Connect with us

Health

As physical therapist practices in America face staffing shortages, kids are ‘suffering,’ say experts

Published

on

As physical therapist practices in America face staffing shortages, kids are ‘suffering,’ say experts

The physical therapist will not see you now.

Outpatient physical therapist (PT) practices are experiencing severe staff shortages, with the highest vacancy rates at 17%, according to a recent report by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), a nonprofit group based in Virginia. 

The report is based on survey responses from 133 outpatient physical therapy practices across the U.S., which include 2,615 clinics and some 11,000 full-time employees, ranging from support staff to PTs. The survey was conducted between May 25 and June 16.

LESS THAN HALF OF NURSES ARE ‘FULLY ENGAGED’ AT WORK, WHILE MANY ARE ‘UNENGAGED,’ NEW REPORT REVEALS

The pandemic may have accelerated the staffing shortage, but only 1.7% of owners of physical therapy practices cited COVID-19 as the primary reason for leaving, per the press release.

Advertisement

Here is more detail about the survey results — and what they mean. 

Outpatient physical therapist practices are experiencing severe staff shortages, per a recent report by the American Physical Therapy Association. (iStock)

Factors driving PTs to leave

Most survey respondents said the big drivers of employee loss were salary, relocation and work-life balance issues.

Among the business owners, 37.3% cited relocation, 25.4% blamed salary and 22.9% said issues with work-life balance were the reason that employees left practices.

SPENDING THE NIGHT IN AN EMERGENCY ROOM PUTS OLDER ADULTS AT HIGHER RISK OF DYING IN THE HOSPITAL: STUDY 

Advertisement

“There is certainly a shortage of physical therapists, especially here in New York, and the pediatric population is suffering,” Dr. Susan Taddonio, assistant professor at Long Island University and a practicing pediatric physical therapist based in New York, told Fox News Digital.

Physical therapists are also retiring, changing careers or selling their practices to corporate entities, added Taddonio, who was not involved in the survey.

Empty physical therapy office

Most survey respondents said the big drivers of the loss of physical therapists were salary, relocation and work-life balance issues. (iStock)

“The sad fact is that we go into physical therapy with a major desire to improve the lives of the people we serve … and the rewards at the end make meeting the costs of living and paying off student debt difficult at best,” Dr. Marilyn Moffat, professor of physical therapy at New York University in New York, New York, told Fox News Digital. 

Sizable student debts

It’s tough for many potential students to rationalize investing in a physical therapy education that may not yield a return on their investment, added Moffat, who was not part of the survey.

Students typically spend four years earning a bachelor’s degree before embarking on a three-year program to graduate as a doctor of physical therapy.

Advertisement

“To become a licensed PT, you need to earn a doctorate degree,” Taddonio emphasized.

“We go into physical therapy with a major desire to improve the lives of the people we serve … and the rewards at the end make meeting the costs of living and paying off student debt difficult at best.”

“This can lead to a large amount of student debt, and when compared to other fields, the earning potential is not as great — especially with [high] burnout rates and the burden the job places on one’s body.”

Meanwhile, she noted, nurses and physician assistants can graduate sooner with less debt and earn more pay.

Girl on crutches

“There is a shortage of physical therapists, especially here in New York, and the pediatric population is suffering,” said a physical therapist. (iStock)

The median annual wage of physical therapists ranges from $88,000 to $101,500, but this income only met or fell behind the inflation rate in most areas of the country between 2016 and 2021, according to the APTA’s most recent published data.

Advertisement

At least 80% of recent physical therapy graduates have an average debt of $142,000, per a 2020 report.

Lower Medicare reimbursements

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is planning an additional reduction in reimbursement that will affect physical therapists in 2024, which would bring the cuts to a total of 9% over four years, according to APTA.

(Medicare reimbursements are payments that Medicare sends to hospitals and physicians for medical services they provide.)

