USE CASE: Understanding Physical Rehabilitation Service Utilization and Cost

The Colorado Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association is a nonprofit, professional organization with nearly 2500 members. Their mission is to provide leadership in:

  • the identification and interpretation of trends and issues; communication; coordinated action;
  • sharing of ideas and professional collegiality; and,
  • the development and improvement of physical therapist education, practice and research.

Project Summary:  The Colorado Chapter of the APTA used CO APCD data to investigate what percentage physical rehabilitation services (Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Chiropractic) make up of total health care expenditures in Colorado. By looking at claims from commercial insurers for outpatient services at provider offices, ambulatory surgery centers, and hospitals, the Colorado Chapter was able to identify service utilization as a portion of health care spending between 2010 and 2012.

Benefit to Colorado:  This project benefited Colorado threefold. First, it allowed the Colorado Chapter of the APTA to gain a better understanding of physical rehabilitation service utilization and cost while providing baseline information for ongoing monitoring and the ability to identify trends. Second, the data gleaned from the investigation was central to legislation proposed by Representative Dianne Primavera designed to help minimize the out of pocket costs of physical therapy and other physical rehabilitation services. Finally, it served to educate consumer and governmental agencies about the health expenditures related to conservative management of physical impairments for Coloradans, relative to physical therapist practice.

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