POPTS / Stark Law
Your Body Your Choice
You can take your physical therapy referral to any PT Clinic of your CHOICE.
Physical Therapist have direct access in Alaska and most insurance companies don’t require a referral for physical therapy.
We are NOT a physician-owned physical therapy service.
Physical Therapists are all different. Make sure you are seeing the best Doctor of Physical Therapy for your lifestyle.
We practice off a Value-Based care approach.
JADED is an Alaskan-owned and managed practice.
Stark Law is a set of United States federal laws that prohibit physician self-referral, specifically a referral by a physician of a Medicare or Medicaid patient to an entity for the provision of designated health services ("DHS") if the physician (or an immediate family member) has a financial relationship with that entity.
What is a POPTS practice?
POPTS stands for physician-owned physical therapy services. The term POPTS generally refers to a physician practice under which PT interventions are delivered. In other words, these are organizations where physicians and therapists—and, in some cases, other medical professionals—deliver care under a single umbrella practice. As such, physicians typically refer patients who need PT to a therapist within their own clinic.
As you can imagine, this setup can be very lucrative for physicians.
Are POPTS legal?
POPTS are technically legal, although many would argue that this is a perfect example of circumventing the intention of the Stark Law.
For its part, the APTA (American Physical Therapy Association) staunchly opposes POPTS for several reasons:
- Some POPTS arrangements take referrals away from PT-owned outpatient centers, making it more difficult for PT-owned practices to thrive.
- Referral-for-profit arrangements can cultivate relationships based on financial incentives, rather than professional collaboration, patient needs, and mutual respect.
- A physical therapy licensing board has no jurisdiction over physicians who own physical therapy services, which decreases the level of oversight and protection for the public.
Why are POPTS so controversial?
Beyond the APTA’s reasons, many physical therapists understandably bristle at the thought of any other medical profession “owning” us. After all, we’ve fought hard for direct access and the ability to call ourselves doctors. Also, many therapists in POPTS practices have expressed concern about physicians being unavailable for consults with PTs (despite being in close proximity), and some therapists confirm that they often feel that their services are recommended for patients who don’t really need them.
We must also consider the potential for conflicts of interest, as noted above. Physicians can certainly be tempted into unethically pressuring PTs to over-utilize therapy services for the sole purpose of increasing profits. With overuse of covered services already causing concern in the healthcare world, the self-referral aspect of a POPTS clinic is worth close consideration. Additionally, many POPTS and big corporate, high volume PT practices utilizing a large number of PT techs, and assistance instead of highly skilled and typically more expensive Doctors of Physical Therapy. This persistent practice habit not only decrease the quality of patient care, but harms the reputation and potential success of actual physical therapy treatments.