Common questions about physical therapy

What is Physical Therapy?

According to the American Physical Therapy Association, “Physical therapists apply research and proven techniques to help people get back in motion. All physical therapists are required to receive a graduate degree – either a masters or a clinical doctorate — from an accredited physical therapist program before taking the national licensure examination that allows them to practice. State licensure is required in each state in which a physical therapist practices. They are trusted health care professionals with extensive clinical experience who examine, diagnose, and then prevent or treat conditions that limit the body’s ability to move and function in daily life.”

When does someone need Physical Therapy?

Research has proven that physical therapy can help individuals avoid surgeries in some instances. A combination of manual physical therapy and supervised exercise can delay or prevent the need for surgery. Pursuing an exercise program designed by a physical therapist can be one of the best protections from injury and surgery. We at Austin Physical Therapy recommend you speak to your healthcare provider about prescribing physical therapy before other methods such as prescription medication.

What is a Complimentary Injury Screen?

If you have an injury and are not certain what you should do about it, you can set up an appointment at any of our locations for a complimentary injury screening.

How do I set up an appointment to receive Physical Therapy?

In order to receive physical, you will need to obtain a prescription from a healthcare provider. In the state of Alabama, it is your choice as to which rehabilitation company you decide to utilize. Your healthcare provider may assist you with identifying specific rehabilitation companies or you can utilize your insurance companies list of “in network” providers that fit within your coverage. Ultimately the decision is yours, and at Austin Physical Therapy we are committed to putting YOU FIRST.

How do I make an appointment?

Call 256.883.9494 to set up a time that is available for you. Or you can ask your physician to send you to Austin Physical Therapy for your care and they should fax a referral form to 256. 883.9490. Once we receive this form we will contact you within 24 hours to schedule your appointment.

What should I bring or wear to my first visit to Austin Physical Therapy?

Remember to wear clothes that are suitable for your treatment. ie – for Neck or Shoulder conditions, ladies bring a sleeveless shirt, sports bra or backless one piece swimsuit. For hips, knees please wear shorts. Please also bring your insurance card, the prescription you received from your healthcare provider and any other reports/paperwork/results that you may have as well. Should you be using any medical assisted devices such as a brace, splint or crutches, please ensure you bring to your visits.

What is the initial evaluation?

Please arrive 10-15 minute prior to your evaluation in order to complete the appropriate paper work or you can download the paperwork from our website and have filled out prior to appointment to make the process easier. At that time, our office staff will review your personal explanation of rehabilitation benefits quoted from your insurance provider. During your first visit, your therapist will conduct an initial evaluation to assess your current condition. Your initial evaluation may consist of objective findings and testing followed by an appropriate treatment plan, encompassing a home-exercise program, and discussing the length and frequency of your rehabilitation. A copy of your Initial Evaluation will be sent to your physician. You and your therapist, in cooperation with your physician, will determine what goals are to be achieved during physical therapy. To ensure clear and concise communication to your doctor and insurance provider, your therapist will use electronic documentation during each visit to document your treatment and progression toward these goals. Please plan for a 1 hour assessment.

Will my physician be involved in my rehab?

The physician/therapist relationship is an important one in order to effectively serve our patients. After your evaluation and assessment, a detailed copy of your evaluation will be sent to your physician. Likewise, progress notes will be sent to update your doctor on advancement toward your stated goals. Austin Physical Therapy will work diligently to educate you and assist you in returning to your optimal function level as soon as possible.

Does Austin Physical Therapy provide translators?

To promote effective communication, foreign language and sign language interpreters are available at no cost to patients and clients.

What can I expect through therapy?

Although it depends on your diagnosis and general condition, your follow-up appointments may consist of:

  • Therapeutic Exercises
  • Manual Therapy
  • Modalities (electrical & thermal)
  • Review of your home-exercise program and your goals
  • Patient Education
  • Functional/Activity-Specific Exercises
  • Massage Therapy

In about four weeks, your therapist will complete a Progress Summary that will either be mailed or faxed to your physician, so please inform us of any upcoming follow-up visits you have with your doctor. This letter will inform your physician of your progress in therapy and if needed the letter will give recommendations regarding additional therapy and a request for the approval of additional physical therapy for a specified amount of time. Generally, your physician signs a prescription that is attached to your Progress Note and returns it to us. The prescription is necessary in order to continue with care.

How long does the billing process take?

Once you have scheduled your appointment and have provided insurance information, as a courtesy we will verify your health insurance benefits for physical therapy. Additionally, you will receive a copy of your benefits as quoted from your insurance company to us. Please note that insurance quotes are not a guarantee of benefits or coverage. The following is intended to help you better understand our billing process:

  • Your therapist will forward your daily charge to our Billing Center.
  • The billing office then submits these charges to your insurance company for reimbursement.
  • Austin Physical Therapy generally receives payment within 30-60 days.
  • Austin Physical Therapy will provide you with an invoice after your insurance has paid or made a decision on services rendered (usually within 30-60 days)

We encourage you to review and confirm your rehabilitation benefits with your insurance company as they may differ from your standard medical coverage. Please feel free to contact our Billing Center at 256-883.9494, if you would like a record of your charges prior to you receiving your bill. Although it may take 30-60 days to receive a bill for your deductible and co-insurance, all co-pays are expected at time of service. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation.

What happens if I am running late?

If you are running late, please call and let us know so that we can accommodate your schedule. We ask that you be on time to all appointments; however, we do understand that situations arrive where you may be late. If you are running late, please call and let us know so that we can accommodate your schedule.