Letter to the Editor: Physical Therapy

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Dear Editor,

In reference to “Let's Get Physical ... Therapy, Get Fit with Andrew” (September 26), we would like to second this recognition of a new avenue for physical therapists.

As experts in musculoskeletal assessment and treatment, physical therapists have long been a provider of choice for rehabilitation after injury or surgery, and for patients with neurological or genetic impairments to achieve full functional potential.

However, prior insurance regulations did not provide coverage for improvements beyond “adequate” for daily life, making it difficult for physical therapists to provide preventative and maintenance care for the healthy, functionally mobile population.

New regulations in Medicare allowing for reimbursement of maintenance care, a focus on preventative health to reduce later complications, and the classification of obesity as a disease by the American Medical Association, all point to a shift in health care culture.

Physical therapists licensed in exercise prescription and modification for all populations are exploring how to best use our talents in this exciting new realm, where fitness is understood as a marker of underlying health and quality of life.

This may take the form of individual sessions in a variety of settings, tailored group classes or community-level fitness classes, as Ms. Felsen notes.