SACRAMENTO: Local Physical Therapy Clinics Survive
After several rocky years in the managed care environment, "small outpatient physical therapy clinics in Sacramento" are thriving, the Sacramento Business Journal reports. The "key" to their survival "is their ability to provide more personal attention than the corporate-owned clinics," say the clinics' operators. As a result of the managed care backlash, more patients are seeking personal attention. "That just doesn't happen when you start crunching numbers and trying to get mass profit out of a clinic setting," said Dreizler Physical Therapy clinic owner Stacey Dreizler.
The area's physical therapy clinics became ripe for buyouts in 1993 when corporations, "driven by President Clinton's healthcare goals and the increasing role of managed care, ... began buying physical therapy clinics." In order to "survive in the new era," many small clinic owners "felt they had to sell." Since that time, "at least 17 local clinics have been purchased by companies like NovaCare Inc. of King of Prussia, PA, and HealthSouth Corp. of Birmingham, AL," the Sacramento Business Journal reports. And while the clinics that did not sell out saw some rough years, the trend seems to be changing. According to Robin Wham, the owner of Capitol Physical Therapy, the change to managed care "was too extreme." She said, "'What we're seeing now is a correction for the correction.' Five years ago, when the buying frenzy began, 'we were all in a panic. It's the biggest change I've seen in my practice in 22 years.'"
Speak Up For The Big Boys
However, larger companies such as Novacare and HealthSouth "say that they bring to the task at hand resources which independent therapists may not have access to -- things like the latest equipment, training and research data." Further, they say that "[e]conomically, they have the ability to satisfy payors that want several services bundled together, while smaller places can't because they specialize in fewer areas" (Meyers, 2/9 issue).