PTPN celebrates 30 years of service to the nation’s physical, occupational and speech therapists

America’s first specialty network helps practitioners continue to adapt and thrive.

 
In 1985, big hair and new wave music were in, and PPOs were also riding the new wave in healthcare. That same year, two healthcare executives had a breakthrough idea to develop a specialty network for top rehabilitation professionals in California.

Three decades later, PTPN has become a national company celebrating its anniversary as the country’s first network of physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT) and speech language pathology (SLP) professionals in private practice.

“When my partner, Fred Rothenberg, and I first started this business, we could have never envisioned the changes our nation’s healthcare system would experience,” said PTPN President & CEO Michael Weinper, PT, DPT, MPH, a physical therapist for over 40 years. “We’ve gone to dealing with acronyms like HMO and PPO to grappling with an entirely new set of acronyms — ACA, EMR, ACO, DPT and so on. The one thing that hasn’t changed is our commitment to helping our providers do all they can for patients while building successful and profitable practices.”

That commitment has grown increasingly difficult over the years. According to Weinper, the key to PTPN’s longevity is the organization’s ability to predict, adapt to, and capitalize on 30 years of change in the healthcare industry. “Even today, we see new challenges arising in areas like increasingly complex documentation requirements, the emergence of Value-Based Purchasing, and the healthcare demands of aging Baby Boomers,” Weinper said. “Our job is to provide the guidance and tools necessary for our providers to meet these challenges head on, and even find ways to benefit from them.”

For example, Weinper said, PTPN launched its outcomes measurement program in 2007 in part because what the industry now calls Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) was already on the horizon. “We saw the growing tidal wave of tying reimbursement to value, or results, so we designed the PTPN Outcomes Program to position PTPN providers at the forefront of this trend,” he said. PTPN has used its outcomes data to work with a number of health plans across the country to implement Pay for Outcomes programs in which high-performing PTPN members receive increased reimbursement.

Innovative developments like these have helped PTPN providers build stronger practices, including those who started with PTPN in the 1980s.

“As an original member, I have had the luxury of participating in the historic growth of the first physical therapy provider network in the world,” said Jim Dagostino, PT, DPT, a founding member of PTPN and a therapist with Doctors of Physical Therapy in Oceanside, Calif. “My personal and professional growth has been accelerated, and I am a better physical therapist and business owner today because of my long relationship with PTPN and its people.”

Like many therapists, Dagostino notes that one of the key challenges practice owners face today, and one they rely on PTPN to support, is the need to educate payers about the importance of quality among therapy providers.

“Too many payers view therapy as a commodity,” notes Weinper. “It’s not. We work with payers to show them the value, in terms of cost savings and patient outcomes, of working with knowledgeable, committed and educated providers. We know, and want them to understand, that quality rehabilitation services lead to lower costs downstream in other medical areas, like imaging, pharmacy, and even surgery.”

That ability to focus on helping rehab specialists with the realities of healthcare today is also what continues to lead top-performing providers to join PTPN. One of the network’s newest members is Gabriel Enescu, PT, a therapist with more than 17 years’ experience, and the founder of Excel Physical Therapy in Lodi, Calif. “I’ve followed PTPN throughout my career and have always been impressed with all they do,” said Enescu. “I can see they are a fantastic resource and an organization that really fights for PTs. They have the knowledge and the experience to help, especially when it comes to working with the health plans — they represent us well.”

Weinper adds that Enescu and other providers in the network benefit from access to many PTPN innovations, including:

  • Physiquality, which is PTPN’s consumer brand to help therapists become less dependent on third-party reimbursement and build a direct source of revenue from clients interested in health, fitness and wellness.

  • The PTPN Political Action Center, which is designed to ensure that the interests of private practice owners — and more specifically, those who are part of PTPN — are served on Capitol Hill. PTPN invests in a lobbyist to advocate on behalf of its providers with legislators and federal agencies like Medicare.

While the past 30 years have been eventful for the profession and the company, Weinper sees a bright future for his organization. “I think payers will begin to realize that they may have gone too far in cutting reimbursement across the board, and that it is time to properly support those providers who focus on quality, long-term cost savings and improved outcomes,” he states. “Because of PTPN’s commitment to quality outcomes, and the innovative programs we pioneered, our providers are strategically positioned to deal with the challenges of today and tomorrow.”

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Read an expanded interview with Weinper, and more information on PTPN, here.

 
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. PTPN’s network includes thousands of therapists and is contracted with hundreds of managed care organizations covering millions of Americans. All members of PTPN must be independent practitioners who own their own practices. For more information on PTPN, contact Stephen Moore at 818-737-0246 or smoore@ptpn.com, or visit ptpn.com.