Access Physical Therapy and Wellness, which recently took over Woodstock Physical Therapy, has announced that it will no longer accept insurance plans from MVP Health Care. However, the Woodstock location is now accepting clients who have insurance with Fidelis Care.
MVP was dropped because of its refusal to meet what Access called the industry standards of reimbursement, despite several attempts at negotiation. “The cost of operating a physical therapy practice — like the cost of living — goes up every year,” said Chris Albanese, co-owner of Access, “but certain insurance companies actually decrease our payments over time.”
Some physical therapy practices adapt to lower reimbursement rates by forcing practitioners to see four patients an hour, the only way, they say, for a therapist to earn a living at those rates. But a 15-minute visit does not allow enough time for a comprehensive treatment and can result in a longer recovery time, according to Ellie Kramer, former owner of Woodstock Physical Therapy, now director of the Woodstock branch of Access. She chose Access to take over the practice because of its commitment to hands-on 30-minute treatment sessions.
Albanese stated, “We have a vision to provide the absolute highest level of care for our patients. To find the type of care we insist upon, to have the certifications we invest in, to maintain high standards, our practitioners need to be paid fairly. Some insurance companies will not negotiate.”
Access owns 20 clinics in the Hudson Valley, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. “We do a lot of unique niches in terms of certifications,” Albanese explained. “They cost money but add a lot of value.” The company also hosts workshops and sends its therapists out to take courses in specialties they’re interested in pursuing.
Albanese expects to keep talking to MVP and trying to convince them that quality physical therapy care can decrease insurance claims in the long run. “If we get people into rehab early enough, we can cut aftercare in half,” he said. “People need less imaging, less injections, and less pharmacology. We’re trying to get the data to show insurance companies that working with a cutting-edge rehab company would provide the best care and get people back to work and pain-free as quickly as possible. There are great studies coming out of the Mayo Clinic, and we’re trying to do some of these ourselves. Insurance companies are focusing on how many visits we do rather than quality and outcome.”
Physical therapy has also been shown to reduce anxiety before surgery and improve outcome of surgery, he said.
For existing patients who have MVP insurance, their treatment at Access will continue as normal. If their treatment plan extends beyond April 1, they can use out-of-network benefits to pay for their treatment, or discuss with Access about setting up alternative payment options.
Meanwhile, patients with insurance through Fidelis Care can now be treated at the Woodstock office. “Fidelis has been good to deal with,” said Albanese. “We want to continue to have conversations with other insurance providers.”
MVP did not return calls for comment.
Meanwhile, Access has been named one of the 2017 Best Companies to Work for in New York by the New York State Society for Human Resources Management and the Best Companies Group. This is the fourth time that Access has made the list of top employers, based on employee surveys, benefits, and company policies.