Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT HAPPENS DURING MY FIRST VISIT?
- Arrive at your appointment with your paperwork completed (you can download it from our website).
- You will provide us with your prescription for physical therapy.
- We will copy your insurance card.
- You will be seen for the initial evaluation by the therapist.
- The therapist will discuss the following:Your medical history.
- Your current problems/complaints.
- Pain intensity, what aggravates and eases the problem.
- How this is impacting your daily activities or your functional limitations.
- Your goals with physical therapy.
- Medications, tests and procedures related to your health.
- The therapist will then perform the objective evaluation which may include some of the following:
- Palpation – touching around the area of the pain/problem. This is done to check for the presence of tenderness, swelling, soft tissue integrity, tissue temperature, inflammation, etc.
- Range of Motion (ROM) – the therapist will move the joint(s) to check for the quality of movement and any restrictions.
- Muscle Testing – the therapist may check for strength and the quality of the muscle contraction. Pain and weakness may be noted. Often the muscle strength is graded. This is also part of a neurological screening.
- Neurological Screening – the therapist may check to see how the nerves are communicating with the muscles, sensing touch, pain, vibration or temperature. Reflexes may be assessed as well.
- Special Tests – the therapist may perform special tests to confirm or rule out the presence of additional problems.
- Posture Assessment – the positions of joints relative to ideal and each other may be assessed.
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING WITH ME?
Make sure you bring your physical therapy referral (provided to you by your doctor) and your payment information. If your insurance is covering the cost of physical therapy, bring your insurance card. If you are covered by Workers’ Compensation, bring your claim number and your case manager’s contact information. If you are covered by auto insurance or an attorney lien, make sure you bring this information.
HOW SHOULD I DRESS?
You should wear loose fitting clothing so you can expose the area that we will be evaluating and treating. For example, if you have a knee problem, it is best to wear shorts. For a shoulder problem, a tank top is a good choice, and for lower back problems, wear a loose fitting shirt and pants, again so we can perform a thorough examination.
HOW LONG WILL EACH TREATMENT LAST?Treatment sessions
typically last 30 to 60 minutes per visit.
HOW MANY VISITS WILL I NEED?
This is highly variable. You may need one visit or you may need months of care. It depends on your diagnosis, the severity of your impairments, your past medical history, etc. You will be re-evaluated on a monthly basis and when you see your doctor, we will provide you with a progress report with our recommendations.
WHY IS PHYSICAL THERAPY A GOOD CHOICE?
More than half of all Americans are suffering from pain. Whether it is a recent episode or chronic, an ABC News/Stanford study revealed that pain in America is a serious problem. However, many do not even know that physical therapists are well equipped to not only treat pain but also its source.
Physical therapists are experts at treating movement and neuro-musculoskeletal disorders. Pain often accompanies a movement disorder, and physical therapists can help correct the disorder and relieve the pain.
WHAT DO PHYSICAL THERAPISTS DO?
You have probably heard of the profession of physical therapy. Maybe you have had a conversation with a friend about how physical therapy helped get rid of his or her back pain, or you might know someone who needed physical therapy after an injury. You might even have been treated by a physical therapist yourself. But have you ever wondered about physical therapists–who they are and what they do? Many people are familiar with physical therapists’ work helping patients with orthopedic problems, such as low back pain or knee surgeries, to reduce pain and regain function. Others may be aware of the treatment that physical therapists provide to assist patients recovering from a stroke (e.g., assisting them with recovering use of their limbs and walking again).
The ability to maintain an upright posture and to move your arms and legs to perform all sorts of tasks and activities is an important component of your health. Most of us can learn to live with the various medical conditions that we may develop, but only if we are able to continue at our jobs, take care of our families, and enjoy important occasions with family and friends. All of these activities require the ability to move without difficulty or pain.
Because physical therapists are experts in movement and function, they do not confine their talents to treating people who are ill. A large part of a physical therapist’s program is directed at preventing injury, loss of movement, and even surgery. Physical therapists work as consultants in industrial settings to improve the design of the workplace and reduce the risk of workers overusing certain muscles or developing low back pain. They also provide services to athletes at all levels to screen for potential problems and institute preventive exercise programs. With the boom in the golf and fitness industries, a number of physical therapists are engaged in consulting with recreational golfers and fitness clubs to develop workouts that are safe and effective, especially for people who already know that they have a problem with their joints or their backs.
The cornerstones of physical therapy treatment are therapeutic exercise and functional training. In addition to “hands-on” care, physical therapists also educate patients to take care of themselves and to perform certain exercises on their own. Depending on the particular needs of a patient, physical therapists may also “mobilize” a joint (that is, perform certain types of movements at the end of your range of motion) or massage a muscle to promote proper movement and function. Physical therapists also use methods such as ultrasound (which uses high frequency waves to produce heat), hot packs, and ice. Although other kinds of practitioners will offer some of these treatments as “physical therapy,” it’s important for you to know that physical therapy can only be provided by qualified physical therapists or by physical therapist assistants, who must complete a 2-year education program and who work only under the direction and supervision of physical therapists.
