The Edmond Sun

Opinion

September 30, 2009

CEO: Rehabilitation services needs to be part of health care debate

EDMOND — The health care debate often focuses on all the problems and frustrations associated with the current health care industry. What is typically overlooked is the discussion about what is working well in our existing health care system.

Rehabilitation is without question, one shining example of health care that is working well. Rehabilitation is a medical specialty that helps people affected by potentially disabling diseases or traumatic injuries be restored to good health and functional lives, minimizing physical and cognitive disabilities. Rehabilitation addresses the multiple effects that disability has on a patient and their family and works through an interdisciplinary team of professionals to maximize recovery.

Treatment is individualized so every patient can progress at his or her ability level. During National Rehabilitation Week, I am proud to promote the unequivocal success of rehabilitation and I join my colleagues in celebrating the heroic efforts of the many dedicated rehabilitation professionals and therapists whose expertise and encouragement positively impact the lives of patients each and every day in Oklahoma.

Studies consistently show that most Americans will require at least one rehabilitation service at some point in their lives and the demand is expected to increase. This increasing need for rehabilitation is due to several factors, including a high incidence of heart attacks and strokes among the baby boomer generation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a large aging population and medical advances that improve survivability for patients.

Research consistently proves that physical, occupational and speech therapy can provide a cost-effective alternative to expensive surgeries, prescription drugs and the use of medical devices to treat musculoskeletal and cardiopulmonary problems.

For every $1 spent on rehabilitation services, it is estimated that $11 is saved on long-term disability cost. Nearly one in 50 people are living with paralysis as the result of stroke, multiple sclerosis, motor vehicle accidents and other causes, according to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.

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Poll

If the Republican runoff for the 5th District congressional seat were today, which candidate would you vote for?

Patrice Douglas
Steve Russell
Undecided
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