Sunday, February 17, 2008

Clinic or Gym?

Before going on I want to preface everything by stating that we take great pride in our offices.  They are clean, well appointed, carpeted with the usual arrange of treatment tables, treadmill, stationary bike, total gym, strap on weights and dumbbells all in approximately 1200 square feet.

Having stated that, yesterday I was speaking on the phone to a potential patient who had previously dropped by our clinic but wanted a little more information.  He immediately stated that he was coming because of our reputation in the community as very good clinicians but was unimpressed by the physical facilities.  He then went on to explain that he had been going to "physical therapy" for most of the last 11 years  under a "doctor's prescription (maybe that says a lot).  After having taken a moment since I was a little taken aback as you might imagine, I asked what he meant.  He went on to explain that the facility that he had attended for the last 11 years was very large and had all types of weight and exercise machines. 

I can already imagine the work ahead in educating this patient what the difference is between insurance subsidized gym membership (something I'm sure they wouldn't be too happy about if they understood the difference) for exercising and Physical Therapy.  His false expectations are obviously already ingrained but I've already started his re-education by explaining that in my experience the quality of care is typically inversely proportional to the amount of exercise equipment available.  Physical Therapy is what the Physical Therapist does, not the patient.  Doing circuit training is not Physical Therapy.

I just wonder how much damage the flight to "cash-based practice" and the proliferation of the gymnasium atmosphere will ultimately do to our profession before we realize that this is a road to nowhere.