I want to know what organizations are advocating the most for our profession. I work with Physical Therapists and they have APTA. Here is their leadership: http://www.apta.org/BOD/
In contrast, I look at the ACSM leadership and see: http://www.acsm.org/about-acsm/who-we-are/leadership
Am I the only one that sees a difference here? Am I wrong in assuming that very few people in the ACSM organization are, or were, practicing exercise physiologists or fitness professionals? What I am really getting at is what organization(s) are helping out our field when it comes to legislation and advocacy? With all these certifying bodies, it isn’t like we can get them all to work together like APTA.
I think that these questions bring up implications with who we become certified by. Do you want your money going to an organization that may or may not have your best interests in mind? What are your thoughts on this and what good are different organizations doing for our profession?
In my opinion, the problem with reimbursement for personal training is as follows:
1. Personal training doesn’t guarantee the outcomes that the insurance companies are looking for. The education base of personal trainers is very diverse and some trainers simply do not have good outcomes. In addition, the plans of action that are outlined by different certifying bodies can range, and many trainers ignore them because they are often behind the times. If a weight loss client walks into a gym, the plan that will be provided simply varies too greatly to be able to predict outcomes. Additionally, there would have to be proof that personal training leads to good long-term outcomes. If a client loses 25 pounds initially, but regains 30 pounds within a year or two (not out of the norm in many case or scientific studies), then that doesn’t really help the client or save insurance companies any money.
2. Personal training (1 on 1) is not an efficient delivery of services. This is realistically a luxury service for those who can afford it. If weight loss is the goal, I can easily train 3-5 clients at the same time and deliver very close to the same service as 1 on 1 training. When considering health care costs, if I can get 80-90% of the results, for 35-50% of the cost, that is efficient delivery of services.
3. Reimbursement for services always opens up the potential for fraud. To combat this fraud, it seems that insurance companies and Medicare bombard you with paperwork. If personal training ever gained any form of compensation, I would not be surprised to see paperwork akin to that found in a physical therapy settings. Assessments, discharges, having to fight with insurance companies over how many sessions are necessary, etc. If it went this route, you would not even want to bother.
In my opinion, our best bet would be to fight for small compensation from employers, or insurance companies, for small to moderate size group sessions. If it would normally cost the client $15/session, perhaps they could get $5 reimbursed per session. This is considerably less than a $15-30+ dollar copay for physical therapy.
I appreciate your participation in this discussion. Regardless of our opinions differing, it would be nice if we had an outlet to discuss these with an organization that was ready to back us. As mentioned earlier in the discussion, APTA fights for legislation for their professionals. Who is fighting for us?