PTPN marks 25 years of advancing the profession of independent rehab therapists and raising quality standards

PTPN marks 25 years.America’s first specialty network helps private practitioners adapt and thrive in evolving healthcare world.

PTPN, the country’s first network of rehabilitation professionals in private practice, celebrates its silver anniversary in 2010. The company attributes its longevity to a willingness to adapt to changing healthcare trends and developments and the ability to turn crises into opportunities for its members.

“During the last 25 years, we have successfully met the challenges to our profession by banding together to leverage our power as a network of dedicated, highly-qualified practitioners, and by thinking strategically and creatively to find solutions,” said PTPN President & CEO Michael Weinper, PT, M.P.H., a physical therapist for over 40 years. “Now, with the monumental changes brought by healthcare reform, we are preparing our members to prosper in the future by giving them the tools to strengthen and diversify their practices.”

Weinper and partner Fred Rothenberg, a former insurance executive, founded the specialty network in California during the managed care boom in the early 1980s to ensure that physical therapists in private practice could participate in PPO, HMO and other managed care contracts. They established the PTPN Quality Assurance Program to capture the attention of payers seeking providers that were held to the most stringent credentialing standards in the industry.

During the 1990s, PTPN expanded across the country to offer therapists not only local and regional contracting opportunities, but also national relationships as well. Today the network includes nearly 4,000 physical, occupational and speech therapists in 23 states.

“The expansion of our network and our organization’s longevity, unusual in healthcare, are a testament to the dedication and professionalism of our member therapists,” Weinper said. “They are the best of the best, and PTPN’s success is a direct result of their commitment to quality care.”

Over the last decade — as rehab therapists faced shrinking reimbursement from insurers, possible Medicare cuts, rising business costs, and then a recession — PTPN launched a series of initiatives to help its members survive, and even thrive, in turbulent times. The initiatives include:

Physiquality. After conducting substantial market research, PTPN created a consumer brand for cash-pay health and wellness services available through its members’ offices. Physiquality (www.physiquality.com) helps practitioners generate new income streams from the billions of dollars Americans spend on health and fitness and become less dependent on traditional, increasingly unprofitable, referral sources.

PTPN Outcomes Program. PTPN developed a mandatory outcomes measurement program to prepare its members for demands by Medicare and private payers for quality measures and reporting. Medicare is working toward value-based purchasing (VBP), in which healthcare purchasers measure, monitor and evaluate the quality they receive for the healthcare dollar spent. VBP, also known as “pay for performance,” will increasingly tie reimbursement to outcomes.

PTPN AccessPoint. PTPN created a referral and appointment-setting program for workers’ comp companies and employers to get injured workers rapid appointments with qualified physical therapists near them. The program provides PTPN members with all the necessary referral information about patients.

PTPN Political Action Center. To ensure the interests of private practitioners are served on Capitol Hill, PTPN hired a lobbyist to advocate on their behalf with legislators and federal regulators like Medicare. Creating the Political Action Center to update and alert members on critical issues
enables them to easily contact their elected officials when their participation can make a difference. One important result of political action and providers’ grassroots efforts was the successful avoidance of Medicare cuts in 2008.

“Rehab practitioners should get involved now in political activity to shape healthcare reform before it takes effect in 2014,” advises Weinper. “They need to familiarize themselves with the issues that could have a significant bearing on their livelihood and profession as a whole.”

Currently, Weinper urges therapists to learn about the proposed rule by CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) for the 2011 Medicare Fee Schedule that could have a major impact on therapy services and payments.

About PTPN: PTPN is the nation’s premier specialty network of rehabilitation therapists in independent practice. It has led the rehabilitation industry in pioneering national contracting and quality assurance programs since 1985. The network has more than 1,000 provider offices (including physical, occupational and speech therapists) in 23 states. PTPN contracts with most of the major managed care organizations in the nation including insurers, workers’ compensation companies, PPOs, HMOs, medical groups, and IPAs. All members of PTPN must be independent practitioners who own their own practices. For more information about PTPN, contact Stephen Moore at 818-737-0246 or smoore@ptpn.com, or visit ptpn.com.