The coronavirus pandemic is a global event the likes that society has not recently seen. The pandemic not only shut down businesses and halted non-emergency surgeries around the country, it has also made it extremely difficult, if not impossible for Hoosiers injured in car crashes, slip and fall incidents, and accidents at work to receive proper medical care and physical therapy. As the county’s healthcare system shifts its focus to being ready for Americans affected by Covid-19, people with injuries that require physical therapy, chiropractic care, or other forms of non-invasive treatment have been left with little to no options.
The phone lines at Hurst Limontes, LLC have been flooded with calls from current and prospective clients who are reporting that their physical therapy or other treatments have been cancelled and not rescheduled due to the pandemic. Not only are they concerned that the progress they have made will diminish while they are not receiving treatment, but they are concerned that their inability to complete treatment will affect the outcome of their case. The truth is that people have good reason to be concerned about both topics.
Insurance companies are always quick to point-out when a so-called “gap in treatment” can be shown in a client’s medical history. The insurance adjusters and their lawyers will argue that because a person who was injured missed a month, a week, or even a single session of physical therapy or other non-invasive therapy following a car accident that their injuries must not be as serious as first reported. The reasoning for missing said treatment typically does not matter to the insurance company because they know that they can use the “gap in treatment” to get a discount on what they must pay to resolve the case.
Dr. Joseph Fischetti of the Non-Invasive Spine and Pain Center in Pompano Beach, FL, has been studying the effects of “gaps in treatment” for several years:
“A condition known as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness) will occur when beginning [physical therapy] exercises following a car crash which can span up to 72 hours. A regressive period can also occur under these types of [current] pandemic situations causing increases in fibrotic tissue scarring. This may require additional time, and as such may delay the treatment regimen.”
Dr. Fischetti’s solution? Virtual physical therapy. “Virtual physical therapy can help (1) keep the patient compliant with their current treatment plan, thus improving outcomes, and (2) prevent exacerbation and/or re-injury.”
Companies such as Motion PT Group have instituted programs like Motion on the GO, an alternative to office visits for patients who found it challenging to fit in-person therapy into their schedule such as busy parents, professionals, or people with transportation challenges. The program allows physical therapists and medical professionals to provide the necessary treatment to patients suffering from traumatic physical injuries while abiding by the CDC’s current recommendations for social distancing. In this ever-increasing connected world we live in, it is only a matter of time until telerehabilitation becomes commonplace.
Virtual physical therapy can be an extremely effective treatment that will not only defeat the insurance company’s arguments based on gaps in treatment but will also allow patients to avoid regression of their therapy progress and will prevent re-injury. If you have been injured in a car accident, slip and fall incident, or an accident at work and are unsure of your rights or your ability to receive medical treatment during the Covid-19 pandemic, we are happy to answer your questions by phone 317-636-0808 or by email submissions on our website.