BURNT OUT AND GETTING OUT: AMERICAN HOSPITALS STRUGGLE WITH INCREASING SHORTAGE OF NURSES

“On Nov. 2, 2023, CMS issued a final rule that finalized policy changes for Medicare payments under the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) and other Medicare Part B issues, effective on or after Jan. 1, 2024,” a CMS spokesperson told Fox News Digital.

Advertisement

The policy changes “reflect a broader Biden-Harris administration-wide strategy to create a more equitable health care system that results in better access to care, quality, affordability and innovation,” according to the CMS.

Physical therapy session

Medicare patients make up a large percentage of the people that physical therapists treat, which means new graduates are finding it increasingly challenging to establish small private practices that will be sustainable.  (iStock)

Although finalized payment amounts under the PFS will be reduced by 1.25% overall next year compared to the 2023 calendar year, CMS is finalizing increases in payments for many services, such as primary care visits and longitudinal care visits.

“Overall, the finalized [calendar year] 2024 PFS conversion factor is $32.74, a decrease of $1.15, or 3.4%, from [calendar year] 2023,” the CMS spokesperson said.

NATIONAL NURSING SHORTAGE HITTING RURAL AMERICA HARDEST

Medicare patients make up a large percentage of the people that physical therapists treat, which means new graduates are finding it increasingly challenging to establish small private practices that will be sustainable. 

Advertisement

“In the past, we could … actually establish a nice private practice and even have that grow into several practices,” Moffat said.

“However, because the publicly held and private equity-backed major firms have and continue to buy up small practices where the bottom line is the major consideration, it is now extremely difficult — if not impossible — to think about being entrepreneurial and starting that small practice.”

Regulatory changes for remote services

Several recent regulatory changes should give physical therapists and occupational therapists more flexibility in providing services to patients, the CMS spokesperson told Fox News Digital. 

Man arm movement

Several recent regulatory changes should give physical therapists and occupational therapists more flexibility in providing services to patients. (iStock)

Since 2005, CMS has required physical therapists in private practices to provide direct supervision of their therapy assistants.

“CMS is finalizing a regulatory change to allow for general supervision of therapy assistants by PTPPs (physical therapists in private practice) and OTPPs (occupational therapists in private practice) for remote therapeutic monitoring (RTM) services,” the CMS spokesperson said.

Advertisement

“Practically, this means that physical therapists and occupational therapists will not need to be physically present to supervise RTM services.”

Long wait times for children

A particular population of patients is adversely affected by the shortage of physical therapists, Taddonio noted.

“We have seen children in the early intervention system waiting months to get a therapist,” she said.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR HEALTH NEWSLETTER

Early intervention services help address the developmental needs of eligible infants and toddlers with disabilities up to 3 years old and their families, Taddonio said.

Advertisement

They are authorized by Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Girl in cast

“We have seen children in the early intervention system waiting months to get a therapist,” a PT said. (iStock)

“The data from early intervention reported a 33% drop [in] children being identified and serviced each year since COVID in 2019,” said Taddonio.

She has not seen pay increases for the preschool population in years — a trend she attributes largely to budget and Medicaid cuts.

“In the past 30 years that I’ve been practicing, early intervention has made two reductions in the pay rate,” the physical therapist said.

Advertisement

Fox News Digital reached out to the American Physical Therapy Association for additional comment.

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health

Health

Fasting-like diet could slow the aging process, study suggests: ‘Living longer and healthier’

Published

on

Fasting-like diet could slow the aging process, study suggests: ‘Living longer and healthier’

Join Fox News for access to this content

Plus special access to select articles and other premium content with your account – free of charge.

Please enter a valid email address.

By entering your email and pushing continue, you are agreeing to Fox News’ Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which includes our Notice of Financial Incentive. To access the content, check your email and follow the instructions provided.

Having trouble? Click here.

Could adopting a fasting-like diet help slow down aging?