Most forms of physical therapy treatment are covered by your insurance, but the coverage will vary with each plan. Most states do not legally require patients to see their physicians before seeing a physical therapist. Most of the time all you have to do is ask your doctor if physical therapy is right for you.
WHY ARE PEOPLE REFERRED TO PHYSICAL THERAPY?
You and others may be referred to physical therapy because of a movement dysfunction associated with pain. Your difficulty with moving part(s) of your body (like bending at the low back or difficulty sleeping on your shoulder, etc.) very likely results in limitations with your daily activities (e.g., difficulty getting out of a chair, an inability to play sports, or trouble with walking, etc.). Physical therapists treat these movement dysfunctions and their associated pains, and restore your body’s ability to move in a normal manner.
WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE A PRIVATE PRACTICE PHYSICAL THERAPIST?
We believe that we can provide you with the highest quality of care available and do it in a cost-effective manner.
You will work closely with your physical therapist and in most instances, your case will be managed by the same physical therapist from the beginning to the end of your experience with us.
WHO PAYS FOR THE TREATMENT?
In most cases, health insurance will cover your treatment. We accept the following insurances:
- AARP Secure Horizons
- Align Networks
- Automobile Accidents
- Beech Street
- Blue Cross
- Empire Plan
- Integrated Health Plan
- Medicare Replacement Plans
- Neighborhood Health Partnership
- United Healthcare
- Universal Healthcare
- Workman’s Compensation
Please make sure you talk to our receptionist so we can help you clarify your insurance coverage.
WHO WILL SEE ME?
You will be evaluated by one of our licensed and highly trained physical therapists and he/she will also treat you during subsequent visits. Unlike some clinics, where you see someone different each visit, we feel it is very important to develop a one-on-one relationship with you to maintain continuity of care. Since only one physical therapist knows your problems best, he/she is the one that will be working closely with you to speed your recovery.
ARE THERE PHYSICAL THERAPY SPECIALISTS?
IS PHYSICAL THERAPY PAINFUL?
In some cases, physical therapy techniques can be painful. For example, recovering knee range of motion after total knee replacement or shoulder range of motion after shoulder surgery may be painful. Your physical therapist will utilize a variety of techniques to help maximize your treatment goals. It is important that you communicate the intensity, frequency and duration of pain to your therapist. Without this information, it is difficult for the therapist to adjust your treatment plan.
WHAT TYPES OF TREATMENTS WILL I RECEIVE?
WILL I GET A MASSAGE AT PHYSICAL THERAPY?
WHAT HAPPENS IF MY PROBLEM OR PAIN RETURNS?
CAN I GO TO ANY PHYSICAL THERAPY CLINIC?
The best thing to do is give us a call and we will attempt to answer all of your questions.
CAN I GO DIRECTLY TO MY PHYSICAL THERAPIST?
Seeing a physical therapist first is safe and could save you hundreds of dollars or even thousands of dollars.
CAN MY THERAPIST PROVIDE ME WITH A DIAGNOSIS?
Physical therapists are important members of your medical team. At this point in time, physicians are typically the health care providers that will provide you with a medical diagnosis.
HOW DOES THE BILLING PROCESS WORK?
- The physical therapist bills your insurance company, Workers’ Comp, or charges you based on Common Procedure Terminology (CPT) codes.
- Those codes are transferred to a billing form that is either mailed or electronically communicated to the payer.
- The payer processes this information and makes payments according to an agreed upon fee schedule.
- An Explanation of Benefits (EOB) is generated and sent to the patient and the physical therapy clinic with a check for payment and a balance due by the patient.
- The patient is expected to make the payment on the balance if any.
It is important to understand that there are many small steps (beyond the outline provided above) within the process. Exceptions are common to the above example as well. At any time along the way, information may be missing, miscommunicated, or misunderstood. This can delay the payment process. While it is common for the payment process to be completed in 60 days or less, it is not uncommon for the physical therapy clinic to receive payment as long as six months after the treatment date.
WHAT WILL I HAVE TO DO AFTER PHYSICAL THERAPY?
IS MY THERAPIST LICENSED?
HOW DO I CHOOSE A PHYSICAL THERAPY CLINIC?
- The therapist should be licensed in the state.
- The first visit should include a thorough medical history and physical examination before any treatment is rendered.
- Your goals should be discussed in detail during the first visit.
- Care should include a variety of techniques which might include hands-on techniques, soft tissue work, therapeutic exercises and, in some cases, heat, cold, electrical stimulation or ultrasound.
- Do they have a service that can address your problem?
- Do they take your insurance or are they willing to work with you if they are not a preferred provider?
- They should be conveniently located. Since sitting and driving often aggravate orthopedic problems, there should be a very good reason for you to drive a long distance for rehabilitation.
- What are the hours of operation?
- Can they provide satisfaction survey results?
- The therapist should provide the treatment.
- Can you briefly interview the therapist before the first visit?
- Ask your family and friends who they would recommend.