Choose PT First
You have the freedom to choose your own physical therapist.
Residents in New York can go directly to a physical therapist
without a physician's referral first.
Keep in mind that your insurance policy may require a visit
to the primary care physician first or limit your access to
only preferred providers.
Your physician may refer you for physical therapy that is to
be provided in his or her office or to a facility in which he
or she has a financial interest. If either situation is the
case, insist that your physical therapy be provided by a licensed
How To Choose A Physical Therapist
Make sure that you receive physical therapy from a licensed
physical therapist. Physical therapists are professional health
care provided who are licensed by the state in which they practice.
If you are receiving physical therapy from a physical therapist
assistant, be sure that he or she is supervised by a licensed
Ask the physical therapy clinic if they participate with your
insurance company and/or will they submit claims on your behalf
to your insurance company. Some policies require co-payments
for services and the co-payment will be dependent on if the
physical therapist is part of the insurer's provider network.
You will also have to meet your deductible.
Your first visit should include an evaluation by the physical
therapist. Your physical therapist will perform an examination
to identify current and potential problems. Based on the results
of the examination, and considering your specific goals, your
physical therapist will design a plan of care to include specific
interventions and will propose a timetable to achieve these
goals and optimize your function. Your physical therapist will
likely provide you with instructions to perform exercises at
home to facilitate your recovery.
You should feel comfortable asking your physical therapist
any questions regarding your course of care, including specifics
regarding interventions and expectations.
More About Physical Therapists
Physical Therapists (PTs) are health care professional who
diagnose and treat people of all ages who have medical problems
or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities
to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives.
PTs must have a graduate degree from an accredited physical
therapy program before taking the national licensure examination.
The minimum educational requirement is a master's degree, yet
most educational programs now offer the doctor of physical therapy
Physical therapists practice in hospitals, private practices,
outpatient clinics, rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing
facilities, homes, education or research centers, schools, hospices,
corporate or industrial health centers, athletic facilities,
and other settings.