A new 6-month cost-effectiveness study of 515 musculoskeletal pain patients treated in a self-referred, direct access Welsh system found that the gains from primary physical therapy treatment of injured workers dramatically outstripped the costs.
The costs varied from £194 to £360 (about $300 to $569) per episode of care.
The gains received were £1,386 to £7,760 ($2,180 to $12,261).
Note that the gains DID NOT include wider societal effects of physical therapy rehabiliation, including:
- reduced sickness benefits costs
- reduced costs to employers attributed to improved production
- reduced absence rates from work
- standardized functional scores
- psychosocial vartiables
- work loss and
- medical resource use
The authors results, however, indicated that, based on prevailing payment rates for physical therapists in Wales and the social value of preventing musculoskeletal injuries on workers' quality of life the following conclusion could be made:
"Sensitivity analyses demonstrated that the service would remain cost effective until the service costs were increased to 160% per user."More studies like this need to be done that measure the cost effectiveness of surgery, injections and pharmaceuticals in the treatment of musculoskeletal pain syndomes affecting workers.
This study was published on the 23rd of February, 2012 by BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders.