Frequently Asked Questions

What happens during my first visit?

  • You provide us with your prescription for physical therapy
  • We copy your insurance card
  • You are seen for the initial evaluation by the therapist, which includes the following:
    1. Your medical history
    2. Your current problems/complaints
    3. Pain intensity, what aggravates and eases the problem
    4. How this is impacting your daily activities or your functional limitations
    5. Your goals with physical therapy
    6. Medications, tests, and procedures related to your health
  • The therapist performs an objective evaluation of your situation, and then formulates 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?

  • Your physical therapy referral (provided to you by your doctor)
  • 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, 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, and so that we can perform a thorough examination. For example:

  • If you have a knee problem, wear shorts
  • If you have a shoulder problem, wear a tank top
  • If you have a low back problems, wear a loose fitting shirt and pants

How long will each treatment last?

Treatment sessions typically last 30 to 60 minutes per visit. After your initial visit and evaluation, we can provide more information about the treatment types, duration and frequency.

How many visits will I need?

The number of visits is based on the treatment plan we will design specifically for your needs, so we can’t predict that until after your initial examination. You might only need one visit or you may need ongoing care that spans weeks or months. You will be re-evaluated on a regular basis and when you see your doctor, we will provide you with a progress report with our recommendations.

Who pays for my physical therapy treatment?

In most cases, health insurance will cover your treatment. Be sure to talk to our staff so we can help you clarify your insurance coverage.

Which physical therapist will see me?

You will be evaluated by one of our licensed and highly trained physical therapists, who will also treat you during subsequent visits. 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, that therapist is the one that will be working closely with you to speed your recovery.

What types of treatments will I receive?

There are many different types of treatment interventions. Learn more about our specialized treatments.

What happens if my problem or pain returns?

Flare-ups are not uncommon with some types of injuries. If you experience a flare-up, please contact us. We might suggest that 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 for your treatment. Our practice is a provider for many different insurance plans. Please contact us and we will attempt to answer all of your questions.

Can I go directly to my physical therapist?

In the state of California, patients are required to receive a diagnosis before they can see a therapist.

Can my therapist provide me with a diagnosis?

In most states, physical therapists cannot make a medical diagnosis. This is something that your medical doctor will provide for you. While physical therapists are important members of your medical team, physicians are typically the health care providers that will provide you with a medical diagnosis.

How does the billing process work?

Billing for physical therapy services is similar to what happens at your doctor’s office.

  1. The physical therapist bills your insurance company, Workers’ Comp, or charges you based on Common Procedure Terminology (CPT) codes
  2. Those codes are transferred to a billing form that is either mailed or electronically communicated to the payer
  3. The payer processes this information and makes payments according to an agreed upon fee schedule
  4. 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
  5. The patient is expected to make the payment on the balance, if necessary

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, mis-communicated, 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?

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 that a custom program can be developed for you.