Insurance status affects access to physical therapy following rotator cuff repair surgery: A comparison of privately insured and Medicaid patients

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Miranda J. Rogers
Ian Penvose
Emily J. Curry
Joseph W. Galvin
Xinning Li *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Xinning Li |


Rotator cuff repair (RCR) is an effective procedure to relieve shoulder pain and dysfunction. Postoperative physical therapy (PT) plays an integral role in the overall success of RCR. Insurance status has been shown to be an important predictor of postoperative PT utilization. This study evaluated the effect of insurance status on access to PT services following RCR. One hundred thirty-eight PT clinics were contacted in the Greater Boston metropolitan area. Clinics were contacted on two separate occasions and presented with a fictitious acutely postoperative RCR patient in need of PT. Insurance status was reported as Medicaid or private insurance. Overall, 133 (96.4%) accepted private insurance, whereas only 71 (51.4%) accepted Medicaid (P=0.019). Medicaid patients were offered a first available appointment at a mean of 8.3 days (95% CI: 7.13-9.38, range: 0-31) versus a mean of 6.3 days (95% CI: 5.3-7.22, range: 0-19, P=0.001) for private patients. Clinic location was not associated with access to PT or time to first appointment. Insurance status affects access to PT services and time to first available appointment in patients following RCR surgery in a major metropolitan area.

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