Adding physical therapy to your practice

By Michael Q. Freehill, MD, and William Evans, MBA

Physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) are crucial to successful outcomes for patients with musculoskeletal problems, and many excellent reasons exist to develop in-house PT/OT. However, the success of physician-owned physical therapy services (POPTS) is not a foregone conclusion. There is an array of operational, financial and political pitfalls.

Operational considerations
The impact on existing facilities and staffing is one of the first issues to evaluate when considering adding PT and/or OT lines of service. If sufficient unused (or at least nonrevenue-generating) space currently exists, developing a new PT/OT clinic may be fairly simple. However, if additional space or significant renovation is needed, costs can quickly escalate. Federal regulations, such as Stark, generally encourage PT/OT to be housed in the same building as where the physician owners hold clinic, so space limitations can present significant obstacles unless new space is pursued.

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