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Payments for Physical Therapy Services to be Drastically Cut by Anthem Blue Cross of California
Date:2/16/2010

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Feb. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Patients enrolled in Anthem Blue Cross of California may be in for a rude and costly awakening the next time they visit a physical therapist. According to the California Physical Therapy Association, the insurance company is slashing payment for physical therapy services to a rate so low it is financially impossible for many physical therapists to continue providing care to enrollees of Anthem Blue Cross.

"Physical therapists are concerned that Anthem's dramatic and unilateral reduction in payment will have a substantial effect on the quality of care being provided, as well as the ability of therapists to continue to participate in Anthem's network," said Dr. Cheryl Resnik, PT, CPTA President. "We find it fundamentally unreasonable for Anthem Blue Cross to jeopardize the treatment of its enrollees by choosing to make such a drastic policy change. We are asking them to reconsider, but there seems to be no move to do so. Physical therapists have been met with a 'take-it-or-leave-it' response from the carrier."

Communications sent to providers indicate that effective March 1, 2010, Anthem Blue Cross will modify the current payment policy to a per diem model. When that goes into effect, physical therapists will experience up to a 50 percent reduction in payment for all treatment regardless of the intensity, duration or degree of care provided. This severe rate cut, coupled with rising practice expense costs, will make it financially impossible for many providers to offer care to Anthem Blue Cross members under this arrangement. This move by Anthem Blue Cross hits PTs from all sides: as employers, they are experiencing increases in premiums of up to 39 percent; as patients, they are experiencing decreases in coverage; and as pro
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SOURCE California Physical Therapy Association
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