Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Beginning Physical Therapy
What happens during my first visit?
During your first visit you can expect the following:
The first visit will last about 60 minutes and includes an initial evaluation where the therapist will discuss the following:
- Your medical history
- Your current problems/complaints
- Pain intensity, what aggravates and eases the problem
- How this is impacting your daily activities or your functional limitations
- Your goals with physical therapy
- Medications, tests, and procedures related to your health
Based on the assessment, your Physical Therapist will develop your treatment program including a full range of strategies to facilitate your rehabilitation. Your plan is created with input from you, your therapist, and your doctor and will include:
- How many times you should see the therapist per week
- Patient education
- Short-term/long-term goals
- How many weeks you will need therapy
- Home exercise programs
- What is expected after discharge from therapy
Visit our First Visit page for more information.
What do I need to bring with me?
- Make sure you bring your physical therapy referral (provided to you by your doctor)
- Your payment information:
- If your insurance is covering the cost of physical therapy, bring your insurance card.
- If you are covered by Workers’ Compensation, bring your claim number and your case manager’s contact information.
- If you are covered by auto insurance or an attorney lien, make sure you bring this information.
How should I dress?
You should wear loose fitting clothing so you can expose the area that we will be evaluating and treating so we can perform a thorough examination. For example, if you have a:
- knee problem, it is best to wear shorts
- shoulder problem, a tank top is a good choice
- low back problems, wear a loose fitting shirt and pants
How long will each treatment last?
Treatment sessions typically last 30 to 60 minutes per visit.
How many visits will I need?
This is highly variable. You may need one visit or you may need months of care. It depends on your diagnosis, the severity of your impairments, your past medical history, etc. You will be re-evaluated on a monthly basis and when you see your doctor, we will provide you with a progress report with our recommendations.
Physical Therapists and Picking a Clinic
Why are people referred to physical therapy?
You and others may be referred to physical therapy because of a movement dysfunction associated with pain. Your difficulty with moving part(s) of your body (like bending at the low back or difficulty sleeping on your shoulder, etc.) very likely results in limitations with your daily activities (e.g., difficulty getting out of a chair, an inability to play sports, or trouble with walking, etc.). Physical therapists treat these movement dysfunctions and their associated pains and restore your body’s ability to move in a normal manner.
Why is physical therapy a good choice?
More than half of all Americans are suffering from pain. Whether it is a recent episode or chronic, an ABC News/Stanford study revealed that pain in America is a serious problem. However, many do not even know that physical therapists are well equipped to not only treat pain but also its source.
Physical therapists are experts at treating movement and neuro-musculoskeletal disorders. Pain often accompanies a movement disorder, and physical therapists can help correct the disorder and relieve the pain.
What do physical therapists do?
You have probably heard of the profession of physical therapy. Maybe you have had a conversation with a friend about how physical therapy helped get rid of his or her back pain, or you might know someone who needed physical therapy after an injury. You might even have been treated by a physical therapist yourself. But have you ever wondered about physical therapists – who they are and what they do? Many people are familiar with physical therapists’ work helping patients with orthopedic problems, such as low back pain or knee surgeries, to reduce pain and regain function. Others may be aware of the treatment that physical therapists provide to assist patients recovering from a stroke (e.g., assisting them with recovering use of their limbs and walking again).
The ability to maintain an upright posture and to move your arms and legs to perform all sorts of tasks and activities is an important component of your health. Most of us can learn to live with the various medical conditions that we may develop, but only if we are able to continue at our jobs, take care of our families, and enjoy important occasions with family and friends. All of these activities require the ability to move without difficulty or pain.
Because physical therapists are experts in movement and function, they do not confine their talents to treating people who are ill. A large part of a physical therapist’s program is directed at preventing injury, loss of movement, and even surgery. Physical therapists work as consultants in industrial settings to improve the design of the workplace and reduce the risk of workers overusing certain muscles or developing low back pain. They also provide services to athletes at all levels to screen for potential problems and institute preventive exercise programs. With the boom in the golf and fitness industries, a number of physical therapists are engaged in consulting with recreational golfers and fitness clubs to develop workouts that are safe and effective, especially for people who already know that they have a problem with their joints or their backs.