That’s the claim of researchers from the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology in Los Angeles, who led a study on the benefits of a “fasting-mimicking diet” (FMD).

Advertisement

In addition to reducing biological age and immune system aging, the diet was linked to reductions in insulin resistance and liver fat, according to a press release from the university.

TIME-RESTRICTED EATING NO MORE BENEFICIAL THAN CALORIC RESTRICTION IN OBESE PATIENTS, STUDY SAYS

The findings, published in Nature Communications on Feb. 20, were based on clinical trials that included 100 men and women between 18 and 70 years old.

Half of the group was randomly assigned to the FMD, adhering to the diet for five days followed by 25 days of normal eating for three or four cycles.

A fasting-mimicking diet was found to reduce biological age and immune system aging, as well as insulin resistance and liver fat, in a new study. (iStock)

Advertisement

The control group ate either a normal diet or a Mediterranean-style diet.

The people in the FMD group showed decreased abdominal and liver fat, as well as reduced risk of metabolic syndrome, which can lead to heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

HIDDEN BELLY FAT COULD SIGNAL ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE RISK 15 YEARS BEFORE SYMPTOMS SHOW UP, STUDY FINDS

Those on the experimental diet also showed signs of a more youthful immune system.

Overall, the FMD adopters’ biological age was reduced by an average of 2.5 years based on the functioning of their cells and tissues, the researchers found.

Advertisement
Drinking tea

In the USC study, the fasting-mimicking diet included energy bars, plant-based soups, chip snacks, energy drinks and tea. (iStock)

“I think it is surprising that three cycles of the FMD done for only five days a month (15 days total) — which allow people to have modified/low calorie but regular meals and without changing the normal diet of the participants for the rest of the month — can have such an effect on biological age, body fat and a range of disease risk factors,” senior author Valter Longo, USC Leonard Davis School Professor, told Fox News Digital.

FASTING COULD REDUCE SIGNS OF ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE, STUDIES SUGGEST: ‘PROFOUND EFFECTS’

If the cycles were continued for three cycles a year for 20 years, Longo projected that the FMD could reduce biological age by 11 years and reduce the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes by 10% to 30%. 

“However, these are only simulations — and additional studies are necessary to confirm this potential of the FMD cycles,” he added.

Energy drinks

Half of the group was randomly assigned to the FMD, adhering to the diet for five days followed by 25 days of normal eating for three or four cycles. (iStock)

Prior studies in mice have identified additional benefits of the FMD, including reduced risk of age-related diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes, Vongo pointed out.

Advertisement

The diet has been previously to reduced chemo side effects, greater stem cell regeneration and reduced signs of dementia, the release stated.

What is the fasting-mimicking diet?

Originally developed by Longo, the FMD is a five-day diet that is low in overall calories, protein and carbohydrates and high in unsaturated fat.

The eating plan is designed to mimic a pure fast while still allowing consumption of essential nutrients.

MEDITERRANEAN DIET COULD HELP REDUCE BELLY FAT AND MUSCLE LOSS CAUSED BY AGING, STUDY FINDS

“The fasting-mimicking diet (FMD), also known as the ProLon Diet, has been around for approximately seven years and has been studied in multiple clinical trials,” Erin Palinski-Wade, a New Jersey-based registered dietitian, told Fox News Digital.

Advertisement

“By following a structured, very low-calorie nutrition plan for five days, the goal is to provide the benefits of a prolonged fast while still allowing individuals to eat,” said Palinski-Wade, who was not involved in the USC study.

“The diet is designed to transition the body into a fasting state while nourishing it with specific nutrients to avoid activating food-sensing pathways.”

Woman reaches for water glass near bed

“[The diet] allows for physical, biological and epigenetic benefits without the need for prolonged water-only fasts,” an expert said.  (iStock)

In the USC study, the fasting-mimicking diet included energy bars, plant-based soups, chip snacks, energy drinks and tea, according to the release. 

