Know your rights!

Why it matters who you are referred to

Referral for Profit or Physician Owned Physical Therapy Services (POPTS)

Below are published facts that outline how being seen at a physician-owned physical therapy clinic costs more money, takes longer to get better, and why it is unethical for a physician to refer you to a facility they have a financial interest.

Substantial evidence supports the belief that clinics just like Spine and Sport deliver better quality of care, more cost-effectively, than therapy provided in clinics owned by physicians.

FACT: Therapy services received at physician-owned clinics COSTS MORE MONEY to the patient.

According to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Physical Therapy services were 39% to 45% higher in physician-owned clinics when compared with therapist-owned clinics; revenue per patient was 30% to 40% higher in facilities owned by referring physicians.

Mitchell JM, Scott E. Physician ownership of physical therapy services. JAMA. 1992;268:2055-2059. Swedlow A, Johnson G, Smithline N, Milstein A. Increased costs and rates of use in the California workers' compensation system as a result of self-referral by physicians. NEJM.1992;327:1502-1506.

FACT: It takes LONGER to get better at a physician owned clinic.

Published research by The Florida Health Care Cost Containment Board found that physician-owned physical therapy facilities provide 62% more patient visits per full-time physical therapist, when compared with non-physician-owned clinics. The patients in the Florida Health Care Cost Containment Board had 43% more treatments when compared with non-physician-owned clinics.

Cooperating evidence to this fact is the Mitchell and Scott,1992 JAMA study which also reported an average of about 50 percent more visits per year than their counterparts.

FACT: You are more likely to be REFERRED for Therapy if the physician owns the clinic.

A William Mercer study of workers' compensation patients in California revealed that patients seen by physicians with ownership interest in physical therapy services received referrals for physical therapy 66% of the time; patients seen by physicians without ownership interest in physical therapy services were referred 32% of the time. The result: $233 million in services per year for economic rather than clinical reasons.

FACT: Patients cannot expect the same RESULTS in physician owned practices.

Both licensed therapists and non-licensed workers in those settings spent less time with each patient, indicating that a lower level of care is provided, according to a the Florida Cost Containment Board study, which also found that assistants are substituted for licensed therapists more often in physician-owned facilities.

FACT: The American Medical Association (AMA) states that, while not illegal, it is unethical to refer business to oneself.

American Medical Association: Opinion 8.03 - Conflicts of Interest: Guidelines

“Under no circumstances may physicians place their own financial interests above the welfare of their patients. The primary objective of the medical profession is to render service to humanity; reward or financial gain is a subordinate consideration. For a physician to unnecessarily hospitalize a patient, prescribe a drug, or conduct diagnostic tests for the physician's financial benefit is unethical. If a conflict develops between the physician's financial interest and the physician's responsibilities to the patient, the conflict must be resolved to the patient's benefit.


Spine & Sport is your best source for physical therapy and post orthopedic surgery rehabilitation. We have 6 locations in Georgia and Florida that can meet all of you physical therapy and other wellness needs. Our physical therapists are knowledgeable about the latest methods in physical therapy and can help you overcome physical pain and meet other wellness goals you may have. Our staff can use physical therapy to treat most body pains including neck, back, foot, and leg pains. Through physical therapy we can cure daily headaches as well! Stop living in pain and visit one of our physical therapy specialists today.

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