The program marks another step towards realizing the full benefits of physical therapy for treating injuries to American military personnel, veterans and their families.
Great news for those suffering with back pain: TRICARE has launched its Low Back Pain and Physical Therapy pilot program that waives cost-sharing for up to three physical therapy patient visits.
Estimates show that 1-in-4 Americans are currently suffering from low back pain, while nearly 80% of Americans will experience low back pain in their lives. Right now, there’s a good chance that you or someone you know has back pain that’s impacting their work and quality of life.
If you are a beneficiary of TRICARE, now is the time to take advantage of even more benefits being extended to military retirees and dependents. This new program debuts on a two-year trial in 10 states. CORA Physical Therapy has a clinical presence in six of those states: Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
The reason for the pilot program is to incentivize physical therapy as the preferred treatment for correcting low back pain, in place of management treatments like imaging, opioids and invasive surgery. Each of these other treatments has been linked to prolonged recovery times, increased costs and greater risk for you, the patient.
What is Low Back Pain and What Are Its Causes?
By definition, low back pain is caused by any combination of underlying conditions, including muscle strains, disc degeneration, sciatica, scoliosis, arthritis, and fibromyalgia. Anyone can have a back injury, but risk factors tend to increase with age, weight and physical deconditioning, as well as pregnancy, genetics, and occupation.
Physically demanding occupations are common within the armed forces, even if the injury does not happen during combat. The most common causes of low back pain among active military personnel tend to be heavy lifting, falls, and injuries sustained while driving. However, many patients experiencing low back pain are also a case of overuse, or mechanical damage due to excessive and prolonged sitting, bending or chronic wear and tear.
Studies have shown that approximately 80% of patients with low back pain who follow a regimen of managed care (such as physical therapy) see their symptoms subside much quicker, typically within six weeks of beginning a program.
In 2013, the Journal of American Medical Association estimated that low back and neck pain are responsible for nearly $88 billion in healthcare spending, the third-largest category in the U.S. Add in indirect costs like lost wages, inability to work and decreased productivity, and that pushes nationwide annual costs over $100 billion in losses.
Knowing how severely low back pain can impact your life, CORA is committed to helping you feel like you again.
How Can Low Back Pain Be Treated After Onset?
If you are currently managing lower back pain, please follow these steps from our certified therapists to help you get moving again.
For those military personnel, veterans, and their family members covered by TRICARE, you can now access the care you need under your current coverage simply by visiting one of CORA’s 200+ physical therapy clinics for an evaluation. At CORA, you’ll be seen by a Doctor of Physical Therapy, who can determine and treat the source of your low back pain. This includes identifying the movements and deficiencies that caused the episode to happen. Our therapists are trained to assess your injury and provide you with an individualized, targeted, and effective treatment plan, so you can feel better fast and prevent future episodes.
How Can You Get Started?
To qualify for waived cost-share, patients in the designated states must have a new “episode” of low back pain, as diagnosed by a primary care doctor, and a referral for services that are covered by TRICARE. After the third visit to CORA, cost-sharing will revert to TRICARE’s standard procedures.
Patients that meet these eligibility requirements will not be time-restricted in receiving care. Early intervention by our physical therapy specialists can help produce better outcomes, reduce costs and decrease your time to recovery.
CORA is Ready to Treat Your Back Pain Right.
Ask your therapist about TRICARE’s pilot program, and have faith in knowing you’ll receive care in a clean, safe, and protected environment. CORA is taking every precaution (resource page) during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic to mitigate your exposure while in our care.
At CORA, our goal is to provide the highest possible quality of care within the coverage that you have available. Having trouble deciding which options are best for you? Please contact our team at [email protected] with any questions.