Many are hailing this week's passage of the health care reform bill to be a panacea for the medical industry. ARN does not share their euphoria and predicts it will doom the nascent aquatic therapy industry.
From Day One, politicians have made it apparent that the bill's overarching goal is that of saving money, not lives. This is perhaps the most alarming and heartless aspect of the legislation. It means that government's priorities are not our priorities (i.e. patients) and it goes against the ethics healthcare providers have sworn to uphold. This is a no-win dilemma for it either turns us into an enemy-of-the-state for serving the people that need us the most or turns us into cold, heartless bureaucrats for following the law. Both are criminal.
Apart from the moral toll, this bill will also impact the industry financially. Saving money means making cuts and that means your wages and your reimbursements. This was best seen in last year's budget shortfalls that caused many states to cut basic therapy coverage. If a governor can refuse payment for physical therapy, imagine what the feds have planned for your aquatic therapy practice.
Finally, government good-intentions never turn out as planned. The Virginia Graeme Baker Act is one especially-relevant example. Passed in 2007, this sweeping legislation was meant to prevent entrapment deaths in all the nation's pools. What it has resulted in is a muddle of regulations, closed pools and the potential for more drowning deaths.
We at Aquatic Resources Network believe in private enterprise; the hospital who sees a need and makes the risky move of building a new rehab clinic for their community. We believe in personal spirit and the power of the individual; the therapist who breaks out into private practice because she believes she can make things better. These freedoms benefit others because they first benefit us. And while private enterprise may not be perfect, it is far better than the alternative: government-run monopolies who have no incentive to improve their service and can employ force-of-arms to get its way.
We love a challenge and in keeping with our goal of seeing all clinics "feet-wet by '38", know that we will fight as long as we can to see that you succeed. Because if you are out of business, we are out of business.
Lee Salzman, CEO