Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a doctor’s order for physical therapy?
Physical therapists in many states, including Montana, are allowed direct access, meaning you do not need a referral from your doctor. However, many insurance companies require you to have one in order to cover physical therapy services. It is best to check with us or your insurance company if you aren’t sure of your policy’s guidelines.
What can I expect on my first visit?
Your first visit will consist of a thorough examination of your current and past medical history, as well as testing of your functional movement, flexibility, and strength. Once this is established, your therapist will discuss an effective plan of care for your recovery. This plan will consist of creating a treatment schedule and the implementation of a home exercise program to complement our treatment. We recommend wearing comfortable clothing that you would normally use for exercising.
What shoud I wear for my appointment?
Comfortable clothing that you would normally exercise in is an excellent choice for your physical therapy appointment. We have athletic shorts and examination gowns available for patient use if you don’t have appropriate clothing available at the time of your appointment.
How often and for how long will I have to go to physical therapy?
No two conditions are the same, so the plan of care varies depending on the injury. During your initial evaluation, your therapist will discuss the duration and frequency of your treatment. This plan is reviewed periodically with you and your physician and adjusted according to your progress. It is our goal to have our patients resume normal activity as soon as possible. However, we will adjust your plan of care to ensure complete healing prior to discharge if necessary.
How long do treatment sessions last?
We schedule a one hour time frame for your initial evaluation. Follow up sessions are generally 45 minutes, but may be scheduled in longer or shorter increments depending on your treatment. Your therapist will discuss this with you at the time of your evaluation.
How much does physical therapy cost and will my insurance company pay for it?
Physical therapy costs are based on time increments and which specific treatment interventions your therapist uses with you, so costs can be variable. On average, each session runs approximately $80–$160, depending on the services performed, with the initial evaluation and some specialized treatments being higher. Please ask our office manager or your treating therapist if you need a more specific estimate. Most insurance plans do cover physical therapy. Insurance policies and coverage do vary, however, and it is always best to check your policy for the specific coverage information. It is important for patients to know and be familiar with your own benefits as well as any restrictions and limitations that may apply. Ultimately, you (the patient) are responsible for knowing what your insurance company covers and what requirements they have for treatment.
What is your payment policy?
Insurance co-pays and full balances for cash pay clients are due at the time of service. For additional insurance balances, we bill our patients monthly once we have received payment and explanation of benefits from the insurance companies. This can take several weeks, depending on the insurance company. Patients (or their responsible party) are responsible for all deductibles, coinsurance, and co-pays not paid by the insurance company. We accept cash, check, and credit or debit cards for payment. Prompt pay discounts are given for paying your balance in full each billing cycle. We provide a 10% deduction for balances paid within two weeks of the statement date and a 5% deduction if paid within four weeks. Interest free payment plans are available to qualifying patients. Please contact our office to discuss this option prior to your appointment.
What are the qualifications to be a licensed physical therapist?
All licensed physical therapists have graduated from an accredited physical therapy program at a university or college, as well as passed a national boards examination and fulfilled state licensing requirements. A specific number of continuing education hours every 1–2 years is mandated by each state to maintain a physical therapy license.
What type of degree is required for licensed physical therapists?
The benefits of physical therapy have, in recent years, been more widely recognized and utilized in effective patient care for pain and rehabilitation. Most physical therapists who graduated prior to 1990 obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in physical therapy (BSPT), because very few programs offered Master of Science in physical therapy degrees (MSPT) until after 1990. For the last several years, most programs have switched to Doctorate of Physical Therapy degrees (DPT.) Physical therapists with a master’s or doctorate degree have obtained an undergraduate degree in a related field prior to being accepted into physical therapy school, meaning they have completed a total of 6–7 years of college, while those with bachelor’s degrees took related prerequisite courses for 2–3 years and then attended a two-year physical therapy (PT) program. All programs are highly competitive and require rigorous academic standards, experience, and volunteer work to be accepted.