OT and Primary Care

by Cheryl Hall on July 29th, 2023

Primary health care is shown on the photo using the text[/caption]If you follow my blogs, you know my favorite OT setting is home health. What better place to support a person’s most meaningful occupations but in their own home?

But, with its potential to impact a much larger population, I am starting to think OT in a primary health care setting could compete for my top spot.

I know there are barriers, but they are similar to the barriers faced by OT in every setting: reimbursement and a limited understanding of OT.

So how can we change that? Advocate and educate!

I have linked some articles with key takeaways to give you inspiration to advocate for OT on every primary health care team.

Occupational Therapy and Primary Care: Updates and Trends, The American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 2018

  • Alternative payment models in the U.S. incentivize new models of care that improve patient outcomes including adding OT.
  • OT already has a robust role supporting primary care focus areas including health management, wellness and prevention.
  • In other nations, the inclusion of OT in primary care results in improved patient function, better quality of life, increased satisfaction and engagement as well as reduced adverse events like falls.

How Occupational Therapy Can Contribute to the Primary Care Team and Reduce Physician Burden, Family Practice Management Journal, 2023

  • This pilot program by Mayo Clinic of Arizona identifies the CPT codes for common OT services in primary care including support for chronic disease management as well as physical and rehabilitation interventions.
  • Physicians involved in the 18-month pilot had remarkable changes in their opinion of the importance of OT. The percentage that agreed or strongly agreed with the statement: “There is a need for OT services in primary care practice.” jumped from 13% to 96%.
  • The pilot also measured the positive ROI OT generated– which like it or not – is the future of health care.

Occupational Therapy in Primary Care: Positioned and Prepared to Be a Vital Part of the Team, American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 2019

  • Outlines the various steps the OT profession and AOTA have taken to be recognized and reimbursed for services in a primary care setting.
  • Discusses the need for OT educators to include this setting in curriculum and fieldwork.
  • Highlights three key populations that could benefit: geriatric care, pain management and pediatric care.

Primary Care Occupational Therapy: A Quick Reference Guide, 2023

  • This reference covers a wide range of conditions treated by OT with clinical guidance for Alzheimer’s to visual impairments.
  • Administrative and operational considerations are also covered including reimbursement, regulation and service delivery models.

Are you an OT practicing in a primary care setting? I would love to hear about your experience.

  • About Me

    Cheryl Hall
    Occupational Therapist
    Maryland, United States

    Welcome to a site devoted to sharing experience, knowledge and resources to make your job of being a great therapist a lot easier.

    I have been an occupational therapist for more than 30 years. I graduated from San Jose State University with degrees in Occupational Therapy, Gerontology, and Early Child Development. My passion is working with adults and children in home health but I have also worked in rehab, sub-acute rehab, hand therapy, transitional living for TBI, and hospital-based outpatient settings.

  • Previous Posts