This is a question that I hear a lot from my own patients on a weekly accorance. My answer is always yes! It is just a matter if both the chiropractor and the physical therapist can find common ground. Both physical therapy and chiropractic providers have the same goal in mind, offering care to their patients. The issue arises when a chiropractor or a physical therapist are bull-headed and refuse to utilize “co-care” or treat the same patient together at the same time. You would think this would be a no brainer, but some providers don’t see it this way.
I am a huge believer in “co-care” which utilizes chiropractic care (chiropractic adjustments) as the primary therapy for my treatment protocol and offering the manual therapies from the physical therapist to help speed up the rate of healing. The key is “co-care”. You have to find the right chiropractor and physical therapist with the right mind set. Both have to agree that both professions offer benefits to the patient, not one or the other. When physical therapy and chiropractic care work hand in hand the patient responds much quicker and heals faster.
In my own practice I am struggling to find a physical therapist that is interested in working together outside of my practice. So far I have referred out numerous patients to physical therapy and I have not been referred any back. Though this can be frustrating, do not give up! As a chiropractor and businessman I am bound and determined to make this work! I am currently looking into bring a physical therapist into my own practice within my own walls to offer the care my patients need.
Now, many chiropractors will argue with me that a chiropractor can do manual therapies so why would I refer out. The answer is simple! I am too busy as a chiropractor adjusting extremities and the spinal column patients in 10 minute appointments to mess with longer treatment plans consisting of manual therapy and physiotherapies. I want someone else to do it for me, I want to scale my practice and grow. I could also hire another chiropractor, but the problem we face as chiropractors is billing for physiotherapy and getting reimbursed from insurance companies.
Many insurance companies allow chiropractic facilitated manual therapies as a billable charge, but CMS Medicaid/Medicare do not. CMS Medicaid/Medicare does allow physical therapy from a physical therapist though. This is why having a PT as a part of your team is of paramount importance. I dislike playing the insurance game just as much as the next guy, but it is not going anywhere. I could make my practice all cash and not mess with insurance at all, and some chiropractors do this. However, when you go all cash you lose a lot of patients. You have to think from the patient’s view point. They have insurance, and they want to use it. Do not say no to any patient! Learn the rules and play the insurance game!
I hope you enjoyed this article and keep an eye out for my blog where I dive in deeper into the insurance billing and coding world!