Seeking treatment for chronic musculoskeletal (MSK) pain is something a growing number of Americans aren’t willing to pursue and pay for independently, according to a recent survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of ATI Physical Therapy (ATI).

Results of the survey reveal that 42% of Americans would feel uncomfortable paying out of pocket for medical procedures or services to alleviate chronic MSK pain, despite high pain levels. 

“The combination of precarious economic conditions and data indicating COVID-19 is still on the rise nationwide have created an uncertain marketplace for Americans to make healthcare decisions. This highlights the overall lack of awareness for affordable options for diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain issues. What patients with chronic pain may not know is that over 70% of MSK conditions can be diagnosed and effectively treated by physical therapists without other medical care – even virtually during these uncertain times.” 

— Dr Charles Thigpen, PhD, PT, ATC, Sr Director of Practice Innovation & Analytics for ATI

Employers are also exploring alternative options for healthcare benefits due to rising costs and the volatility introduced by COVID-19. Many companies are now offering physical therapy as a covered treatment option in their insurance plans, a media release from ATI Physical Therapy continues.

ATI First Aims to Decrease Healthcare Costs

In 2018, ATI Physical Therapy partnered with a large union in the Midwest through ATI First to deliver improved access to the right care at the right time through early physical therapy, resulting in a $9.4 million reduction in associated MSK spend, an 8% decrease in MRI spend and a 68% decrease in surgical/injection spend. There were also no surgeries for employees that began care with ATI First. 

ATIFirst aims to partner directly with employers to decrease the overall cost of health care. Through creative and innovative direct contracting options, either in conjunction with, or outside of, the employers’ health plan, all employees and their dependents can access PT, either onsite or at a community clinic, as a first option for MSK conditions. ATIFirst also offers on-site personnel for the purpose of preventative early intervention, the release continues.

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of  ATI Physical Therapy from June 4-8, 2020 among 2,046 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.

[Source(s): ATI Physical Therapy, GlobeNewswire]

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