Frequently Asked Questions
What is Physical Therapy?
A: Physical Therapy is a healthcare profession based on the evaluation and treatment of movement problems. This encompasses a wide variety of issues that can affect anyone from infants to elderly people. Problems with movement may involve the whole body or parts of the body. Movement may be painful, weak, un-coordinated, unbalanced, lacking endurance or any combination of these. When any of these problems are severe enough, a person will have functional limitations. They physically can’t do what they need or want to do! That’s a big problem!
Do I need a physician referral to see a physical therapist?
A: In Missouri, unlike most states, it is a little complicated. You can see a physical therapist without a physician referral for a consultation. And you can start treatment if you have seen a physician (in the last 12 months) for the same problem for which you want to see the physical therapist. What routinely happens? We seek an order/referral from the patient’s preferred physician. This ultimately simplifies things, and we are already obliged (and want) to communicate with the physician.
The Missouri Physical Therapy Association is working hard to get full direct access to physical therapists in Missouri. It is Dr. Everson’s firmly held opinion that people should never need a “permission slip” to see the physical therapist of their choice.
What is a “preferred provider”?
A: Any healthcare provider who can legally put the right initials after their name, and will work at sharp price reductions, can be a “preferred provider”. The basic premise of “managed care” using “preferred providers” is that the providers will work at steep discounts and make up for the financial losses with “volume”. The need to see more patients means seeing more patients per hour, per day. This works fine for most patients. For others it doesn’t work well at all.