Physician FAQ

How long after I refer a patient must my patient wait to be seen in physical therapy?

In most cases patients are scheduled within 2 days of calling. On an emergency basis, we will see the patient that day.

Unfortunately, with today’s managed care, some insurance companies don’t allow this timely scheduling secondary to precertification requirements. Please call us if there is any question.

How do I refer a patient to physical therapy?

Referring a patient to physical therapy is easy. Simply give the patient a referral with the medical diagnosis and “evaluate and treat” selected. For your convenience, you may highlight and print our referral form from this website. Or, please contact our office and we will be happy to send you a referral pad.

Although we make every effort to take care of all insurance and precertification requirements, unfortunately some insurance companies require the physician to obtain the authorization or precertification personally. If this is the case, your office may have to obtain this information before the patient can begin physical therapy in order for the services to be covered under the patient’s insurance plan.

josh_hip450

What other information would be helpful to the physical therapist on the prescription?

Other than a clinical diagnosis if known, the only other information we need is:

  • Results of diagnositc tests, including X-Rays, MRI, EMG, etc.
  • Weight bearing restrictions for post-surgical and post -fracture patients
  • Fracture status
  • ROM restrictions for post-surgical patients
  • Degrees of resistance allowed for post-surgical patient (e.g.: active, passive or resisted)
  • Expected limits in ROM if any, for a final outcome on a post-surgical patient
  • Type of surgical procedure and/or type of internal fixation used
  • Specific requests for splints or braces.

Do you need operative, MRI, or X-ray reports?

As physical therapists, we work very closely with your patients. Development of a comprehensive treatment program and the physical therapists ability to maximize outcomes would be benefitted by operative reports, X-rays and/or MRI reports. You may ask the radiologist to fax results to our office once they are available. Additionally, any vital information can be written directly on the referral as outlined in the previous question.

Cheryl Conrad treating a patient

How do I know the appropriate frequency and duration for which to refer my patient?

In general, most patients are seen two to three times weekly initially with decreasing frequency as tolerated. In most cases it is best to leave specific duration and frequency up to the physical therapist. This way the patient isn’t set up with false expectations and the therapist has the leeway to:

  • See a patient on a frequent basis for an acute or severe problem or less frequently if appropriate.
  • Decrease treatment frequency as the patient progresses.
  • Spread out visits if less frequent visits are needed, either clinically and/or due to insurance authorization and benefits.

How will I know how my patient is progressing?

The physical therapist will send you a written report on your patient within two weeks of the initial visit. Information included will be history, objective findings, assessment, planned intervention, frequency of treatment and estimated duration of care.

The patient will be periodically re-evaluated and updated reports will be sent. Frequency of reports will depend upon the chronicity and nature of the problem. Re-evaluations and status reports will also be sent prior to any follow-up visit you have scheduled with the patient. If you would like reports or updates more frequently and/or verbally, please contact our office, or simply request this on your referral.

In general, our reports are faxed so that they are there on a timely basis. If we are aware of the patient’s follow up date with you, this will be noted on the transmission sheet of the fax referral form in order to alert your office staff.

Foam roller treatment

If I am not sure that physical therapy will benefit my patient, can I refer for a consultation?

Absolutely. Simply tell your patient you would like them to be seen by a physical therapist to see if a rehabilitation program would be beneficial. We will evaluate the patient and call you or send a report, as you prefer.

Also, feel free to call us first for general information and treatment options for an individual patient or for more general information on various diagnoses or types of problems.

How do I know what kind of treatment I should suggest?

Because of our experience and level of expertise, you need not make specific requests when referring a patient. You can explain to your patient that the physical therapist will evaluate them and identify any physical therapy problems such as pain, weakness, loss of motion, loss of function, gait problems, etc.

The therapist will explain all aspects of treatment to the patient and will send you a report with an outline of the planned physical therapy intervention. This way, the patient doesn’t have a false expectation for physical therapy and the best treatment options can be utilized. As always, any specific recommendations you have will be incorporated in the patient’s program if appropriate.

Josh Renzi discussing with his team

How soon after a diagnosis is made should I refer a patient for physical therapy?

The patient should be evaluated and treatment begun as early as possible. The earlier a patient receives appropriate care, the quicker their recovery the shorter the overall duration of their care and disability. Intervention will be modified according to the stage of the injury (i.e.: acute, subacute, chronic) as well as the patient’s signs and symptoms, therefore referral “too early” is generally not a problem.

The therapist will explain all aspects of treatment to the patient and will send you a report with an outline of the planned physical therapy intervention. This way, the patient doesn’t have a false expectation for physical therapy and the best treatment options can be utilized. As always, any specific recommendations you have will be incorporated in the patient’s program if appropriate.

Why Spine & Sports Rehabilitation Center?

Quite simply, as you may already know, if you had an injury this is where you would want to receive physical therapy care. Physicians, physician’s families and physician office staff frequently use our services. Being a health care provider, that should speak volumes.

  • You want a physical therapist who has the ability to evaluate you in a comprehensive way, identify a physical therapy diagnosis and design a comprehensive treatment program.
  • You want a physical therapist who is up to date on the newest research and treatment approaches.
  • You want a physical therapist whose focus is on functional restoration and not solely on pain relief, so that risk of recurrence of symptoms is minimized
  • You want a physical therapist to educate your patient on health and prevention.
  • You want a physical therapist who spends time with your patient at each and every visit–someone with whom your patient can develop a longstanding professional relationship.

Dr. Alexander Dragonuk

What other specialty services do you offer?

Spinal Stabilization Training

Functional Capacity Evaluations

Staff members are certified in the Isernhagen Functional Capacity Evaluation, an objective evaluation used to determine the patient’s readiness for work and other specific activities. It has been designed to be a safe, reliable, valid and practical test of lifting capacity for patients with spine or extremity problems.

Work Conditioning/Work Simulation

As part of our overall treatment approach, patients who need to return to work, in addition to traditional exercise, are put on work conditioning programs. These programs simulate work requirements and activities with emphasis on repetitions in order to allow a functional return to the activity.

The McConnell Approach

When appropriate, we will utilize the McConnell Approach, especially for patellofemoral patients. The McConnell Approach involves evaluation of the specific joint with special consideration of joint tightness muscle tightness, hyper mobility, alignment, and muscle ratios. After the evaluation is complete, the physical therapist will design a program that involves strengthening the weakened structures, stretching those that are tight, in combination with McConnell taping to temporarily realign the joint as these other more permanent factors are addressed. This is all done in combination with EMG biofeedback to correct muscle ratios, not their strength. Muscle ratio imbalances combined with all the above often lead to poor results for patients either receiving other approaches or taping alone, without the other factors being considered.