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How do PM&R docs get patients?

phillyfornia

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    stupid question but i was wondering how physiatrists get patients. the reason i ask is b/c i have never known anyone who has seen a PMR doc. it seems like usually when someone gets hurt, they'll see their PCP and then get a referral to an orthopedist (if they need surgery) or a PT. occasionally someone will be sent to a neurologist or something.
     

    axm397

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    1. Attending Physician
      phillyfornia said:
      stupid question but i was wondering how physiatrists get patients. the reason i ask is b/c i have never known anyone who has seen a PMR doc. it seems like usually when someone gets hurt, they'll see their PCP and then get a referral to an orthopedist (if they need surgery) or a PT. occasionally someone will be sent to a neurologist or something.
      Referrals do come from educated PCPs, orthopedists who feel the patient is not a surgical candidate, docs who want EMGs done, pts who recently got discharged from rehab (SCI pts, TBI pts, stroke pts, etc.), rehab docs may be medical directors of nursing facilities/subacute rehab/etc., PTs may recommend that patients get a medical eval before starting PT or if they make no progress in PT, Neuro after the initial diagnosis, etc etc hard to think of all the possibilities.

      The other thing is, patients may NOT know they are seeing physiatrists. They may be seeing their sports medicine doc, pain management doc, etc. One of the problems of the field is the lack of awareness in the public of the field.
       

      phillyfornia

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        do PCPs, neurologists, and orthopods often refer patients to physiatrists? i guess what i'm trying to ask is whether there is a high demand for physiatrists. is it easy to get patients? or do you have to go around convincing PCPs, neurologists, orthopods, and Physical Therapists for patient referrals?
         

        drusso

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          Good Questions. The last time that the profession formally assessed the issue was back in 1995 and at that time the major concern was the impact of managed care on physiatric practice. It's probably time to study the issue again. The link to the report below addresses some of your questions. I'll make it a sticky.

          PM&R Workforce Demand
           
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