The cornerstones of physical therapy treatment are therapeutic exercise and functional training. In addition to “hands-on” care, physical therapists also educate patients to take care of themselves and to perform certain exercises on their own. Depending on the particular needs of a patient, physical therapists may also “mobilize” a joint (that is, perform certain types of movements at the end of your range of motion) or massage a muscle to promote proper movement and function. Physical therapists also use methods such as ultrasound (which uses high frequency waves to produce heat), hot packs, and ice. Although other kinds of practitioners will offer some of these treatments as “physical therapy,” it’s important for you to know that physical therapy can only be provided by qualified physical therapists or by physical therapist assistants, who must complete a 2-year education program and who work only under the direction and supervision of physical therapists.
Most forms of physical therapy treatment are covered by your insurance, but the coverage will vary with each plan. Most states do not legally require patients to see their physicians before seeing a physical therapist. Most of the time all you have to do is ask your doctor if physical therapy is right for you.
Can I go to any physical therapy clinic?
In most cases, you have the right to choose any physical therapy clinic. Our practice is a provider for many different insurance plans.
How do I choose a physical therapy clinic?
These are some things you may consider when seeking a physical therapy clinic:
- The therapist should be licensed in the state.
- The first visit should include a thorough medical history and physical examination before any treatment is rendered.
- The patient goals should be discussed in detail during the first visit.
- Care should include a variety of techniques which might include hands-on techniques, soft tissue work, therapeutic exercises and in some cases heat, cold, electrical stimulation or ultrasound.
- Do they have a service that can address your problem?
- Do they take your insurance or are they willing to work with you if they are not a preferred provider?
- They should be conveniently located. Since sitting and driving often aggravate orthopedic problems, there should be a very good reason for you to drive a long distance for rehabilitation.
- What are the hours of operation?
- Can they provide satisfaction survey results?
- The therapist should provide the treatment.
- Can you briefly interview the therapist before the first visit?
- Ask your family and friends who they would recommend.
The best thing to do is give us a call and we will attempt to answer all of your questions.
Why should I choose a private practice physical therapist?
Who is better to see, a PT that works for a physician or a PT that owns a private practice? We leave it up to you to draw your own conclusions but here are some facts. The studies indicate there were more treatments (visits per patient were 39% to 45% higher in physician owned clinics) and the cost was greater for those patients that attended a physician owned physical therapy practice (both gross and net revenue per patient were 30% to 40% higher)1.
Another study indicated that licensed and non-licensed therapy providers spent less time with each patient in physician owned clinics and physical therapy assistants were substituted for physical therapists.2
Another older study concluded “Therapists who had treated patients through direct access were significantly more likely to believe that direct access had benefited them professionally and benefited their patients than were therapists who had not practiced through direct access.”3
We believe that we can provide you with the highest quality of care available and do it in a cost-effective manner.4 You will work closely with your physical therapist and in most instances, your case will be managed by the same physical therapist from the beginning to the end of your experience with us.
- Mitchell, J., Scott, E., Physician Ownership of Physical Therapy Services: Effects on Charges, Utilization, Profits, and Service Characteristics, Journal of the American Medical Association, 1992.
- “Joint Ventures Among Health Care Providers in Florida,” State of Florida Health Care Cost Containment Board, 1991.
- Domholdt E, Durchholz AG. Direct access use by experienced therapists in states with direct access. Phys Ther. 1992 Aug;72(8):569-74.
- Federal Office of the Inspector General May 1, 2006 – This report calls into question billing processes done by non-physical therapist owned practices.
Who will see me?
You will be evaluated by one of our licensed and highly trained physical therapists and he/she will also treat you during subsequent visits. Unlike some clinics, where you see someone different each visit, we feel it is very important to develop a one-on-one relationship with you to maintain continuity of care. Since only one physical therapist knows your problems best, he/she is the one that will be working closely with you to speed your recovery.
Is my therapist licensed?
Physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) are licensed by their respective states.
Are there physical therapy specialists?