The FMD group also received a supplement with “high levels of minerals, vitamins and essential fatty acids.”

The specific diet that was tested in the two trials is commercially available, but Longo said that university rules prevent him from sharing the name of the product.

Advertisement

“In an era obsessed with superficial youth and quick fixes, the fasting-mimicking diet offers a tangible method to systematically reverse aging and enhance metabolic health.”

“I think it is important to begin to consider the plant-based FMD intervention described here for two to three times a year as a way to prevent and treat some diseases, together with the right type of drugs,” Longo said. 

This could aid in “returning to full health and living longer and healthier, rather than continuing to take progressively more drugs as we age,” he added.

For people aiming to prevent or treat diseases through the use of an FMD, Longo said people should first talk to a doctor.

Other experts weigh in on the diet

Melanie Avalon, an Atlanta-based health influencer who hosts “The Intermittent Fasting Podcast,” was not involved in the study, but noted that the research provides “solid data” on how dietary and lifestyle changes affect the aging process.

Advertisement

“Our society’s fascination with youth and longevity is well-known; however, measuring progress and biological improvements is often subjective,” she told Fox News Digital. 

Woman meal plan

While fasting is often pursued for its visible weight loss benefits, an expert noted that this study highlights its extended benefits for metabolic health. (iStock)

“The concept of ‘chronological age’ can mislead when assessing the body’s aging rate and predicting lifespan,” Avalon went on. 

“For the first time, this study reveals that a fasting-mimicking diet can reduce one’s biological age.”

While traditional fasting can be daunting for some, FMD can be a more feasible alternative.

“It allows for physical, biological and epigenetic benefits without the need for prolonged water-only fasts,” she said. 

Advertisement

AVOID THESE FAD DIETS IN 2024; TRY THESE HEALTHY METHODS OF EATING INSTEAD

While fasting is often pursued for its visible weight loss benefits, Avalon noted that this study highlights FMD’s extended benefits for metabolic health.

“In an era obsessed with superficial youth and quick fixes, the fasting-mimicking diet offers a tangible method to systematically reverse aging and enhance metabolic health,” she said.

“Unlike the costly and extreme measures of ‘biohacking,’ the FMD provides an accessible and practical solution to reduce biological age.”

Potential risks and limitations

Tanya Freirich, a registered dietitian nutritionist in Charlotte, North Carolina, who practices as The Lupus Dietitian, cautioned that she would not recommend the fasting-mimicking diet to any person who has struggled with an eating disorder in the past or who has trouble controlling their blood sugar.

Advertisement

“Restricting and changing eating patterns may have negative effects,” she said. 

Woman eating healthy

The fasting-mimicking diet could aid in “returning to full health and living longer and healthier, rather than continuing to take progressively more drugs as we age,” the study author said. (iStock)

Palinski-Wade agreed that those with underlying health conditions should speak to their physician before considering a restrictive diet plan. 

“A very low-calorie diet may not be appropriate for those with uncontrolled diabetes, a history of hypoglycemia, a history of disordered eating, or those who are pregnant or nursing,” she said.

Before making any dietary changes, Freirich stressed the need for “extensive education” to be provided.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR HEALTH NEWSLETTER

Advertisement

“While changing the timing and amount of our food intake is an approach worth examining, it is also important to remember to choose health-promoting foods daily,” the dietitian continued. 

“The food choices we make daily have a large impact on our weight, blood sugars, heart health, immune system and more. If fasting doesn’t feel like the right choice for you, speaking with a registered dietitian about the dietary changes for your health is always recommended.”

Nutritionist

Before making any dietary changes, a nutritionist (not pictured) told Fox News Digital that people need “extensive education” to be provided. (iStock)

The study had some limitations, both dietitians noted.

“It was a small sample size of healthy young-ish individuals,” Freirich said. “The results may be helpful and useful for other people after more research is completed in a larger age range and including people with other medical concerns.”  

