Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
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Do I need a prescription and/or a referral?
Most plans require and prescription and/or a referral. These are items that you either receive from your doctor or your doctor’s office submits to your insurance company. Most HMO plans will require these. Most PPO plans do not require these. However, every plan is different and the best way to determine if you need a prescription and/or a referral is to call the customer service number on the back of your insurance card and give them our NPI number: 1932130465. Alternatively, you can call our office anytime and we can help you answer this question!
How do I make a payment?
To make a payment online, simply click the button at the top center of the webpage titled “make a payment.” You will be prompted to enter information related to your statement, so have the statement handy. Fill out the required fields and finalize the transaction (Click here for a step by step guide) Once the payment has processed, it will be posted to your account. Alternatively, you can contact our office here to pay by telephone.
Can I go to any Physical Therapy clinic?
This is a very important issue that many are not aware of: You can seek physical therapy treatment at any clinic you would like, no matter who is referring you to physical therapy.
You can see any physical therapist without a physician referral. However, if you are having insurance pay for physical therapy, in most cases insurance providers require a referral from your medical provider.
Your medical provider, however, does not determine where you can or cannot go to physical therapy. It is 100% your choice. They may provide suggestions, but you can choose to receive care anywhere you prefer, regardless if it is part of your provider’s medical group or hospital system.
Who will see me, and will it always be the same person?
You will be evaluated by one of our licensed and highly trained physical therapists. 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. We have found that this will help make your recovery much more effective and efficient. In cases of schedule conflicts, our PTs communicate regularly with each other if you need to temporarily switch to another PT at our clinic.
How long will each treatment last?
Treatment sessions typically last 30 to 60 minutes per visit.
What happens if I cannot make my appointment?
If you cannot make your appointment, we ask that you notify us with 24 hours notice. We have a late-cancel policy which you can read here, along with our other payment policies. When you call to cancel your appointment, we will work to reschedule it to a time that is convenient for you.
What happens during my first visit?
During your first visit you can expect the following:
- Arrive at your appointment with your paperwork completed (you can download it from our website - see the paperwork or forms link).
- You will provide us with your prescription for physical therapy if you are using insurance.
- We will copy your insurance card if you are using insurance.
- 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.
- Your therapist will then perform the evaluation consisting of various tests and measures
Your therapist will then formulate a list of problems you are having, and how to treat those problems. A plan is subsequently developed with your input. This includes how many treatments 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, us, and your doctor.
What do I need to bring with me?
Make sure you bring your physical therapy referral if you are utilizing insurance (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 your insurance claim information and adjustor’s and attorney’s contact 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 low back problems, wear a loose-fitting shirt and pants, again so we can perform a thorough examination.
How many visits will I need?
This is highly variable and will be determined at your first visit. 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 monthly and when you see your doctor, we will provide you with a progress report with our recommendations.
Why is Physical Therapy a good choice?
Extensive research has proven that physical therapy works for treating multiple types of pain, optimizing performance, and reducing the risks of preventable diseases that are often secondary to pain and injury.
While many options only address the symptoms, physical therapy aims to both reduce your pain and the find the cause. This approach not only produces results fast, but also prevents the pain or injury from returning.
Our Physical therapists are doctoral and advance trained experts at treating pain and injuries. We apply the latest research to your unique situation. Research proves Physical Therapist, along with orthopedists, are the most proficient at orthopedic examination. Physical Therapists have a unique advantage because we get to spend much more time with our patients than any other provider. This allows us to learn more about your condition and teach you how to stay pain-free and strong.
My doctor thinks I need surgery, will PT help?
Absolutely! Best case, by undergoing physical therapy first you will achieve a full recovery, discover the cause of the problem, and be well equipped to prevent a reoccurrence while avoiding surgery.
Worst case, your physical therapy will help you go into surgery in better shape, more confident that you exhausted all conservative means, and have a better understanding what your post-surgery care will be like. Some evidence suggests those who “prehab” do better after surgery.
It’s important to know that recent research has called into question the effectiveness of some surgeries compared to physical therapy, especially for:
- knee meniscus tears,
- arthroscopic debridement of knee osteoarthritis,
- carpal tunnel syndrome,
- Labral tears (SLAP) of the shoulder,
- degenerative rotator cuff tears,
- degenerative disc disease (surgical fusion was no better that therapy)
- lumbar stenosis (decompression was no better than therapy).
For these conditions, it is vital to pursue the right physical therapy first.
