Your doctor has prescribed physical therapy. Now what? In some cases, your doctor will ask ‘Do you have a physical therapist already’? If you do, most will honor that, but in some cases, they just refer you to where they want you to go. You may have told your doctor you have a therapist you trust and want to go there. But what if your doctor is adamant that you go where they want you to go?
Should you, or do you insist on going where you trust?
Many people don’t know this but……
You have freedom to choose where you go for physical therapy with the exception of a small number of self-insured companies and HMO Plans.
All patients have a common law right, based upon court decisions, to control the care provided to them, including who renders it. Thus, when patients voluntarily express preferences for certain providers, their choices must be honored regardless of the payor source or type of care.
Federal statutes of the Medicare and Medicaid Programs guarantee Medicare beneficiaries and Medicaid recipients the right to freedom of choice of providers (Medicaid recipients may waive this right if they participate in waiver programs). Consequently, when Medicare patients and non-waiver Medicaid patients voluntarily express preferences for providers, these choices must be honored.
Here are a couple web sites to check out regarding your rights. The first is FirstGov for Consumers at http://www.consumer.gov and the second is the United States Department of Health and Human Services at http://www.hhs.gov.
As the nation accepts Direct Access for Physical Therapy services, clients will now be able to go directly to a therapist for assessment and treatment. In most states, it is still required for patients to follow up with their primary care physician or specialist as a prescription for therapy services is still required to continue ongoing PT treatment. This immediate access to therapeutic care in cooperation and conjunction with the diagnostic assessment of the physicians and supporting medical community leads to a much higher rate of success in a timely manner for the individual seeking services.
Your physical therapist should coordinate care with your primary care doctor and/or specialist to assure open and direct communication with your physician. In all states and facilities, physical therapy services should be provided by a licensed physical therapist or physical therapist assistant under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist.