Healthcare Reform

Understanding How Healthcare Reform Affects Physical Therapists

If you’ve worked in healthcare for 5 or 10 years, you can’t help but notice that your job keeps changing. Pushed along by Healthcare Reform Laws, healthcare providers are slowly but surely transitioning from “Fee for Service” to “Outcome based” reimbursement models. Physical, Occupational Therapists, and Speech Language Pathologists and the health care services they provide are no exception. And since reimbursement steers the ship; patients, providers, and insurers are all scrambling to align their expectations and services with new understandings of what constitutes “good healthcare.” Now throw technology and the necessity of measuring and documenting health care outcomes into the mix, and a visit to any healthcare professional has evolved into a new model of service.

One unintended consequence of these changes is depersonalization of health care. Healthcare practitioners who went into the profession to “help people” often feel stymied by a system that treats patients like a number and practitioners like machines. Many Physical and Occupational Therapists and Speech Language Pathologist find themselves trapped in a job where they feel like “this isn’t what I signed up for.’ In this time of turmoil, hope for turning patients and providers back into people can be found; it begins with understanding the practitioner-patient relationship and the historical movements that led us to our current relationship.

Thankfully, deep thinking healthcare practitioners, like Abraham Nussbaum, have gone ahead and done some of the heavy lifting for us.  Abraham Nussbaum invites all healthcare providers, including PT, OT, and SLP practitioners, to take a close look at the history of medicine and challenges us to reevaluate our current understandings of healthcare reform. His memoir, The Finest Traditions of my Calling, was released in April 2106 and has received high praise from both The New York Times and the LA Review of Books. It’s a memoir, so it manages to be both entertaining and deep at the same time.

In addition to reading Nussbaum’s book, you can also listen in to a presentation that he gave on January 10, 2017 at the Calvin College January Series.  If you’re struggling to make sense of the United State’s current healthcare crisis, and wondering where Healthcare Reform will take us next, these resources are worth your time.

Have you already read the book? What did you think?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below. Thanks!

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