It’s also important to know that your own individual differences will determine whether surgery is the best choice. Frequent treatments in physical therapy give us the chance to observe and assess your response over time, as opposed to making a major decision based on a brief one-time visit. This can help you and your medical provider better gauge whether surgical is the best choice.
Finally, it’s also important to know that some surgeries will help tremendously, as we have seen by not only treating these patients, but also by being patients ourselves as many of our therapists have undergone surgeries. Your success from surgery is dependent upon receiving the proper physical therapy. We have extensive experience managing post-surgical conditions as well as communicating with your surgeon to assure the best outcome.
Why should I choose a Private Practice Physical Therapist?
Practices owned and operate by therapists have tend to have a different philosophy of care. Therapist owned practices allow the physical therapist to spend more time with their patients and provide more cost effective care. Physical Therapists, not administrators or other professionals, know best how to provide the optimal environment of care for physical therapy patients. Small private physical therapy practices are not beholden to shareholders or boards. That gives us owners, who are treating clinicians, the flexibility to design a treatment culture that can best facilitate patient care as our top priority.
Is Physical Therapy painful?
Patients get very conflicting information about pain and physical therapy. “No Pain, No Gain” is a common saying. “if it hurts, don’t do it” is another. Both statements are rarely accurate. In many cases, physical therapy treatment is painless and your pain will be immediately after treatment. In other cases, the results take longer. And in some cases, there is discomfort with treatment, but never to the extent that patients are not able to tolerate it well.
Our clinicians are experts at interpreting your pain so you can feel empowered and in control. We know how to help you learn about the pain of injury verses the strain of adaptation.
Setting up clear guidelines and establishing close communication between you and your therapist is crucial. It takes time, trust, and knowledge. Our treatment environment allows for this.
Your therapist will provide treatments that often immediately reduce your pain and show you strategies for how to reduce your pain outside of the clinic. Other times, your PT will show you techniques that will take longer to reduce your pain. Certainly, there are times when treatment will be uncomfortable, such as moving your knee after a knee replacement, or stretching a frozen shoulder. Even in these cases, research shows that “no pain, no gain” doesn’t work. Rather, we find a tolerable strain threshold that allows adaptation without causing significant discomfort. We have been patients in physical therapy too, so we have a unique perspective about managing pain with our treatments.
What types of treatments will I receive?
There are dozens of different types of treatment interventions. You can see a list of our commonly used interventions below a list of cconditions we treat here (hyperlink to what we treat service page). The interventions are highly specific to your condition so please reach out if you have questions about your treatment plan. Treatments utilized are unique to your needs, and we have many options at our disposal, including but not limited to the following:
Therapeutic Exercise: This broadly refers to any exercise treatment designed to promote healing and performance, and well as prevent disease or dysfunction. Strengthening, Medical Exercise Therapy, and Neuromuscular control (balance/coordination) are common types of therapeutic exercise used.
It is vital to appreciate that the effectiveness of therapeutic exercise is contingent on being highly graded and modifiable. This means that we need to be able to discretely modify the dose so that it can cause adaptations without irritation. This “Goldilocks Zone” between over dosing and under dosing is where much of success with rehab occurs. It is one of the most highly skilled aspects of physical therapy treatment.
Nearly all conditions will require some form of therapeutic exercise, from those seeking elite athletic performance to those severely deconditioned and in pain recovering from complex medical conditions.
Strengthening: is effective for improving tendon health, reducing pain, improving balance, increasing bone density, improving daily living capacities (climbing stairs, getting off a chair, getting off the floor), lifting capacity (carrying grandkids, carrying groceries, yard work, work tasks), and optimal performance (skiing, running, jumping, throwing). It even helps heart function, improves metabolism, blood sugars, blood pressure, depression, and weight loss!
Medical Exercise Therapy: Medical Exercise therapy is based off the philosophy of Odvar Holten, a Norwegian Physical Therapist, who found that high repetition, low load stimulus help rehabilitate conditions involving painful, degenerated tissues like inflamed tendons. In many cases this involves using resistance as assistance to facilitate movement when the weight of the limb is too painful for the injured tissue to lift. This is especially helpful for rotator cuff damage, where the arm is in too much pain to lift and reach. With a graded level of assistance through a weighted cable apparatus, the patient is now able to lift their arm with minimal or no pain. This allows active contraction of the muscle and tendon to the extent that it facilitates tension, blood supply, and movement coordination to optimize healing, yet it spares the tissue of excess stress that may cause pain or further irritate the healing tissue. This is an under-used yet highly effective approach that we have been utilizing and teaching for decades.
