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Health Serv Res. 2012 Apr;47(2):633-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2011.01324.x. Epub 2011 Sep 23.

A comparison of health care use for physician-referred and self-referred episodes of outpatient physical therapy.

Author information

1
Center for Public Health Statistics, University of Iowa, Room C22K, 200 Hawkins Drive, Iowa City, IA, USA. jane-pendergast@uiowa.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To compare patient profiles and health care use for physician-referred and self-referred episodes of outpatient physical therapy (PT).

DATA SOURCE:

Five years (2003-2007) of private health insurance claims data, from a Midwest insurer, on beneficiaries aged 18-64.

STUDY DESIGN:

Retrospective analyses of health care use of physician-referred (N = 45,210) and self-referred (N = 17,497) ambulatory PT episodes of care was conducted, adjusting for age, gender, diagnosis, case mix, and year.

DATA COLLECTION/EXTRACTION:

Physical therapy episodes began with the physical therapist initial evaluation and ended on the last date of service before 60 days of no further visits. Episodes were classified as physician-referred if the patient had a physician claim from a reasonable referral source in the 30 days before the start of PT.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

The self-referred group was slightly younger, but the two groups were very similar in regard to diagnosis and case mix. Self-referred episodes had fewer PT visits (86 percent of physician-referred) and lower allowable amounts ($0.87 for every $1.00), after covariate adjustment, but did not differ in related health care utilization after PT.

CONCLUSIONS:

Health care use during PT episodes was lower for those who self-referred, after adjusting for key variables, but did not differ after the PT episode.

PMID:
22092033
PMCID:
PMC3419881
DOI:
10.1111/j.1475-6773.2011.01324.x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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