting the professional rights and autonomy of Physical Therapists by ensuring physicians can own and operate their own imaging mills, occupational rehab centers, and of course, Physical Therapy clinics.  You’ll even notice an article written by a Physical Therapist promoting these physician-owned clinics (POPTS).  

Let it be known — Despite the grandeur statements about quality and continuity, the personal financial benefits are the root motive for these efforts.  POPTS increase utilization of services, show increased visit numbers, and raise health care costs.  I am more than willing to provide sound medical evidence in support of these statements.  Likewise, these facilities limit YOUR (the patient) right to choose!  

Contact your legislative representatives and let them know that you are against physician-owned ancillary services and  you are are FOR direct access and autonomy rights as a patient (including the right to see the Physical Therapist of your choice).

For more information, see the consumer informationon APTA’s website or contact me at: