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PT salaries - February 21, 2005 9:21:00 PM   
Ray

 

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From: Oreland, Pennsylvania
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Let me begin by saying that I have always felt that PT's were underpaid. I believe that for what we offer our patients and the effect on their life we have...we should be compensated much better.

I certainly feel this way even more as I work toward my t-DPT. I NEVER hear about the topic of salaries and advocating for an increased level discussed. From the time I entered the field the obvious perception was that making money and providing good care were antagonistic. I personally am sick of this attitude and feel as one continues to develop in clinical skill, education, etc that compensation should follow.

If I had to through out a number..I believe that PT's at an advanced level should be able to exceed 100k. What is your opinion?
Post #: 1
Re: PT salaries - February 22, 2005 2:59:00 PM   
apolipo

 

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From: Grand Rapids, MI
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Our pay will always be determined by our value, i.e. how much money do we make for someone else. The exception being private practice owners. The last time I saw figures (about 5-7 yr. ago), the average private practice owner made 100K.
At the current time, in my area, there are more jobs than PTs, therefore, salaries are rising and signing bonuses are being offered. If you are willing to do ECF work or HHC, you might just make 100k. I would rather not.
I would support an effort to increase salaries but I feel it will only take us as far as the bottom line, advanced degree or not.

mike t

(in reply to Ray)
Post #: 2
Re: PT salaries - March 1, 2005 12:50:00 AM   
ptdan23

 

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From: Orlando, FL
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I think that as our profession grows, gets more recognition, and gets more autonomous hopefully we will see an increase in salaries. However, I do not believe this will happen if reimbursement for our services does not increase. Why does an insurance company pay a doctor $150 for an office visit where they spend maybe 5 minutes and only pay us X amt for a visit where we spend an hour or more with the patient??? I definitely feel our services are undervalued but until this is recognized by payors our reimbursement will see the same. If our reimbursement stays the same there is no way we will see an increase in salaries. I do agree we are way under paid and under valued!!!

Dan, PT.

(in reply to Ray)
Post #: 3
Re: PT salaries - March 1, 2005 6:23:00 AM   
Dr.Wagner


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From: Indianapolis
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Reimbursement across the board is declining...it hits everyone. It is a political issue and it is a business issue...no one wants to pay health care providers what they are worth or what they charge. It is realistic to assume that with the baby boomers coming of age, and the collapse of medicare, medicaid, and social security, reimbursement for rehab will also decrease. OR you will have to see more patients in less time (much like office based physicians). Likely what will need to happen to counter this is more creative ways of income (that is up to you). Because it aint gonna be because the insurance company thinks you are worth it...they would pay a PTA for half the price (or whatever).
It will really take some creativity to decide where rehab will have to go to get more PRIVATE contributions (cash money) as third party contributions go down.
Hopefully, malpractice won't hit you guys like it has hit Physicians...but I would imagine it will at some point. And as the payments become lower, i would bet larger groups will once again emerge and gain strength in the marketplace (just like mega physician groups have)...
It will be interesting over the next 10 years.

_____________________________

Dr. Wagner DO
Moderator of Medical Complexity Forum

(in reply to Ray)
Post #: 4
Re: PT salaries - March 1, 2005 9:52:00 AM   
apolipo

 

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From: Grand Rapids, MI
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I know it sounds cynical, but Dr. Wagner has probably hit the nail on the head. I already feel like my schedule is often crammed with more pts. than I can treat "to the best of my abilities". They get good treatment, but not my best. I bet many Drs. would nod their heads in recognition.

It will likely take creative thinking/practice to find a solution to this problem (I was going to say "thinking outside of the box" but I really dislike that term; sounds like something a marketing exec. would say).

I honestly believe that the movement towards the DPT and autonomous practice can help, as long as we stick to what we do best and don't try to be MDs/DOs (I went into PT in the first place because I didn't want to be a doctor).

I also feel we need to strive towards what Barrett Dorko calls a "Deep Model". Why are we doing what we are doing? Am I just taking a shot in the dark, using some old tool out of my "toolbox", or can I say "this is the problem, this is why it is a problem, and this is what we can do about it".

mike t

(in reply to Ray)
Post #: 5
Re: PT salaries - March 3, 2005 5:19:00 PM   
dosrinc

 

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From: Bonita Springs
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In my clinic, PT's with advanced skills can make 100k or more but not working 8am-5pm 5 days per week with one hour lunch and 4 weeks off per year. I offer a very competitive salary and a bonus structured on productivity, the more your are willing to work the more you can make. We see all of our patients one on one 60 min evals and 45 min follow ups so the only way to see a lot of patients is to put in the hours, if you do, you will make the money. We can't cry for higher salaries unless we cry first for higher reimbursement, refuse to cut our fees drastically for third party payers and be good enough so that patients will see the value in paying a little extra out of pocket for our services vs. the HUMMERS (HPUSMS) down the street who take the low contracts and see 3-4 people at one time, in places like that it is invariably only the owners who make any real money. Sorry to get off on a rant here....
Rick

(in reply to Ray)
Post #: 6
Re: PT salaries - March 4, 2005 3:04:00 AM   
Randy Dixon

 

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I have to say that this is a bit funny, asking a bunch of PT's if they think they should get more money.

Teachers make about half of what a PT makes, so do police officers. Soldiers make a lot less. Doctors make more. I don't think the medical community is going to get a lot of sympathy from the general population. When I drive by the Doctor's parking lot, I don't see a lot of 12-year old Chevy's. I see Lexus's, BMW's, and an occasional Ferrari and Porsche.

So how much should a PT make? The only real answer is, as Dr. Wagner and others suggested, when you have your patients paying you out of their own pocket, then they are the ones deciding. If you base what you are worth in the current system, then you are being judged as an income producing, or payout reducing, commodity by your employer and the insurance companies. Is there anything wrong with that? That's a personal decision, but don't decieve yourself about what market you are being valued in.

(in reply to Ray)
Post #: 7
Re: PT salaries - March 4, 2005 9:31:00 AM   
hmgross

 

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From: Minnesota
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Every situation is unique. I can't imagine having a cash-based business where I live. There are no spas, health clubs, etc. here. The Drs. may have new vehicles, but more like an SUV or quad cab truck. It has always been that way here. Our medical professionals do OK, but this isn't the big city. Its also pretty cheap to live here so it all evens out in the end, I guess.

_____________________________

Holly Gross PT

(in reply to Ray)
Post #: 8
Re: PT salaries - March 4, 2005 11:52:00 AM   
apolipo

 

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Joined: December 23, 2004
From: Grand Rapids, MI
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Rick,

First off, I'm not familar with the HPUSMS acronym, despite the fact I can highly relate to its description. What does it stand for?

Second, I would love to see my pts. one on one for 45 minutes each, but my job is 3rd or 4th on my list of priorities and I won't let it get any higher. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE what I do. There are other things that are more important to me.

Personally, I am content with what I make. My wife and I are certainly not starving and I thank the Lord every day for the many blessings he has given us. That does not mean I believe we are paid what we are truly WORTH, just that I am content.

By the way, I agree with Randy. Teachers, soliders, and police officers are GROSSLY underpaid. Which is another reason to feel content for what you have.

Go ahead and fight for more reimbursement dollars. Go ahead and do such a good job that people will be willing to pay out of pocket. Advocate for your profession and what we can do for the public. But at the end of the day, be glad for what you have.

mike t

(in reply to Ray)
Post #: 9
Re: PT salaries - March 4, 2005 12:14:00 PM   
dosrinc

 

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From: Bonita Springs
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Mike,
HPUSMS or hummers stands for hot pack, ultrasound and massage, or the kind of PT that doens't get anybody better and drives down the public's perception of what real PT is but is easy to do with several people at one time. I appreciate that you are happy with what you make and what you do, I've got no argument with putting your job wherever you want to on your list of priorities. My post was in reply to someone who thinks PT's don't get paid enough.

(in reply to Ray)
Post #: 10
Re: PT salaries - March 6, 2005 8:14:00 AM   
dosrinc4

 

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Randomly poll 1000 PT's and ask them if they feel they deserve more money and 100%, except Mike above, will say yes
Ask the same 1000 PT's if they are members of the APTA and only 30% will say yes
Of that 30% only 10% would be able to say they actively participate in the organizations efforts.
So we have 1000 therapists who feel undervalued and only 30 who are actively trying to do something about it.
Until that ration changes we have very little hope of seeing much positive change.
Please join the APTA and PARTICIPATE!
Rick

(in reply to Ray)
Post #: 11
Re: PT salaries - March 6, 2005 1:35:00 PM   
ptdan23

 

Posts: 227
Joined: November 7, 2003
From: Orlando, FL
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I agree w/ Rick (dosrinc4)...that is why other organizations have more pull than us (AMA, chiro, etc.) because they have the money through their organizations and more active participation. I hear a lot of PT's complain...are they APTA members...NO! And by the way, yes I am and I am trying to get more involved beyond just being a member.

Dan, PT.

(in reply to Ray)
Post #: 12
Re: PT salaries - March 6, 2005 5:34:00 PM   
FLAOrthoPT

 

Posts: 1011
Joined: May 9, 2004
From: West Palm Beach
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i charge between 100-150 cash per hour...I am very satisfied with the pay. I think you just have to go outside the box if you want to earn more..

(in reply to Ray)
Post #: 13
Re: PT salaries - March 7, 2005 3:44:00 AM   
Randy Dixon

 

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FLA,

I think one of the forums here should be on the business of PT. How to transfer to a cash based, patient oriented practice. Marketing, specializing, salaries, etc.

You have any pull around here?

(in reply to Ray)
Post #: 14
Re: PT salaries - March 7, 2005 5:20:00 AM   
Dr.Wagner


Posts: 1242
Joined: January 25, 2003
From: Indianapolis
Status: offline
There are ALOT of angles to this question, but I think EVERYONE wishes they made more money...so do I.
But outside of money, think about the fantastic schedule that PT's have! When was the last time you worked overnight? When was the last time you took a call at 2 am about a patient? When was the last time you worked 3 out of 4 weekends? When was the last time you went without a lunch break? When was the last time you practiced defensively (ie HAD to do McKenzie exercises because that is the only treatment insurance company A would pay for, or you need to get xrays prior to treatment to avoid a lawsuit etc). Your lives are undeniably nice. You sleep in your own beds EVERY single night...you don't wear a pager. Come on, don't fucus on money.
Likely the PT that accepts the above, longer hours, on call, working weekends, perhaps 24 hour coverage...that will be the PT that MAKES MONEY. The days of working 8-5 or 7-4 or 7-6 are over.

