Why we have decided not to become ‘Preferred Providers’

We occasionally get asked whether we are a ‘Preferred Provider’ of the various health funds. We have chosen not to participate in these programs because we don’t agree that they enable health fund members to get the best level of care.You will still receive a health fund rebate when you visit us; it may just be a lesser amount than if you were to visit a ‘Preferred Provider’.

This position is supported by the Australian Physiotherapy Association. You can read more on that at the bottom of this article.

Firstly, it’s important to understand what a‘Preferred Provider’ or ‘Members’Choice’ provider actually is…

Some private health funds have established ‘Preferred Provider’ or ‘Members’ Choice’ programs, however the true meaning of these terms is commonly misconstrued.A practice or provider can simply nominate themselves to join these programs with the health funds. In most situations they just have to agree to some non-negotiable terms including significantly reducing their fees; there is no screening process that assesses providers based on experience, qualifications or quality of care. The terms ‘Preferred Provider’ and ‘Members’ Choice’ may imply that you’ll receive a higher standard of treatment, however this is not the case and, in fact, it could actually be the opposite! Some physiotherapists provide shorter consultations in order to be able to offer the fees stipulated by the health fund, however shorter consultations may not be effective at efficiently assisting and addressing your needs.

Allyson Flanagan | Stafford Physiotherapy Centre | Physio Brisbane North“But I get a larger rebate when I visit a Preferred Provider!”

This is correct; oftentimes a health fund will pay a larger rebate when you visit a Preferred Provider, BUT keep in mind that your total benefit amount is the same regardless. This means that you may use up your annual limit more quickly and potentially before you have had enough treatment.

Why choose us to care for you and your family?

We understand that people have budgets and visiting a ‘Preferred Supplier’ for treatment is certainly better than not getting treatment for your pain or injury! You may receive a lesser rebate from your health fund when you visit us, however we offer experienced physiotherapists who regularly do further study and continuing education. With us, you are receiving quality, comprehensive care and this is something that we will not compromise on. We have committed to a high standard and have experienced physiotherapists treating our patients and mentoring our younger physiotherapists when needed.

What is the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) position?

The APA is concerned that contractual arrangements between Australian physiotherapy clinics and private health insurers create an imbalance of power. The APA is of the opinion that:

  • the current competition laws do not serve the interests of consumers of privately insured ancillary health services as preferred provider schemes discourage competition and restrict consumer choice of health services;
  • Section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (CCA) prohibits a corporation with a substantial degree of power in a market from taking advantage of that power for one or more prohibited anti-competitive purposes. The APA submits that preferred provider schemes encourage a misuse of market power, as demonstrated by BUPA’s market saturation in South Australia;
  • existing unfair and unconscionable conduct provisions of the CCA should be strengthened to provide a more efficient and equitable basis upon which the forces of competition can operate; and
  • the experience of small businesses is that most small physiotherapy practices are reluctant to engage the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for fear of damaging their relationship with private health funds.

We hope this information has assisted your decision making process and to better understand why we are not involved in private health fund ‘Preferred Provider’ or ‘Members’ Choice’ schemes.

 

Please feel free to contact us if you have more questions. Click here to view our pricing for physiotherapy and Pilates.

Clinical Pilates: the Benefits

Clinical Pilates, when tailored by your physiotherapist, is a system of safe and effective exercises to meet your specific individual needs. It focuses on building strength in the deeper layer of your abdominal muscles, in your deep supportive spinal muscles, and in your hip/pelvic musculature – all of which support/enhance your core strength, balance and stability. Building a strong core foundation will allow your body to function at a higher capacity, improve your posture and reduce the incidence of pain and injury.

Clinical Pilates is also used by elite athletes of all disciplines, including dancers, to improve essential movement patterns and enhance fitness and performance, as well as to assist with injury prevention.

In the last decade, clinical Pilates has been an increasingly popular choice of rehabilitation for any age and ability. With increasing evidence to support its use, let’s take a look at some of the benefits it can provide.

  • Prevents injuryClinical pilates | Brisbane Physio | Stafford Physiotherapy Centre
  • Helps to resolve spinal pain or limb pain
  • Improves core stability and pelvic floor function
  • Improves the quality of movement, agility and flexibility
  • Improves balance reaction times
  • Tones muscles
  • Increases bone density
  • Improves your mobility
 Injury prevention

By exercising your body in a balanced manner, clinical Pilates helps to resolve muscle imbalances that we may have, thereby reducing the risk of injury to the body. With better use of core muscles to stabilise the trunk, our limbs have a more stable platform from which to operate reducing the risk of peripheral injury.

Resolution of spinal and limb pain

A lot of spinal pain stems from our muscles “bracing” or contracting excessively and compressing the structures that are experiencing injury, inflammation and swelling. With better control of muscles around the trunk and pelvis and with more normal activation of muscles around these structures, we can eliminate pain from the spine.

Clinical Pilates is also used to rehabilitate the limbs after injury, helping to tone and strengthen – to reduce or eliminate pain and aid in recovery.

Improved core stability and pelvic floor function

The technique used to engage the core muscles during the movement of clinical Pilates also engages the pelvic floor muscles, which strengthens them. Each exercise repeatedly targets the contraction of specific muscle groups thereby toning the muscles that are engaged in the exercises.

Improved quality of movement, balance, agility and flexibility

There are exercises in clinical Pilates that have different focuses, while still engaging the core muscles. There are dynamic movements to test and train your reflexes that will translate to improved reaction times and assist your balance and agility. Other exercises work specific muscle groups to the end of range thereby improving your flexibility. Finally, by controlling the motion, clinical Pilates can fine-tune the muscles to work together in an optimised pattern.

Clinical pilates | Brisbane Physio | Stafford Physiotherapy Centre | Sandra DayToned muscles and increased bone density

Each exercise is working against the resistance of springs or body weight, thereby stimulating the production of cells to produce more bone in response to the controlled stresses placed on the skeleton.

Improved mobility

Our walking and physical function are determined by our body’s ability to engage our muscles in a specific, refined and efficient manner. When we are reinforcing better muscle recruitment patterns, our body will move more efficiently allowing greater mobility when walking, running, swimming or in any physical activity.

In summary, there are many benefits in the use of clinical Pilates for your body. Contact us for more information.

This post was written by Sophie Halsall-McLennan, the head Physiotherapist at Fresh Start Physiotherapy in Geelong.