Advertisement

Palinski-Wade reiterated that the studies on FMD have included smaller sample sizes of generally healthy adults, which means the results cannot be generalized to all populations.

“FMD may offer promising benefits and may be an excellent tool to consider for those looking to improve long-term health and reduce future disease risk, but more research is needed on larger and more diverse populations to fully understand the benefits it may offer,” she added.

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.

Continue Reading

Health

Kidney swap saves two lives, plus surprising COVID effects and IVF uncertainty

Published

on

Kidney swap saves two lives, plus surprising COVID effects and IVF uncertainty

‘SUPERBLY TIMED’ – Four Texas residents are forever connected by two kidney donations in different cities. The recipients, donors and doctors share their story. Continue reading…

DEMENTIA DRIVER? – On the heels of Wendy Williams’ diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia, experts weigh in on alcoholism’s cognitive impact. Continue reading…

STEP IT UP – Women over 60 may need fewer steps than the universally recommended 10,000. Here’s what to know. Continue reading…

woman jogging

Senior women should aim for a mixture of aerobic and weight-lifting exercises on a regular basis, a doctor said. (iStock)

PARENTAL CHOICE – After the Florida surgeon general sent guidance to parents about school attendance amid measles outbreaks, doctors share their reactions. Continue reading…

Advertisement

THIRST TRAP – “Why am I always thirsty, and what should I do about it?” A doctor responds. Continue reading…

A RUNNER’S RECOVERY – A Tennessee athlete experienced diaphragm paralysis after COVID. Here’s how he got his breath back. Continue reading…

Gerald Branim - half-marathon

Gerald Branim, 55, was a marathon runner when he got COVID, which led to a paralyzed diaphragm that stopped him in his tracks.  (Institute for Advanced Reconstruction)

PREGNANCY PRECAUTIONS – A new study reveals the share of pregnant women who develop long COVID, as experts stress the importance of vaccinations. Continue reading…

H2O HATERS – A sports dietitian shares alternatives to water for healthy hydration. Continue reading…

FROZEN PLANS – The Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling has prompted some local providers to halt IVF services. Fertility doctors react to the crackdown. Continue reading…

Advertisement
Newborn baby

A decision from the Alabama Supreme Court has led to a halt in IVF services at some locations and a flurry of protests from providers in the fertility space. (iStock)

FOLLOW FOX NEWS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Facebook

Instagram

YouTube

Twitter

LinkedIn

Advertisement

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTERS

Fox News First

Fox News Opinion

Fox News Lifestyle

Fox News Health

Fox News Autos

Advertisement

Fox News Entertainment (FOX411)

DOWNLOAD OUR APPS

Fox News

Fox Business

Fox Weather

Fox Sports

Advertisement

Tubi

WATCH FOX NEWS ONLINE

Fox News Go

STREAM FOX NATION

Fox Nation

Continue Reading

Health

Amid measles outbreaks, Florida Department of Health speaks out against ‘false information’

Published

on

Amid measles outbreaks, Florida Department of Health speaks out against ‘false information’

Amid ongoing measles outbreaks at Florida schools, the state’s Department of Health released an updated statement on Wednesday, which was provided to Fox News Digital.

There have been a total of nine confirmed measles cases as of Tuesday in Broward County, with seven of them reported at Manatee Bay Elementary in Weston, according to local reports.

Last week, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo issued a letter to parents urging them to make their own decisions about whether to send their children to school.

AMID FLORIDA MEASLES OUTBREAK, SURGEON GENERAL LETS PARENTS DECIDE WHETHER TO SEND UNVACCINATED KIDS TO SCHOOL

Typical guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is for unvaccinated children who have not had the measles to stay home for up to 21 days in the event of a potential exposure at school.

