Demand for Physical Therapists Remains High Despite Threatened Medicare Cuts Sep 5

By Sterling Medical Staff

Demand for Physical Therapists remains high across the US, despite calls in Congress for drastic cuts to Medicare.  Graduates from accredited Physical Therapy degree programs have their pick of locations whether applying for their first job, or changing positions.

Physical therapy employment opportunities are remarkably secure and abundant in the United States due to a variety of factors, including a shortage of physical therapists, an aging pool of professionals, and healthcare reform. This trend in job security for physical therapists has been on the rise since at least the early 2000s, but has dramatically increased in the past two years. According to Forbes, “In 2010, only 0.4 percent — one in 250 — of PTs seeking work were jobless,” (“Demand for Therapy Jobs Critically High in 2012,” Forbes).

Factors bolstering demand include funding from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004, providing free access to children in need of physical therapy, and the aging of baby boomers.

Healthcare reform, pressures to update record keeping methods, a shortage in Physical Therapists, and cuts in government funding are playing significant roles in the influence of market trends in the Physical Therapy profession as a whole and will continue to do so throughout 2012, according to the American Physical Therapy Association. Automatic cuts in Medicare payments to physicians and physical therapists have been delayed until after November, due to the hot button nature of issues surrounding Medicare in this significant election year.

While the APTA is attempting to work against certain government influences, it is rushing to adapt to others, specifically healthcare reform. On Tuesday, February 7, the APTA announced it will be holding an audio conference in late March to discuss and evaluate the significant changes implicit with the reform.

The conference will allow clinicians, managers, owners, and patients to gain a unique perspective and deeper understanding of new policies, such as, “reforming payments, healthcare delivery, and the workforce” (“Registration Open for Health Care Reform Audio Conference,” Physical Therapy in Motion). APTA vice president Justin Moore will conduct the conference and address additional, “contemporary issues surrounding the upcoming Supreme Court decision on the constitutionality of the law, the pressures on states to implement key provisions, and efforts in Congress to repeal, revise, and redirect funding related to the Affordable Care Act.”

Another trend the Physical Therapy profession is hurrying to adapt to is the need for digitalized information, particularly with regards to health records. Concerning Electronic Health Records (EHRs), the APTA has released a Guide to Understanding and Adopting Electronic Health Records, which “aims to help physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) assess and implement EHRs,” (“APTA Launches Guide to Electronic Health Records,” Physical Therapy in Motion).

The guide not only helps users to successfully adopt the new system, it allows them to understand the importance of the transition and how it will ultimately affect the Physical Therapy profession as a whole.


  1. “Call to Action: Congressional Action Needed on Caps and Cuts”
  2. Registration Open for Health Care Reform Audio Conference”
  3. “APTA Launches Guide to Electronic Health Records”
  4. “Demand for Therapy Jobs Critically High in 2012”