*Indicates that we have a specialist in this field at our clinic
*Orthopedic Physical Therapy – Probably the most common physical therapy specialist is the orthopedic specialist. These specialists care for post-surgical patients, arthritis, tendinitis/tendinosus, fracture rehabilitation, muscle sprains and strains, neck and back pain, hip and knee problems, shoulder, elbow, and wrist conditions. Some are board certified as Orthopedic Certified Specialists (OCS).
*Sports Rehabilitation – Experts in assisting with recovery after injury and surgery. Many sports specialists help with retraining the athlete utilizing running, throwing, jumping, and sport-specific programs to name a few. A therapist with the Sports Certified Specialist (SCS) title has passed a board certified test.
*Manual Therapy – Manual therapy is a broad term that describes a variety of hands-on treatment techniques that are applied to movement dysfunctions. Grade five mobilizations, Mulligan mobilizations with movement, Maitland and Kaltenborn techniques, functional technique, neural mobilization, joint mobilization, craniosacral therapy, strain/counter strain, myofascial release, etc. These are some of the more popular manual therapy techniques. Many manual therapists will take continuing education courses, obtain certifications in manual therapy, and will sit for board certification from the American Physical Therapy Association and other organizations. Most physical therapists incorporate manual therapy techniques as a part of a complete treatment plan.
*Fitness and Wellness – Physical therapists are well trained to help with your fitness needs and wellness programs. If you need an exercise program, have trouble with your weight, are concerned about osteoporosis, have an issue with diabetes, or you would like to learn how to prevent falls, physical therapists can help. The previous examples are just a few of the many programs physical therapists offer.
Amputee Rehabilitation – many physical therapists specialize in the rehabilitation of amputees. Caring for the injured limb, functional and walking training, training in the use of assistive devices (crutches, canes, prosthetic limbs, etc.) are all provided by a therapist who specializes in care for amputees.
Aquatic Physical Therapy – Aquatic therapy takes advantage of the physical properties of water to assist with the rehabilitative process. Buoyancy, turbulence, hydrostatic pressure, and thermal properties of water can assist with the rehabilitation of a patient. Those suffering from chronic pain, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, lumbar fusion surgery, or with a limited weight-bearing status are just a few of the many different patient populations that can benefit from aquatic therapy.
Balance, Dizziness, and Vertigo Rehabilitation – Many suffer from dizziness or BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo). Some clinics specialize in the rehabilitation of patients with vertigo. Patient education, strengthening, safety awareness, posture and balance exercise, walking exercise, and special techniques that affect sensory and balance centers of the brain and limbs are all important components of a rehabilitation program.
Cardiac and Pulmonary Rehabilitation – A small percentage of physical therapists practice in this discipline. Those that pass the board certification have the title of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Certified Specialist (CCS) work with patients who have had heart attacks, bypass surgeries, angioplasty, breathing problems, emphysema, and other heart/lung related conditions. Physical therapists are well equipped to work with these types of patients because many of them have orthopedic ailments that limit their ability to function. In other words, a physical therapist can address the heart and lung problems as well as the muscle problems that are concurrently present.
ECS (Clinical Electrophysiologic Certified Specialist) – A physical therapist who is board certified to perform electroneurophysiology examinations such as nerve conduction studies and electromyography.
Geriatric Physical Therapy – Some therapists specialize in the rehabilitation of seniors. As the body ages, a variety of challenges arise. We stiffen, we lose strength, our balance skills decline, our bones become brittle (osteoporosis), our endurance decreases, and we take longer to recover from injuries. Balance and fall prevention are of paramount importance to the therapist who is working with seniors and some clinics are solely dedicated to caring for those with balance problems. Most physical therapists work with seniors/geriatric patients. Some have obtained additional education, have passed a board examination, and have earned the Geriatric Certified Specialist (GCS) title.
Hand Therapy – Most physical therapists are well trained to treat hand and wrist conditions. Some therapists have taken additional courses and training and have passed a hand therapy certification examination. These therapists are called Certified Hand Therapists (CHTs).
Industrial Rehabilitation – Specialists in industrial rehabilitation help with those that have suffered on-the-job injuries. Moreover, they will evaluate work tasks, fabricate assistive devices, evaluate your ergonomic situation, and help redesign work flow/tasks to decrease the incidence of injury. Often, industrial rehabilitation specialists will evaluate your ability to perform certain job tasks with a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE).
Lymphedema Rehabilitation – We take it for granted but a special component of the circulatory system, the lymph system, helps filter and drain fluid from our arms and legs. When this drainage system is damaged, painful swelling can result. Some therapists specialize in the treatment of lymphedema as it is called. Special positioning, massage and bandaging techniques are utilized by the lymphedema specialist.
Neurological, Spinal Cord Injury, and Traumatic Brain Injury Rehab – A large portion of physical therapists work with patients who suffer from these conditions. Functional retraining including, walking, wheelchair use, getting in and out of bed or chairs (transfer training), moving in bed (bed mobility), and retraining patients to use their shoulders, arms, and hands are just some of the services these therapists provide to those with neurological involvement. A certified specialist holds a Neurologic Certified Specialist title (NCS).
Osteoporosis Rehabilitation and Prevention – Some practitioners specialize in the evaluation and treatment of osteoporosis patients. Working in concert with your medical doctor, the therapist will often design a specialized weight-bearing and resistance training program for those with this silent disease.
Pediatric Physical Therapy – Pediatric therapists specialize in the rehabilitation of children. They may assist with kids who suffer from cerebral palsy, developmental disorders, neurological disorders, and/or orthopedic problems. A Pediatric Certified Specialist (PCS) is a board certification that some may obtain from the American Physical Therapy Association.
Women’s Health – Some therapists specialize in women’s issues such as pregnancy problems, pelvic pain, and incontinence. Special treatment is available for women who have these problems. Many that suffer from incontinence do so needlessly. A physical therapist may be able to help.
Wound Care – Some therapists specialize in the treatment and care of wounds. This is accomplished by the removal of unviable tissue (debridement), the application of special dressings and prescription drugs/ointments, and the use of ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and aquatic modalities to promote healing. Exercise and patient education are also routine components of a wound care program.
Is physical therapy painful?
For many patients, one of the primary objectives is pain relief. This is frequently accomplished with hands-on techniques, modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and/or heat or cold therapy. Movement often provides pain relief as well. Your physical therapist will provide you with the appropriate exercises not only for pain relief but to recover range of motion, strength, and endurance.
In some cases, physical therapy techniques can be painful. For example, recovering knee range of motion after total knee replacement or shoulder range of motion after shoulder surgery may be painful. Your physical therapist will utilize a variety of techniques to help maximize your treatment goals. It is important that you communicate the intensity, frequency, and duration of pain to your therapist. Without this information, it is difficult for the therapist to adjust your treatment plan.
What types of treatments will I receive?
There are dozens of different types of treatment interventions. Here is a list of treatment interventions:
- Active Range of Motion (AROM) – the patient lifts or moves a body part through range of motion against gravity. AROM is usually one of the first modalities prescribed for arthritis.
- Active Assistive Range of Motion (AAROM) – therapist-assisted active range of motion. This is usually prescribed for gentle stretching or strengthening for a very weak body part.
- Stationary Bicycle – with or without resistance. This is usually prescribed for improving the strength and/or range of motion of the back or lower extremities as well as cardiovascular endurance.
- Gait or Walking Training – the analysis of walking problems by visually examining the interaction of the low back and the joints of the thighs, legs, and feet during the various stages of walking, including initial contact, loading response, mid stance, terminal stance, pre swing, mid swing, and terminal swing. Many back, thigh, leg, ankle, and foot problems may be caused by or manifest themselves in subtle gait abnormalities.
- Isometrics – muscle contraction without joint movement. This is usually prescribed for strengthening without stressing or damaging the joint (e.g., arthritis, or exercises to be performed in a cast, or right after surgery if recommended by the therapist/doctor).
- Isotonics – muscle(s) contracting through the ROM with resistance. This is usually prescribed for strengthening.
- Soft Tissue Mobilization – therapeutic massage of body tissue performed with the hands. Soft tissue mobilization may be used for muscle relaxation, to decrease swelling, to decrease scar tissue adhesions, and for pain relief.
- Mobilization – hands-on therapeutic procedures intended to increase soft tissue or joint mobility. Mobilization is usually prescribed to increase mobility, delaying progressive stiffness, and to relieve pain. There are many types of mobilization techniques including Maitland, Kaltenborn, Isometric Mobilizations, etc.
- Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) – a system of manually resisted exercises performed in diagonal patterns that mimic functional movements. PNF was initially used in developmentally and neurologically impaired patients but now is used in almost every aspect of neuromuscular retraining from athletes in sports facilities to the very weak in hospitals and nursing homes.
- Posture Training – instruction in the correct biomechanical alignment of the body to reduce undue strain on muscles, joints, ligaments, discs, and other soft tissues. There is an ideal posture, but most people do not have ideal posture. Therapists educate patients about the importance of improving posture with daily activities. Stretching and strengthening exercises may be prescribed to facilitate postural improvement and to prevent further disability and future recurrences of problems.
- Progressive Resistive Exercises (PRE) – exercises that gradually increase in resistance (weights) and in repetitions. PRE is usually prescribed for reeducation of muscles and strengthening. Weights, rubber bands, and body weight can be used as resistance.
- Passive Range of Motion (PROM) – the patient or therapist moves the body part through a range of motion without the use of the muscles that “actively” move the joint(s).
- Stretching/Flexibility Exercise – exercise designed to lengthen muscle(s) or soft tissue. Stretching exercises are usually prescribed to improve the flexibility of muscles that have tightened due to disuse or in compensation to pain, spasm or immobilization.
- Cryotherapy or Cold Therapy – used to cause vasoconstriction (the blood vessels constrict or decrease their diameter) to reduce the amount of fluid that leaks out of the capillaries into the tissue spaces (swelling) in response to injury of tissue. Ice or cold is used most frequently in acute injuries, but also an effective pain reliever for even the most chronic pain.
- Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation (NMES) – the application of electrical stimulation to aid in improving strength (e.g., the quadriceps muscle after knee surgery or injury). NMES is also used to decrease pain and swelling and to relieve muscle spasm.
- Neck Traction – a gentle longitudinal/axial pull on the neck, either manual or mechanical, intermittent or continuous for relief of neck pain, to decrease muscle spasm and facilitate unloading of the spine.
- Heat – heat is recommended to decrease chronic pain, relax muscles, and for pain relief. It should not be used with an acute or “new” injury.
- Iontophoresis – medications are propelled through the skin by an electrical charge. This modality works on the physical concept that like charges repel each other, therefore, a positively charged medication will be repelled through the skin to the underlying tissues by the positively charged pad of an iontophoresis machine. Iontophoresis is usually prescribed for injuries such as shoulder or elbow bursitis.
- Pelvic Traction – the longitudinal/axial pull on the lumbar spine, either manual or mechanical, intermittent or continuous. Pelvic traction may be helpful for the relief of low back pain and muscle spasm.
- Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) – a relatively low voltage applied over painful areas through small self-adhesive electrodes. The electrical stimulation “disguises” or “overrides” the sensation of pain. It is a small, portable unit, used in intervals, to control pain and reduce dependence on drugs. It is usually prescribed for relief of pain.
- Ultrasound – ultrasound uses a high frequency sound wave emitted from the sound head when electricity is passed through a quartz crystal. The sound waves cause the vibration of water molecules deep within tissue causing a heating effect. When the sound waves are pulsed, they cause a vibration of the tissue rather than heating. The stream of sound waves helps with nutrition exchange at the cellular level and healing. Studies have shown that ultrasound is helpful for ligament healing and clinically, for carpal tunnel syndrome, and muscle spasm.
- Whirlpool – immersion of a body part into water with small “agitators” to provide a gentle massaging motion. A warm whirlpool provides relief from pain and muscle spasm and is often preparatory to stretching or exercise. Cold whirlpool is used to decrease inflammation and swelling.
Will I get a massage at physical therapy?
Massage may be part of your treatment. Rehabilitation specialists are trained in a variety of techniques that may help with your recovery. Deep tissue techniques may be part of the rehabilitative process. Massage is used for three reasons typically – to facilitate venous return from a swollen area, to relax a tight muscle, or to relieve pain. Contrary to common thought, massage does not increase circulation.
Can I go directly to my physical therapist?
All fifty states have some form of direct access. In most cases, if you are not making significant improvement within 30 days, the therapist will refer you to/back to your physician.
Seeing a physical therapist first is safe and could save you hundreds of dollars or even thousands of dollars. Click here for details
Can my therapist provide me with a diagnosis?
In most states, physical therapists cannot make a medical diagnosis. This is something that your medical doctor will provide for you.
Physical therapists are important members of your medical team. At this point in time, physicians are typically the health care providers that will provide you with a medical diagnosis.
Health Information Privacy Notice
This Notice Describes How Medical Information About You May Be Used and Disclosed and How You Can Get Access to This Information.
Please Review This Document Carefully.
About Protected Health Information (PHI).
In this Notice, “we”, “our” or “us” means this Table Mountain Physical Therapy and our workforce of employees, contractors and volunteers. “you” and “your” refers to each of our patients who are entitled to a copy of this Notice.
We are required by federal and state law to protect the privacy of your health information. For example, federal health information privacy regulations require us to protect information about you in the manner that we describe here in this Notice. Certain types of health information may specifically identity you. Because we must protect this health information, we call this Protected Health Information – or “PHI”. In this Notice, we tell you about:
- How we use your PHI
- When we may disclose your PHI to others
- Your privacy rights and how to use them
- Our privacy duties
- Who to contact for more information or a complaint
Some of the ways we use (within the organization) or disclose (outside of the organization) your Protected Health Information
We will use your PHI to treat you. We will use your PHI and disclose it to get paid for your care and related services. We use or disclose your PHI for certain activities that we call “health care operations”. We will also use or disclose your PHI as required or permitted by law. We will give you examples of each of these to help explain them but space does not permit a complete list of all uses or disclosures. This is one reason why you can contact us and ask us questions.
We use and disclose your PHI in the course of your treatment. For instance, once we have completed your evaluation or re-evaluation we send a copy or summary of our report to your referring physician. We also maintain records detailing the care and services you receive at our facility so that we can be accurate and consistent in carrying out that care in an optimal manner; that record also assists us in meeting certain legal requirements. These records maybe used and/or disclosed by members of our workforce to assure that proper and optimal care is rendered.
2. Payment Involving a Third Party Payer
After we treat you we will, typically, bill a third party for services you received. We will collect the treatment information and enter the data into our computer and then process a claim either on paper or electronically. The claim form will detail your health problem, what treatments you received and it will include other information such as your social security number, your insurance policy number and other identifying pieces of information. The third party payer may also ask to see the records of your care to make certain that the services were medically necessary. When we use and disclose your information in this way is helps us to get paid for your care and treatment.
3. Payment Exclusive of a Third Party Payer (fully self-pay)
If you choose to pay for your services, in full, without involving a third party (insurer, employer, etc.) you may request that we do not disclose any information regarding your services for payment purposes.
4. Health Care Operations
We also use and disclose your PHI in our health care operations. For example our therapists meet periodically to study clinical records to monitor the quality of care at our facility. Your records and PHI could be used in these quality assessments. Sometimes we participate in student internship programs and we use the PHI of actual patients to test them on their skills and knowledge. Other operational used may involve business planning and compliance monitoring or even the investigation and resolution of a complaint.
5. Special Uses
We also use or disclose your PHI for purposes that involve your relationship to us as a patient. We may use or disclose your PHI to:
- Update your workers compensation case worker or employer
- Remind you of appointments
- Carry out follow ups on home programs that you have been taught
- Advise you of new or updated services or home supplies (you can choose to opt-out of receiving any notices of this kind)
- Release equipment and/or supplies to your designee
- Carry out follow ups on your home programs or discharge planning
- Advise you of new or updated services or home supplies via telecommunication or via a newsletter (you can choose to opt-out of receiving information of this nature from us)
- Carry out research that does not directly identify you
- Carry out marketing functions such as providing nominal promotional gifts (you can choose to opt-out of receiving any marketing information or items from us)
Note: If we receive direct or indirect financial remuneration from a third party for marketing a product or item or for any fundraising we are engaged in we will offer you the opportunity to ‘opt out’ from receiving any of these materials.
6. Uses & Disclosures Required or Permitted by Law
Many laws and regulation apply to us that affect your PHI, they may either require or permit us to use or disclose your PHI. Here is a list from the federal health information privacy regulations describing required or permitted uses and disclosures:
- If you do not verbally object, we may share some of your PHI with a family member or a friend if he/she is involved in your care
- We may use your PHI in an emergency if you are not able to express yourself
- If we receive certain assurance that protect your privacy, we may use or disclose your PHI for research; Table Mountain Physical Therapy will always obtain an authorization from you even though it is ‘permitted’ without one
- When required by law; for example, when ordered by a court to turn over certain types of your PHI, we must do so
- For public health activities such as reporting a communicable disease or reporting an adverse reaction to the Food and Drug Administration
- To report neglect, abuse or domestic violence
- To the government regulators or its agents to determine whether we comply with applicable rules and regulations
- In judicial or administrative proceedings such as a response to a valid subpoena
- When properly requested by law enforcement officials or other legal requirements such as reporting gunshot wounds
- To advert a health hazard or to respond to a threat to public safety such as an imminent crime against another person
- Deemed necessary by appropriate military command authorities if you are in the Armed Forces
- In connection with certain types of organ donor programs
- Stricter Requirement That We Follow
Some state regulations are more stringent than federal privacy regulations so we comply with those laws.
7. Your Authorization May Be Required
In the situations noted above we have the right to use and disclose your PHI. In some situations, however, we must ask for, and you must agree to give, a written authorization that has specific instructions and limits on our use or disclosure of your PHI. If you change your mind, at a later date, you may revoke your authorization.
8. Your Privacy Rights and How to Exercise Them
You have specific rights under our federally required privacy program. Each of them is summarized below:
8. Your Right to Request Limited Use or Disclosure
You have the right to request that we do not use or disclose your PHI in a particular way. However, we are not required to abide by your request. If we do agree to your request we must abide by the agreement; we have the right to ask for that request to be in writing and we will exercise that right
- Your Right to Confidential Communication
You have the right to receive confidential communications from us at a location or phone number that you specify. We have the right to ask for that request to be in writing noting the other address or phone number and confirmation that it should not interfere with your method of payment; we will exercise the right to have your request in writing
- Your Right to Inspect and Copy Your PHI
You have the right to inspect and copy your PHI. If we maintain our records in paper, that will be the format utilized; however if we maintain our records electronically you have the right to review and/or have copies made in an electronic format. Should we decline we must provide you with a resource person to assist you in the review of our refusal decision. We must respond to your request within thirty (30) days, we may charge reasonable fees for copying and labor time related to copying and we may require an appointment for record inspection; we have the right to ask for your request in writing and will exercise that right.
- Your Right to Revoke Your Authorization
If you have granted us an authorization to use or disclose your PHI you may revoke at any time it in writing. Please understand that we relied on the authority of your authorization prior to the revocation and used or disclosed your PHI within its scope
- Your Right to Amend Your PHI
You have a right to request an amendment of your record. We have the right to ask for the request in writing and we will exercise that right. We may deny that request if the record is accurate and/or if the record was not created by this facility. If we accept the amendment we must notify you and make effort to notify others who have the original record
- Your Right to Know Who Else Sees your PHI
You have the right to request an accounting of certain disclosure that we have made over the past six years. We do not have to account for all disclosures, including those made directly to you, those involving treatment, payment, health care operations, those to the family/friend involved with your care and those involving national security. You have the right to request the accounting annually. We have the right to ask for the request in writing and to charge for any accounting requests that occur more than once per year; we must advise you of any charge and you have the right to withdraw your request or to pay to proceed.
