Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
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What happens during my first visit?
In order to insure that you get the maximum time with your physical therapist please arrive 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment time for registration.
- 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.
- 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/rule out the presence of additional problems.
- Posture Assessment - the positions of joints relative to ideal and each other may be assessed.
The therapist will then formulate a list of problems you are having, and how to treat those problems. A plan is subsequently developed with the patient's input. This includes how many times you should see the therapist per week, how many weeks you will need therapy, home programs, patient education, short-term/long-term goals, and what is expected after discharge from therapy. This plan is created with input from you, your therapist, and your doctor.
What do I need to bring with me?
Physical Therapy prescription from your doctor. California offers “Direct Access Physical Therapy” which means that you do not need a prescription to receive physical therapy. However, many insurance companies require a prescription so please check with your insurance to see if a prescription is needed for reimbursement. If you are not planning to submit to insurance then you do not need a prescription.
XRAY and/or MRI reports if you have them.
Loose, comfortable clothing, yoga pants or shorts as appropriate for your condition. If you are coming in for an issue with your lower body please bring a pair of shorts.
What should I wear?
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 low back problems, wear a loose fitting shirt and pants, again so we can perform a thorough examination. Please refrain from wearing perfumes and fragrances to our office.
How long will each treatment last?
Treatments are one-on-one with your therapist for 50-60 minutes. Your therapist may request that you come in early to warm up or stay longer for modalities if needed.
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. Because our sessions are 50-55 minutes with a licensed, experienced physical therapist most of our patients find that they require less visits than at other physical therapy offices where they only spend 15-30 minutes with a therapist.
Why should I choose a private practice physical therapist?
Who is better to see, a PT that works for a physician or a PT that owns a private practice? We leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions but here are some facts. The studies indicate there were more treatments (visits per patient were 39% to 45% higher in physician owned clinics) and the cost was greater for those patients that attended a physician owned physical therapy practice (both gross and net revenue per patient were 30% to 40% higher)1.
Another study indicated that licensed and non-licensed therapy providers spent less time with each patient in physician owned clinics and physical therapy assistants were substituted for physical therapists.2
We believe that we can provide you with the highest quality of care available and do it in a cost-effective manner.3 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.
- Mitchell, J., Scott, E., Physician Ownership of Physical Therapy Services: Effects on Charges, Utilization, Profits, and Service Characteristics, Journal of the American Medical Association, 1992.
- "Joint Ventures Among Health Care Providers in Florida," State of Florida Health Care Cost Containment Board, 1991.
- Federal Office of the Inspector General May 1, 2006 - This report calls into question billing processes done by non-physical therapist owned practices.
Who pays for the treatment?
In most cases health insurance will pay for a portion of your treatment. Our front office staff will be happy to call your insurance company to verify your physical therapy benefits and discuss your coverage with you. We offer a discounted rate to patients who choose to pay us at the time of service and submit the bill to their insurance company themselves.
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.
What types of treatments will I receive?
What happens if my problem or pain returns?
Flare ups are not uncommon. If you have a flare up (exacerbation), give us a call. We may suggest you come back to see us, return to your doctor, or simply modify your daily activities or exercise routine.
Can I go to any physical therapy clinic?
In most cases you have the right to choose any physical therapy clinic even if your doctor refers you to a specific location.
Can I go directly to my physical therapist?
California offers direct access that means that you can go directly to physical therapy. If you are not making significant improvement within a period of time the therapist will refer you to a physician for further diagnosis.
Will my insurance pay for "out of network" physical therapy?
Most insurance plans offer some reimbursement for out of network services. It is best to check with your individual policy to see if you have out of network physical therapy benefits. We are also happy to help you verify your benefits. We offer a “superbill” (an itemized form) that you will then submit to your insurance. Most plans also require a claim form that you can obtain on their website. You then mail or fax these to the insurance and they will send you a check based upon the out of network benefits your plan provides. We are happy to help you with this process so please ask us if you have questions.
What will I have to do after physical therapy?
Some patients will need to continue with home exercises. Some may choose to continue with a gym exercise program. Others will complete their rehabilitation and return to normal daily activities. It is important that you communicate your goals to your therapist, so he/she can develop a custom program for you.
Is my therapist licensed?
Physical Therapists (PTs) are licensed in their respective states.
How do I choose a physical therapy clinic?
These are some things you may consider when seeking a physical therapy clinic:
- The therapist should be licensed in the state.
- How much time will the therapist spend with you?
- Is treatment one-on-one with the physical therapist?
- The first visit should include a thorough medical history and physical examination before any treatment is rendered.
- 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.
- The therapist should provide the treatment.
- Ask your family and friends who they would recommend.
- Yelp and Social media reviews.