Increased Use of Physical Therapy Could Reduce Healthcare Spending

About 36 million falls are reported among older adults each year, resulting in costly medical bills and in some cases, deaths.

As billions of dollars are spent on hospitalizations, emergency room visits, and opioid use to treat Medicare beneficiaries’ falls, a new study from The Moran Company, an HMA Company, points to a solution: increased use of physical therapy services.   

After 18 months of tracking patients after an initial fall, findings demonstrated that Medicare patients who used physical therapy were 50% less likely to visit the emergency room or be hospitalized for a follow-up injury in the months following the initial fall. Medicare beneficiaries who received physical therapy after a fall were also 39% less likely to use opioids in the six months following the fall.

Falls among Medicare patients are costly and can lead to severe injuries that, for this vulnerable population, can result in death. As Americans are living longer, this epidemic is only expected to grow: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 52 million seniors will fall each year by 2030.

Physical therapy can help by improving older Americans’ balance, strength, and independence.

Physical therapy use could offset total healthcare spending by an estimated $10 billion among the 13.5 million Medicare beneficiaries prone to falls who are not currently PT users.

This report confirms what the physical therapy community has long known: Increased use of physical therapy services among Medicare patients is good for seniors’ health and good for Medicare’s future.

You can help raise awareness about this new report by submitting a letter to your local newspaper. Click here to get started!