Public Relations Committee
Sample Opposite the Editorial Page (Op-Ed)
Cover letters should accompany any op-ed submission. The letter should contain contact information ( including name, mailing address, day and evening phone numbers, and a fax number or email address) for you and an additional person in case you can not be reached. The body of the letter should contain a biographical sketch highlighting your expertise on the topic and an explanation of any ties you have to the issue or the NYPTA. Conclude with a request for a tear sheet and an ending salutation.
If an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, New York is pound foolish when it comes to the cost- and health-effective practice of physical therapy.
New York has allowed physical therapy co-payments to skyrocket in the last several years. Many patients are now forced to pay the entire cost for each and every physical therapy visit out of their own pockets - even though they’re already paying for health insurance policies that must, by New York law, cover physical therapy. In some instances, patients are paying even more than the actual cost of treatment. In essence, “co-payments” have become “all-payments.”
This warped reality, the result of managed care plans classifying physical therapy as a “specialty,” has made this effective form of rehabilitation unaffordable for thousands of New Yorkers. Some co-pays are as much as $50 per visit for treatments that require up to 20 or more sessions per month - a staggering $1,000 a month. As a result, many patients stretch out treatments or skip them altogether, fail to recover properly and are forced to undergo even more expensive surgical or other medical follow-up treatments.
Short-sighted decisions by insurance companies are not only costing New Yorkers more money in the short term but adding to the price tag of our already expensive health care system in the long run. More importantly, unaffordable co-pays prevent many New Yorkers from timely returns to their jobs and lives - and from fully recovering their health.
These unfortunate consequences are documented; a 2010 Brown University study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found increased outpatient co-pays drive up hospital costs and may have adverse health consequences and result in higher overall health care costs. Similar studies by the University of Washington last year and the Intermountain Health Care System in 2008 on patients with lower back pain yielded similar conclusions, as did a project undertaken by Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle.
Fortunately, there is a solution. State Senator John DeFrancisco, a Syracuse Republican, and Assemblyman Kevin Cahill, a Kingston Democrat, are sponsoring bi-partisan legislation that would limit New York health care policy co-payments to 20 percent of total reimbursement to the provider of care. This sensible bill would restore the meaning of “co-payment” while discouraging inappropriate or unnecessary care by once again assigning reasonable cost sharing between the patient and the insurance company. The 2011 New York State legislative session is quickly drawing to a close, with the final session day scheduled for June 20. It is imperative that New York legislators focus on this critical health and pocketbook issue and pass the DeFrancisco-Cahill bill before they go home for the summer.