Comparing PT to Physician salary is ridiculous. The comparison and analogies need to be made with similar competitive professions like Chiropractic or LMT's. Innovation gets the paycheck...like I have said in the past...the MOST BENEFICIAL classes that should have been added to PT curriculum should NOT HAVE BEEN radiology or more pharm, rather BUSINESS and MARKETING.

_____________________________

Dr. Wagner DO
Moderator of Medical Complexity Forum

(in reply to Ray)
Post #: 15
Re: PT salaries - March 7, 2005 9:05:00 AM   
jma

 

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From: NY
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I agree. I like the schedule PT's have. To add to your last statement, there are courses like this being given in DPT classes already.

JMA

(in reply to Ray)
Post #: 16
Re: PT salaries - March 7, 2005 12:17:00 PM   
JLS_PT_OCS

 

Posts: 1684
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From: USA
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Wags,

I don't think anyone is directly comparing PT salaries to physician salaries, only as a relative measure.
And you would probably be the first to admit that you signed up for all those hours and call schedules. But let's not kid ourselves, not every physician practices that way. But the salaries are still quite high. I don't begrudge physicians their pay...I think they earn it.
But I also don't mind their malpractice payments...when more physician organizations (not individuals like you) are willing to share the obligations and responsibilities of caring for people (and that means more in salary for nonphysician providers) then they can share the costs of liability as well. As of now, organizations and state medical boards seem content to continually restrict the number of providers available (presumable to maintain salaries?) and continually work to keep any other health care provider in a supportive, technician type role. Hardly a way to do some cost-sharing.

And I would disagree with your statement than innovation gets the paycheck -- that's simply not true.
Given that the great research produced in the last 15 years in the noninvasive musculoskeletal field -- produced almost exclusively by PTs (not ATCs, LMTs, DCs, or others) -- has not been rewarded with concomitant salary or practice pattern/reimbursement changes.

So innovation doesn't get the paycheck. Being able to call oneself "Doctor" and shrouding oneself in supposed secret knowledge while limiting your supply seems to do a better job of getting that paycheck than any actual innovation in a profession. Not aimed at you, personally, sir, please don't misunderstand.
But as far as the malpractice stuff goes, physicians have dug half that hole themselves.

And your comments about reimbursement, business management and marketing are right on. Agreed.
J

_____________________________

Jason Silvernail DPT
Board-Certified in Orthopedic Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist
www.silvernailstudios.com
jasonsilvernail@gmail.com

(in reply to Ray)
Post #: 17
Re: PT salaries - March 8, 2005 6:39:00 AM   
SJBird55

 

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From: Michigan
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Wags, I initially wanted to be an ortho surgeon. Sure, I think I could do it and I might even be okay at it... but I already know my personality and what I want out of life. Exactly as you said -wearing a pager, talking to someone at 2 AM (and remembering the conversation and maybe getting up and doing something about the situation immediately) definitely does not fit the way I want to live. When I followed an ortho surgeon around back in the early 90's, the biggest thing I learned was that he had a 9 year old daughter... forgot about her birthday and at the last minute ordered something or another... AND didn't really know what his daughter liked. That also made a huge impact on me - there was no way I'd ever put myself into a position like that. But... I did work for some surgeons and I will admit, 2 of them were very balanced, so it can be done.

It would defintely be great if our reimbursement system would change. The way the CPT codes are defined and the way that "supervision" of supportive staff differs from setting to setting definitely doesn't help our profession. I don't really know of any particular business that is basically capped in how much money can be made in a day. Granted though, we have done it to ourselves... the early 90's were not pretty in how treatments were performed.

Maybe we should all work within the 3rd party organizations... premiums continue to increase, deductibles continue to increase, co-pays are higher and we definitely aren't seeing increased reimbursement as providers. ;)

(in reply to Ray)
Post #: 18
Re: PT salaries - March 8, 2005 7:05:00 AM   
dosrinc

 

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Joined: December 10, 2004
From: Bonita Springs
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.....And, insurance company CEO's continue to make millions, not exagerating, in the 20's of millions of dollars as bonuses because of company profits at the end of the year, go to wall street journal site and search blue cross/ blue shield for a recent article on their CEO's salary and bonus structure
Rick

(in reply to Ray)
Post #: 19
Re: PT salaries - March 8, 2005 8:54:00 AM   
Dr.Wagner


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Joined: January 25, 2003
From: Indianapolis
Status: offline
Yeah, why don't we "cut reimbursement" to insurance companies CEO's.
When will enough be enough?

_____________________________

Dr. Wagner DO
Moderator of Medical Complexity Forum

(in reply to Ray)
Post #: 20
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