Advertisement

Amid ongoing measles outbreaks at Florida schools, the state’s Department of Health has released an updated statement.  (iStock)

“However, due to the high immunity rate in the community, as well as the burden on families and the educational cost of healthy children missing school, DOH is deferring to parents or guardians to make decisions about school attendance,” Ladapo’s letter stated. 

MEASLES PROTECTION IS PARAMOUNT BEFORE TRAVELING OUTSIDE THE US, SAYS CDC

The Florida Department of Health (FDOH) noted that details of the agency’s investigations into the outbreak are “confidential,” and claimed that “many media outlets are reporting false information and politicizing this outbreak.”

FDOH released a statement to ensure that Floridians are “correctly informed.”

Advertisement
Boy vaccination

Doctors have expressed their support of measles vaccinations and cautioned against sending unvaccinated kids to school during an outbreak. (iStock)

At Manatee Bay Elementary, where the bulk of the cases have been reported, 97% of students have received at least one dose of the MMR immunization, according to the agency.

On Tuesday, the local news outlet WSVN reported that about 30% of students at Manatee Bay Elementary were unvaccinated, according to the school board.

“Outbreaks are occurring in multiple states, and the national immunization rate for measles is less than 92%,” the statement said.

MEASLES OUTBREAKS IN US, UK HAVE HEALTH AGENCIES ON HIGH ALERT: ‘BE VIGILANT’

When a case of measles is confirmed in a school, FDOH recommends that students who have not had a prior infection or vaccination remain at home for up to 21 days.

Advertisement

“This is the period of time that the virus can be transmitted. This recommendation has been made at Manatee Bay Elementary,” the agency said.

Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo

Amid measles outbreaks in various parts of the U.S., Florida surgeon general Dr. Joseph Ladapo has issued guidance to parents regarding kids’ school attendance. He also said, “This recommendation may change as epidemiological investigations continue.” (Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/Sipa USA/Sipa via AP Images)

The last confirmed case of measles was on Feb. 15, 2024, which means the end of the 21-day infectious period is March 7, 2024.

“This may change as epidemiological investigations continue,” the statement noted.

FDOH said it has been working with Manatee Bay Elementary to educate parents on measles.

“Any parent who is concerned for their child, regardless of their immunization status, may choose to keep their children home.”

Advertisement

“Any parent who is concerned for their child, regardless of their immunization status, may choose to keep their children home and utilize continuous learning during this time,” the agency said.  

“Due to the high immunity rate, as well as the burden on families and educational cost of healthy children missing school, the surgeon general’s current guidance ensures that parents or guardians are able to make the best decisions for their families regarding school attendance,” the statement continued.

measles on a male torso

As of Tuesday, there have been a total of nine confirmed measles cases in Broward County, with seven of them reported at Manatee Bay Elementary in Weston, according to local reports. (iStock )

Other doctors have expressed their support of measles vaccinations and cautioned against sending unvaccinated kids to school during an outbreak.

“At a time when there’s a resurgence of measles in the world and travel is not restricted, and people are coming into this country with measles, it’s extremely important that our children be vaccinated against it,” Dr. Marc Siegel, clinical professor of medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, told Fox News Digital last week.

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR HEALTH NEWSLETTER

Advertisement

Amid the current measles outbreak, he said, “individual choice has to give way to public health and community preservation or safety,” Siegel said.

“The problem here is that if kids start going to school unvaccinated against measles, given how contagious it is and how effective the vaccine is, they are putting other children at risk,” the doctor added.

In a statement sent to Fox News Digital, a member of the District 2 School Board in Broward County stated that the board is working with the state and local health departments. 

“I appreciate the leadership and support by the surgeon general and welcome all resources to help our parents and children,” says Torey Alston, who was formerly a county commissioner. 

“The safety and academic success of our children remains the No. 1 priority.”

Advertisement

As of Feb. 22, 2024, a total of 35 measles cases had been reported by 15 jurisdictions across the U.S., in Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New York City, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For more Health articles, visit www.foxnews.com/health.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending