What is Direct Access

Direct Access is exactly what it sounds like: Patients having direct access to physical therapy services without a doctor’s referral. A direct access license is available to physical therapists in Pennsylvania and many other states. There are five elements to the Direct Access model of care including examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, and intervention. Once your initial examination/evaluation is completed, our physical therapists will develop a Plan of Care for your treatment. This will be submitted to your doctor for their review.

Who can use Direct Access?

Most insurances will cover treatment without a referral as long as the physical therapist has his/her direct access license. Medicare, Medicare replacement plans (Security Blue, for instance), and government issued insurance plans usually will not reimburse direct access treatment. If you have any questions about your insurance plan, please contact your local Panther Physical Therapy office for more information.

Why choose a Physical Therapist with Direct Access?

Direct Access extends consumer’s choice and eliminates barriers to entry. This decreases the time it takes to start treatment. It improves access to a profession that promotes prevention and wellness. Early access to physical therapy has many benefits including decreased medical costs, enhanced recovery, and decreased use of sick time. Direct Access helps the patient see positive functional results, feel confident in their recovery, and experience reduced pain as they progress. It is dynamic and comprehensive care.

Picking the right physical therapy office can be daunting. By choosing a physical therapist with Direct Access, it allows you to begin treatment sooner since you do not have to wait for an appointment with your physician. Therapists can provide their patients with the quality of care that they need, when they need it, and in a manner that best suits them- No Prescription Necessary.

How to Get the Most Out of Physical Therapy

Check Your Insurance

Prior to starting therapy check with your insurance provider to determine your therapy benefits. Find out if you have a visit limit and how many visits are allowed. Check if you have a copay, co-insurance, and / or deductible that must be met. By knowing what to expect with these details up front, it will minimize surprises down the road.

Arrive Early

Try to arrive early for your scheduled appointments. During your initial appointment, you may want to arrive up to 15 minutes early to allow time to fill out the required paperwork. Arriving early will allow you time to change if necessary and be ready for the start of your appointment to maximize time with your therapist.

Openly Communicate

If you have questions or do not understand something, do not hesitate to ask your therapist, especially if it pertains to your home care. If at any time you experience increased pain, it is important to let your therapist know. Some pain is natural with therapy but your therapist will know if it is normal and expected or something that needs to be addressed.

Discuss Your Goals

Determine what you personally want to accomplish with your therapy program and discuss your goals with your therapist during your initial session. Therapy programs are established based on each individual’s needs. Your goals should be part of the process in determining your program.

Dress Comfortably

If you are going to therapy straight from work, take a change of clothes with you. Some of your therapy goals will involve improving your range of motion and flexibility. You will need to be able to move through a full range of motion which is difficult in tight fitting, restrictive clothing. Also bear in mind that your therapist may need to expose the injured area for certain types of treatment.

Maintain an Open Mind and Positive Attitude

The mental aspect of therapy can be every bit as important as the physical component. Committing fully to your therapy program will impact the speed and quality of your recovery.

Focus on Your Treatment

Do not bring friends or family to therapy sessions unless it is a necessity. Turn off your cell phone during your appointments. Schedule your sessions at times in which you will not be rushed. Doing your program accurately and at the appropriate speed will affect your outcomes. It is difficult to focus on the task at hand if you have constant distractions. Your progress will be limited if your therapist has to shorten your session because of time constraints.

Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water and stay well rested throughout your rehabilitation. Proper hydration and rest is important when recovering from any injury.

Complete Your Home Exercises

Your therapist will prescribe a home exercise program for you. Create a schedule to do your home exercises and be faithful with completing it. Your home exercise plan is every bit as important as your scheduled therapy appointments and should be a daily priority. Take your home exercises seriously and do them as prescribed, including the appropriate number of repetitions and daily frequency.

Challenge Yourself

As you get stronger throughout your therapy, increase your resistance and/or repetitions with your exercises. Your therapist will periodically progress your program. If your exercises begin to feel too easy, speak up about adding resistance, repetitions, or extra sets.

Discuss After-Care

Consult with your therapist about your after-care when formal treatment has concluded. In many instances, you will continue with your home exercise program for several more months.