Purpose: The purpose of this study was to compare the cost of physical therapist (PT) management of patients with musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders to management by traditional primary care managers (PCMs); medical doctors (MDs), doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs), advanced registered nurse practitioners (ARNPs), and physician assistants (PAs). Methods: This is a retrospective study of electronic medical records using an exploratory, non-experimental, cross-sectional, and quantitative design method. The records of patients with MSK disorders were assessed at an Air Force military medical clinic for 18 months from January 2016 through June 2017. Results: PT management of MSK patients resulted in a significantly lower rate of imaging studies, NSAIDS, and cost of care when compared to MDs, DOs, PAs, or ARNPs. Patients with MSK disorders managed by PTs had no significant difference in return-to-work rate when compared to MDs, DOs, PAs, or ARNPs. Conclusions:The military model of physical therapy direct access care has been shown to be cost effective when compared to care provided by traditional primary care managers.
McGill TE, Stern DF, Kolber MJ, McGee J. Cost Outcomes of Physical Therapist Providers Compared to Primary Care Providers in the Treatment of Musculoskeletal Patients in a Military Treatment Facility: A Retrospective Chart Review”. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice. 2021 Mar 31;19(2), Article 4.