Neuromuscular Control: involves teaching the nervous system to better coordinate muscle firing so that more precise movements can take place. Whereas strengthening is like replacing light bulbs to make the room brighter, neuromuscular control is like learning where the dimmer switch is and how to use it. Neuromuscular control impairments are often the result, and even a contributing cause, of many painful conditions we treat. Such treatments are involved in most of the care we provide. Joint Mobilization: Out PTs are experts in manual therapy, which includes oscillating joints at various grades to improve pain and joint mobility. This requires specialized skill and sometimes apparatus to be most effective.
Joint Manipulation: Many of our therapists have post-doctoral residency and fellowship training in joint manipulation of the extremities and spine, which in some cases can be an effective treatment strategy. Most appreciate that it takes skill to perform. However, too few appreciate that the main skill regarding manipulation is knowing who it is effective for and when to utilize it. Soft-tissue Mobilization: from trigger point massage to effleurage, our therapists use a variety of technique to facilitate deceased pain and increased mobility through applying a variety of manual therapy soft tissue mobilization techniques when indicated.
Activity Modification Training: In many cases, healing is facilitated when we modify the daily activities that may be contributing to the pain or interfering with healing. Knowing what activities to avoid, and what activities to optimize to swiftly return to your optimal function is a vital part of treatment that we use to help our patients. Ergonomics training: many painful conditions are related to the way in which perform our daily work tasks. By identifying and modifying how we sit, lift, carry, and even use our computer, we can often provide strategies that can save you from the frustration of pain and injury at work.
Home Exercise Program Instruction: Few treatment approaches emphasize the importance of how to take home the strategies that will not only expedite your recovery but also prevent your problems from reoccurring, like the ones you experience with your care at Orthopaedics Plus. You will learn how to take control of your condition by being able to contribute to self-care through exercises and techniques that you can use outside of the clinic, so you can heal faster and prevent future problems from reoccurring.
Stretching and ROM: Increasing muscle length and joint range of motion requires a balance of proper technique and dosage, especially when dealing with healing tissues. Too often, increasing range of motion is relegated to simply pushing joints are far as tolerated, without regards to stabilizing the insertion and origin of the intended target tissue. Furthermore, failing to account for the variable tolerance of the multiple tissues involved, including but not limited to the joints, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons that play a role in restricting range of motion, can be problematic. Our clinicians are particularly skilled in the selective and graded applications of techniques designed to improve range of motion to allow optimal function yet allow for optimal healing and adaptation of the multiple tissues involves.
What will I have to do after Physical Therapy?
What happens if my problem or pain returns?
Flare ups sometimes happen. 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 modify your daily activities or exercise routine.
Who pays for the treatment?
In most cases, health insurance will cover your treatment. Click on our insurance link above for a summary of insurances we accept and make sure you talk to our office manager, so we can help you clarify your insurance coverage. In other cases, patients elect not to use their insurance if their insurance benefits do not cover PT, have been exhausted, or they have a high deductible plan.
How does the billing process work?
Billing for physical therapy services is similar to what happens at your doctor's office. When you are seen for treatment, the following occurs:
- 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 up to six months after the treatment date.
What is a deductible, copay, and co-insurance?
Insurance terminology and your health plan can be confusing, and we understand that. We will try to simply some common language for you to help you understand the billing process. A deductible is the amount of money you will pay in an insurance claim before the insurance coverage starts paying for services. Not all services are applied to your deductible, so although you may have been to the doctor many times, you may still be responsible for a portion of the claims. A copay is a set amount established by your insurance plan for sharing the cost of health services between you and your plan. It is typical for insurance plans to have a copay related to physical therapy services. This is a payment you will make each time you come for an appointment. Co-insurance is a percentage-based cost sharing plan between you and your insurance company. You are responsible for paying the percentage of the claim as stated by your policy (i.e. 20% coinsurance – you are responsible for 20% of the claim).Insurance terminology and your health plan can be confusing, and we understand that. We will try to simply some common language for you to help you understand the billing process. A deductible is the amount of money you will pay in an insurance claim before the insurance coverage starts paying for services. Not all services are applied to your deductible, so although you may have been to the doctor many times, you may still be responsible for a portion of the claims. A copay is a set amount established by your insurance plan for sharing the cost of health services between you and your plan. It is typical for insurance plans to have a copay related to physical therapy services. This is a payment you will make each time you come for an appointment. Co-insurance is a percentage-based cost sharing plan between you and your insurance company. You are responsible for paying the percentage of the claim as stated by your policy (i.e. 20% coinsurance – you are responsible for 20% of the claim).
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