- You have a right to be informed of a breach your protected health information
We are required to notify the patient by first class mail or by e-mail (if indicated a preference to receive information by e-mail), of any breaches of unsecured Protected Health Information as soon as possible, but in any event, no later than sixty (60) days following the discovery of the breach. “Unsecured Protected Health Information” is information that is not secured through the use of a technology or methodology identified by the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to render the Protected Health Information unusable, unreadable, and undecipherable to unauthorized users. The notice is required to include the following information:
- A description of the breach, including the date of the breach and the date of its discovery, if known
- A description of the type of unsecured protected health information involved in the breach
- Instructions regarding the measures the patient should take to protect him/her from potential harm resulting from the breach
- Correction action Table Mountain Physical Therapy has/will take to investigate the breach, mitigate losses, and protect the patient from further breaches
- Table Mountain Physical Therapy contact information, including a toll-free telephone number, e-mail address, Web site or postal address to allow for additional questions
- You Have a Right to Complain
You have the right to complain if you feel your privacy rights have been violated. You may complain directly to us by contacting our HIPAA officer noted in Section 10, or to the:
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights by sending a letter to 200 Independence Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20201, calling 1-877-696-6775, or visiting www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/complaints/
We will not retaliate against you if you file a complaint about us. Your complaint should provide a reasonable amount of specific detail to enable us to investigate your concern.
- The Patient Has the Right to Receive a Copy of the Privacy Notice
Table Mountain Physical Therapy is obligated to provide the patient with a copy of its Notice of Privacy Practices and to post the Notice in a conspicuous place for patients to access as well as on our website. We have the right to change the Notice to comply with policy, rules or regulatory changes; we are obligated to give new notices to current and subsequent patients as changes are made. We are required to maintain each version of a Privacy Notice for a minimum of six (6) years.
9. Some of Our Privacy Obligations and How We Perform Them
- We are required by law to maintain the privacy and security of your protected health information
- We will let you know promptly if a breach that may have compromised the privacy or security of your information
- We must follow the duties and privacy practices described in this notice and give you a copy of it
- We will not use or share your information other than as described here unless you tell us we can in writing. If you tell us we can, you may change your mind at any time. Let us know in writing if you change your mind
If we change our Notice of Privacy Practices we will provide our revised Notice to you when you next seek treatment from us.
10. Contact Information
If you have questions about this Notice, or if you have a complaint or concern, please contact:
Name: James Plummer
Address: 2000 5th Avenue
Oroville, CA 95965
11. Effective Date
This revised notice takes effect on February 1, 2018
Billing and Payment
Who pays for the treatment?
In most cases, health insurance will cover your treatment. Visit our insurance page a summary of insurances we accept and make sure you talk to our front desk so we can help you clarify your insurance coverage.
How does the billing process work?
Billing for physical therapy services is similar to what happens at your doctor’s office. When you are seen for treatment, the following occurs:
- The physical therapist bills your insurance company, Workers’ Comp, or charges you based on Common Procedure Terminology (CPT) codes.
- Those codes are transferred to a billing form that is either mailed or electronically communicated to the payer.
- The payer processes this information and makes payments according to an agreed upon fee schedule.
- An Explanation of Benefits (EOB) is generated and sent to the patient and the physical therapy clinic with a check for payment and a balance due by the patient.
- The patient is expected to make the payment on the balance if any.
It is important to understand that there are many small steps (beyond the outline provided above) within the process. Exceptions are common to the above example as well. At any time along the way, information may be missing, miscommunicated, or misunderstood. This can delay the payment process. While it is common for the payment process to be completed in 60 days or less, it is not uncommon for the physical therapy clinic to receive payment as long as six months after the treatment date.
Post Physical Therapy
What happens if my problem or pain returns?
Flare ups are not uncommon. If you have a flare up (exacerbation), give us a call. We may suggest you come back to see us, return to your doctor, or simply modify your daily activities or exercise routine.
What will I have to do after physical therapy?
Some patients will need to continue with home exercises. Some may choose to continue with a gym exercise program. Others will complete their rehabilitation and return to normal daily activities. It is important that you communicate your goals to your therapist, so he/she can develop a custom program for you.