The addition of onsite physical therapy can have dramatic effects on employee health, management of employee injuries, employee engagement, and, wait for it, reductions in healthcare costs! It is important that you find an onsite therapy partner that meets your company’s needs. With that in mind, here are 10 questions you should be asking your onsite therapy provider before partnering up.
1. Why Do I Need Physical Therapy On-Site?
Any quality onsite therapy partner should be able to share with you the benefits of bringing a physical therapist and their skills under your roof. With on-site physical therapy, a physical therapist can provide triage, immediate first aid, and high-level recommendations for mitigations without your employees ever leaving the facility. Immediate access to these experts can provide a wealth of knowledge at your disposal. Remember, time is money.
2. Why Physical Therapy?
The vast majority of workplace injuries either are, or start with, musculoskeletal dysfunction (MSD). Simply put, sprains and strains, aches and pains, are the most common ailments. These are squarely in the wheelhouse of a physical therapist. No other medical provider can implement strategies to treat MSDs with better expertise and offer them at lower costs than the physical therapist. Choosing the expert for these types of issues is key to efficiency and cost savings. Physical Therapists are the experts for MSD!
3. Is On-Site Therapy Dependent Upon Insurance?
This answer should be No. Physical Therapists are licensed medical providers and can bill for their services through commercial insurance. However, they don’t have to. Physical therapy can be provided without insurance through cash pay agreements. In fact, without insurance regulations, physical therapy can be utilized more effectively and typically far less costly. Your therapy partner should provide you with options other than billing the traditional insurance pathway.
4. Do I Need a Physician to Oversee My On-Site Therapy Provider?
This answer is a little complicated. Although every state has a form of direct access to physical therapy services, the specific services and allowances are governed by each state’s practice act. Currently, all 50 states allow a physical therapist to evaluate and perform treatment that is within a physical therapist’s scope of practice with Alabama, Mississippi, and Missouri limiting this treatment to a previous diagnosis. In reality, other than these three states, a physical therapist is the correct initial choice for musculoskeletal dysfunction and can initiate and carry out treatment without physician oversight as long as they refer to physician care when needed. The ability to flip the script and utilize more cost-effective medical services is the right choice.
5. Do You Replace My Safety Personnel?
Safety and physical therapy are very different but are not mutually exclusive. A quality onsite therapy provider will work in tandem with your safety personnel and can be an advocate for employee safety while offering physical therapy treatments. Many companies find their safety personnel making injury triage decisions without significant medical expertise. That is a difficult spot to place your safety team in. Allowing a physical therapist to triage injuries immediately can provide a wealth of security, proper direction of treatment, and prevention of wasted resources on overpriced, and oftentimes, unwarranted urgent care. The onsite therapist should enhance the ability of your safety team.
6. Do You Help With Non-Work Related Injury?
Effective use of physical therapy should not be limited to onsite work-related injuries. While having a therapist onsite does provide immediate access to medical care for onsite injuries, many of these injuries are the result of unmanaged non-work related musculoskeletal dysfunction (MSD). Diagnosis and early intervention for non-work related aches and pains can lead to significant reductions in on the job injuries. Stopping that tight achy back while lifting the kids from turning into a full-blown disc rupture while lifting at work can save your company tens of thousands of dollars. Don’t limit yourself, or your onsite therapy provider, from addressing the real causes of onsite injuries.
7. Do You Provide Post-Offer Physical Abilities Testing?
A quality, well-rounded, onsite therapy partner should provide more than therapy treatments. Post Offer Employment Tests (POET) is an effective tool in injury mitigation. These types of tests, along with Fit for Duty, Functional Capacity Evaluations, and others, can and should, be used to avoid improper job placement and reduce the incidence of initial injury and reinjury from returning too soon to work following a medical leave. Your onsite therapy partner should provide a diverse menu of options to serve your needs.
8. What Type of Feedback Will You Provide?
I feel it is imperative that you have an onsite therapy partner that works with you and your company’s goals. A quality onsite therapy partner should be able to adapt reporting to your industry and to your specific needs. At the very least they should provide routine feedback on employee utilization, area or department utilization, types of injuries, interventions, and effects. Make sure that you choose a partner that can give you the flexibility in feedback that you need to reach your goals.
9. How Can You Help With Employee Engagement?
Here is one of the hidden gems of onsite therapy. When you have an onsite therapy partner that supports your company's vision, mission and is an advocate for your benefits package, you have an ally. Effective use of an onsite therapy partner can enhance your health benefits by preventing and escalation of injury. An onsite therapist is able to demonstrate your concern for your employee's overall health and welfare. When your employees see your investment in them they will be more engaged and this leads to reduced turnover and injury rates.
10. How Do You Determine My Cost for Your Services?
Every company is unique, with different sizes, shapes, and needs. Therefore, your onsite therapy partner should be flexible in their pricing structure. A cookie-cutter approach shows limited flexibility and should be a warning sign. A trusted onsite therapy partner will work with you in determining the most cost-effective method to add physical therapy experts under your roof. Whether it is based upon time, a number of employees, multiple locations, or the like, finding the right partner who is willing to work with you is the key to a long-term relationship.
In summary, finding the right onsite therapy partner involves some research. Interview prospective partners and determine their ability to meet the needs of your unique business. You won’t know if you don’t ask. If you would like to see how onsite physical therapy can improve your company get a worksite assessment today and see if we are a fit for you.