Saturday, March 21, 2015

Don't Worry, Therapists...

Peter G. Levine
Stronger After Stroke
Saturday, March 14, 2015

I was doing a series of talks - on stroke recovery, natch - in Georgia last week. Someone brought up a concern about my talk that I also heard last time I did a series of talks. Here's a paraphrasing of that concern:

"You're saying that a lot of what we do in the clinic is shown to be ineffective in research. Payers (insurance/Medicare/Medicaid) are going to hear about this and then... I'm afraid we're going to get paid less and have fewer treatment options."

And I laughed. On the inside because out loud would have been rude. But: How silly! To think that insurance companies are listening to researchers about what is and is not effective! Insurance cares about shareholders and Medi"care" cares about keeping costs as low as possible. One thing they care little about: the science.

Therapists, fret not. Things that research indicates are ineffective are still paid for. Consider splinting. These are the rigid pieces of plastic that keep a joint in a certain position.  They are believed to reduce muscle shortening in patients that poster in a flexed potion.

So people like this:
Get one of these...

Governmental clinical guidelines suggest splints don't work, and may make things worse. Its usually stated like this....

For stroke survivors at risk of or who have developed contractures and are undergoing comprehensive rehabilitation, the routine use of splints or prolonged positioning of muscles in a lengthened position is NOT recommended.

Is splinting paid for. Let's put it this way.

So relax therapists. Don't worry, they're not listening to researchers!

And not only will they pay for stuff that does not seem to work, they won't pay for stuff that does work yay!

Take constraint induced therapy (CIT). We've known for a while that is particularly effective for some stroke survivors. In fact, CIT shows up on every set of clinical guidelines in the English speaking world. Here for example, are the clinical guidelines for OT in Australia. Open it, and search (Ctrl+F) for the word "constraint."

Is CIT paid for? No. There is not even a "code" for it (a code is the numbers used to bill for a particular treatment).

See the original article:

No comments:

Post a Comment