5 Trends Changing the Future of the Physical Therapy Industry

by BetterPT | Aug 26, 2019 | connectingwithpatients, mergersandacquisitions, physicaltherapy, physicaltherapybilling, physicaltherapyindustry, physicaltherapytrends, reimbursementtrends
5 Trends Changing the Future of the Physical Therapy Industry

Physical therapy is a $37 billion industry and it has an average annual growth rate of about 3.2%. While the industry is expected to continue growing in the coming years, there are several trends that are going to have a major impact on the businesses that operate in physical therapy. Furthermore, these trends will help shape the accessibility of physical therapy treatment for patients. Among the many advantages, these trends will play a significant part in enabling direct access to physical therapy in New Jersey and other states across the nation.

For many who are currently working in the industry, these trends are going to require significant changes if their businesses are going to continue to thrive. Read on to learn what kinds of trends will be helping to transform the future of physical therapy.

Increasing Mergers & Acquisitions

Healthcare was an industry that was once defined by its fragmentary nature, but that has changed dramatically in recent years. In 2018, mergers and acquisitions went up 14.4% from 2017, which itself was a record year for M&A in healthcare.

This makes mergers and acquisitions a significant trend to keep an eye on in the coming years. Large corporations are going to continue to buy up independent operators and the market will further consolidate as many of the larger organizations merge.

MIPS Physical Therapy Billing

Physical therapists are now eligible to enroll for the MIPS payment program. This is a new payment system for Medicare part B that is intended to base payments on the quality of care and to incentive controlling costs. The MIPS payment program will adjust provider payments based on four criteria: quality, cost, improvement activities, and advancing care information.

Physical therapy providers will be given a score based on these criteria, and the score will result in adjustments to their Medicare part B payments in the future.

New Ways to Connect With Patients

With the consolidation of the healthcare industry, doctors and hospitals have more connections to physical therapy practices and billing. This means that independent physical therapy clinics are going to see fewer referrals as hospitals and doctors are going to want to keep more of the care in their networks.

For the independent businesses in this industry to compensate, they are going to need to find new ways to connect with patients. For these businesses, tools like social media marketing and digital engagement platforms are going to be vital for maintaining their caseload and acquiring new patients.

Advanced APMs in Physical Therapy Billing

With the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, both Advanced APMs and MIPS were established as payment systems to improve the quality of care while also lowering the cost. Just like MIPS, Advanced APMs work by giving the provider a score based on different quality-based criteria.

While MIPS and Advanced APMs are both quality payment programs that are designed to improve the effectiveness of care and reduce the cost, they do work differently. With Advanced APMs, physical therapy providers take on more risk in order to receive higher incentives. If the provider meets certain targets with Advanced APMs, they can then be eligible for higher financial incentives from Medicare.

Out of Network Providers to Change Reimbursement Trends

The industry is going to continue to see stricter guidelines from Medicare and lower reimbursement rates. This will cause many of the private physical therapy centers to move out of large healthcare networks and this could have an impact on physical therapy businesses and Medicare in the future.

Instead of physical therapists having a primary relationship with the insurance carriers, they are going to have a more direct relationship with the patients. With patients having to pay for physical therapy and then get reimbursement for the cost, this could make treatment more expensive in the coming years.

Larger corporate physical therapy businesses will be able to stay in-network due to the sheer volume of care they can provide. However, smaller independent shops will struggle under this model. As a result, they will have to look toward physical therapy networks and online platforms to compensate.

As you can see, the aforementioned trends will have a huge impact on businesses that are based on physical therapy practices. That’s why it is important to stay aware and make decisions accordingly.

More about our guest contributor BetterPT:

BetterPT is a healthcare technology platform that instantly connects physicians, patients, and physical therapy (PT) clinics through a website and mobile app.

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