Jason Kart, Owner and Physical Therapist at Core Physical Therapy, was interviewed by host Adam Torres on the Mission Matters Innovation Podcast.
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Jason Kart talks with Mission Matters about how Core Physical Therapy is trying to improve the quality of care for physical therapy patients.
What mission matters to you?
Kart says the primary goal of Core Physical Therapy is to provide therapists and patients with the time and effort they need to reach their functional goals.
(Kart says Core Physical Therapy’s mission is to bring back the fundamental pieces of great physical therapy care: time and critical analysis. Kart believes these are the cornerstones of a comprehensive plan of care that yields the best results for patients. In the end, the ultimate goal is to provide a high quality visit every encounter to provide cost effective care.)
How did you get started on your journey?
After completing physical therapy school, Kart’s career began at Harvard Sports Medicine. Soon afterward, he moved to Chicago and started working for “big-box companies” but quickly realized his views on patient care were not aligning with his employers’. The best patient visits, he says, are those where enough time is allotted to diagnose and treat while answering the patient’s questions in a meaningful way. This, however, wasn’t happening with those companies. He decided to chart his own path, with thoughtful, high-quality patient care as his top priority.
“In 2012, my grandmother decided to help me with the money to begin Core Physical Therapy,” he says. “The goal was to provide time-intrinsic physical therapy care.” It was rough in the beginning, he admits, but after nearly ten years of dedication and hustle, Core Physical Therapy has four successful locations in Chicago.
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What are some current care model challenges in physical therapy?
Physical therapy is a fee-for-service industry, Kart explains: the more often a patient comes in, the more money therapists can make. But when frequency becomes the prime focus, it can take away from the specific value of each patient visit. Treatment techniques, irrespective of being phenomenal on their own, should fit into the framework of each patient’s healing process, he says.
Volumize-based care models also pose the challenge of time. “The time that patient spends with the physical therapist is where the magic lies,” he says. “10-15 minutes are not enough to understand the complexity of the patient’s case.”
Kart also points out the challenge of dealing with insurance reimbursements. The cost of care is expensive, and to bill insurance companies, providers have to increase their overhead, which makes everything go up.
Kart points out the endless cycle and consequences of the volumized model. It requires therapists to see more patients in a day, which can decrease or limit the quality of care they can deliver. This does equate to more treatments however “patients end up spending more during their course of care, therapists get overwhelmed and burnt out.” Kart says.
Tell us about the model Core Physical Therapy follows.
At Core Physical Therapy, Kart provides patients with a guarantee that they’ll have an hour-long initial evaluation with their physical therapist. This includes reaching the right diagnosis, educating the patient about the problem and the science behind its healing, initiating treatment, and drafting a plan of care and home exercise program. Each subsequent visit ensures a minimum 30-minute consultation with their therapist during their appointment, he notes.
(Kart believes that what sets his company apart is its willingness to find ways to cut overhead through automation. “We have found so many avenues that allows us to reduce our costs of doing business.,” he says. “We take those saving and invest them in the quality of our product; giving our therapists the time and support they need to impart real change in the patients’ lives.”)
What’s your take on patients turning to social media for treatment advice?
“I love when patients are proactive,” Kart says. “The ones who are involved in their care do the best.” But, he says, since so many people experience muscle problems, assumptions can form without context, and the real reason behind someone’s pain may get overlooked. The human body is complex, he says, and there’s rarely a simple, one-size-fits-all answer like videos on social media often suggest. It’s important to identify a problem’s root cause and analyze it critically. That, he stresses, is a job for a trained physical therapist.
What’s next for you and Core Physical Therapy?
With four clinics and potentially a fifth opening later this year, Kart says the team is focused on growing organically. He’s also in the process of developing a clinical education/mentorship program to help his therapists further develop their practices.