It’s no longer a question whether value-based care will affect outpatient rehab. While current efforts to replace fee-for-service are mainly directed at hospitals and other health systems, many are already adapting and looking downstream to reap the costs and outcomes benefits of alternative payment models. The good news for PTs? By virtue of skillset, therapists are already positioned for success in a value-based world.

Even if you aren’t yet ready to start collaborating with hospitals and ACOs, there are many things you can do to prepare for life after fee-for-service. Follow these four strategies to learn how you can demonstrate your role to these organizations and prove that you should be included in their care teams.

Research the Market

In order to take part in value-based care, it’s first important to know who around you is participating in alternative payment models (APMs) and similar initiatives. Start by going to the CMS Innovation Center and looking up participants in your area by using their “Where Innovation is Happening” tool. You can easily search by state and create a list of local facilities who may want to work with you clinic. Also consider contacting your referral sources and asking them if they’re involved in or planning to join any value-based arrangements. Leaning on your established connections can help you ease into the transition and recognize the market better so you can understand your opportunities.

Shift Your Mindset

While the vast majority of PTs have never intentionally over-treated, creating a whole new mindset that understands and operates within the new payment models is crucial. In fee-for-service, the central idea was to provide as many services as possible to get paid as much as possible. Value-based care on the other hand does not reward that, in fact, it penalizes it. But, the big challenge for PTs in this will be how you straddle the two models. How do you continue to operate in a fee-for-service therapy world while still showing that you’re ready for value-based care? Our suggestion; don’t make the leap all at once. Continue working in fee-for-service and gradually shift your business to value-based contracts over time. Remembering this isn’t a switch you can flip overnight will actually put you ahead of the rest.

Gain the insight you need to prepare for the road ahead and make the transition from fee-for-service to value-based care a successful one. Download our value-based care white paper today.

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Prioritize Patient Engagement and Care Coordination

Success in value-based care hinges on your ability to communicate with all participants in a patient’s care. Unfortunately, silos aren’t uncommon when dealing between hospitals and other providers so it’s important to prioritize collaboration and communication. Consistent patient engagement both while the patient is inside and outside your clinic is key as well. Remember, you’re a part of their care team even if you aren’t treating them regularly. Committing to effective communication with these groups now and having tools in place to do this is crucial to your success in the transition.

Demonstrate with Data

When it comes to data, making the switch early on will benefit you. Start measuring for value right away by comparing your clinical outcomes to your costs. This can be accomplished with patient-reported outcomes, for example, and through standard rehabilitation measurement tools. To collect, analyze, and report clinical and financial data efficiently, using an electronic medical record (EMR) and billing solution designed specifically for physical therapists is key.


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