By Jessica Bank

Did you know – 70% of Knee Replacements could be averted with conservative management.

Bupa recently released a reports stating that they pay out more than $420 million in joint replacements. Bupa showed that knee or hip replacements were the most expensive items that it paid out for in 2018. The report attributes this cost to an aging population and a population that is ever increasingly overweight.

The Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) states that these figures a alarming as physiotherapy prescribed exercise along with weight management support and an education program could avert more that 70% of knee surgeries in Australia each year. This would save up to $300 million. Physiotherapy research also highlights the cost saving that could be made by having patients get a physiotherapy review before surgery is scheduled.

The biggest cause of knee and hip replacements in Australia is Osteoarthritis. It is international best practice for all patients suffering from mild to severe osteoarthritis to be referred to a physiotherapist as the first line of care.

The Bupa Health Insurance Managing Direction Dr Dwayne Crombie states “If we want to be able to put downward pressure on health insurance premiums, we need to be able to trial different ways of delivering healthcare which don’t affect quality of care but may reduce cost of give patients more choice.”

However APA national president Phil Cavert says “currently, consumers have to pay more out of their pockets when they take up an early intervention management program for their OA by pro-actively seeking appropriate physio care. Yet if they choose surgery as a first option – which we are clearly seeing all too often judging by these Bupa payout figures – their knee or hip replacement surgery is fully funded via their hospital cover. This just does not make sense”.

We offer supervised exercise programs to help you get your life back. Don’t you think it is a good idea to give conservative management a try first before opting for surgery. Imagine if we were able to prevent your surgery from happening. Wouldn’t that be amazing.