Made to Move Therapist working with a client

First Visit

The purpose this section is to answer a few of the questions you have or may have before you arrive for therapy. However, if you have a question of a more immediate nature, please call us at 310.535.0008.

What should I expect on my first visit?On your first visit, your physical therapist will perform an evaluation including an extensive history, physical exam, and objective testing and measuring. PLEASE COME 20-30 MINUTES EARLY TO FILL OUT PAPERWORK. (You only need to come in 5-10 minutes early if you bring your filled-out paperwork with you.) Following the evaluation, the physical therapist will determine a physical therapy diagnosis (different from the medical diagnosis) and a treatment plan. In conjunction with the patient, goals are set to address the deficits identified and ways to improve function.

What should I wear?In general, wear comfortable clothing to physical therapy. If you are presenting with a problem of your cervical spine, upper back or shoulders, the therapist can provide you with a gown as needed to expose these areas for treatment. If you are coming for a lower extremity problem, shorts are important. You can bring whatever you like to wear with you if you need to change here.

What should I bring with me?For your first visit you will need your insurance card, any paperwork that was sent to you that needed to be filled out. If you have any operative reports, MRI or X-ray results, you may bring those as well, but they are not necessary. Additionally, if you are utilizing any type of brace, splint, or crutches, those should come with you. You have the option to download the blank intake forms from this website and fill them out prior to your first visit or schedule an appointment online. See "schedule an appointment" section.

What types of treatment may I receive?The treatment you receive in physical therapy will depend upon what the physical therapist finds in the evaluation. Our treatment programs are mechanically oriented with a non-dependent therapeutic approach. We emphasize mobilization, self-treatment, and therapeutic exercise to go right to the structure and resolve the problem. We do not stress "feel good" modalities, such as massage, ultrasound, heat, electrical stimulation, etc., which do little to address the underlying pathology and can cause patient dependence. We do utilize modalities as needed to assist us with anti-inflammatory effects, pain control etc.

How long will my visit last?Treatment time will vary according to what the physical therapist finds in the evaluation. There is no specific time limit for physical therapy. Whatever is found to be appropriate during the evaluation will become part of the patient's program and the program will be updated as appropriate as the patient improves. In general, physical therapy treatments last anywhere 1/2 hour to 1 hour. The Initial evaluation is always 1 hour.

When is the best time to start physical therapy?In general starting physical therapy should be done as early as possible. Initiating physical therapy early on will reduce the overall treatment time that you will require by not allowing the problem to become chronic. If you are in pain and or you are in an acute state, your program will be modified according to your signs and symptoms. What is done for you in physical therapy depends on the clinical stage you are presently in, not just the diagnosis. Therefore, your care will be modified according to the signs and symptoms during the acute, subacute, and chronic phases of your problem.

What if I have an increase in symptoms?If you have increased symptoms, please call your physical therapist. When you call the office, please be sure you explain to the office staff that you are having an increase in symptoms. The office staff will pull your chart and contact your therapist or a covering physical therapist. They will be able to review the information and will give you a call back that same day. After we discuss the case with you, we will be able to give you guidelines as to what would be appropriate to reduce your symptoms, whether you need to come in our office, or if you should contact or follow-up with your physician. It is best to call us prior to calling your physician if a change in symptoms has occurred because it is important that we fax the physician a report so that he can be up to date on your care when you see him for a follow-up visit.

How is my progress measured?Your physical therapist will perform a meticulous evaluation, quantifying and qualifying deficits and problems during the evaluation. This allows comparison measurements during follow up re-evaluations. In general, patients are re-evaluated anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks. This is also based on the individual and the problem for which he/she is being treated. Additionally, the therapist always needs to be aware of follow-up visits with your physician as a re-evaluation will be performed and a copy will be faxed or hand carried to your physician.

How will you communicate with my physician?The physical therapist will communicate with you physician most commonly by written report. The physical therapist will send a complete written report outlining the findings of their initial evaluation and their assessment of the problem with an outline of the general treatment plan. This will include the frequency with which they plan to see you. The physical therapist will continue to update your physician with written reports each time you are re-evaluated and most specifically prior to your return to the physician. It is very important that you let your therapist know if you have an appointment with your physician. Additionally, the therapist will, as he/she feels appropriate, contact the physician by phone if he/she has a specific concern or question. At the end of your treatment, the physical therapist will send a follow- up report to your physician with final information as to your status at the time of discharge from physical therapy.

Will I need follow-up or maintenance care?Our goal at Made to Move PT is to resolve your problem completely so that you don't require continual follow-up or maintenance care. There are some patients who do require follow-up care or re-assessment on a periodic basis. If this is needed, it will be discussed with you once you are in physical therapy or at discharge. If you do require additional care beyond the amount of visits authorize by your insurance company, then private pay treatment may be an option for you. See the fee section for further details.

What if I need to return to physical therapy?If a problem recurs, how/if you return to see us will depend on a number of factors. The best way for us to help you determine the next step is to call our office and ask to speak to your treating therapist. You may need to leave a message for them to call you back if they are with patients. There are often things we can recommend to help you with your problem by consulting over the phone. If it is determined we should see you, the State of California Physical Therapist practice act allows us to evaluate you without you first seeing a physician. Depending on the situation, we may recommend that you see your physician first or we may have you see him/her after we evaluate you. If you would like us to bill your insurance, we will need to determine if a referral from a physician is required by your particular insurance company. Some insurance carriers require a certain period of time to have lapsed before returning to physical therapy for treatment of the same problem.

Is it ok to ask my doctor about physical therapy?Absolutely. If you have a problem that you think can be helped with physical therapy, feel free to give us a call. After discussing with you your specific problem, we can give you a better idea if it is something that is treatable with physical therapy. You can also give your doctor a call. If he is not sure, he is welcome to contact us as well. In today's healthcare, if you feel physical therapy can be helpful to you, you will need to stress your feelings to the doctor you are seeing.

Who chooses which physical therapist I go to?Oftentimes, your physician will give you a recommendation or a listing of physical therapists in your area. Sometimes your insurance company will guide you with regard to who is "in network" for your insurance plan. Ultimately, however, the decision as to where you receive your care is up to you. If you have a specific request, you need to let your physician or insurance company know. If we are not in network for your insurance company, most plans have out-of-network benefits which will allow you your choice in physical therapy.

Why should I choose physical therapy?In physical therapy, the goals should be to resolve your problem, not just temporarily relieve it. Although medication and other forms of treatment can be helpful in relieving symptoms, physical therapy produces a long-term result. The physician may opt to utilize medication in conjunction with physical therapy depending on your diagnosis. Additionally, physical therapy, unlike some other forms of treatment, is not designed to go on as a maintenance program. Because we look to resolution, maintenance is not generally necessary.

What do physical therapists do?Physical therapists are experts in restoring 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. 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 joint range of motion) or massage a muscle to promote proper movement and function or corrective exercise to restore normal movement patterns and function. Physical therapists also employ other therapeutic methods such as ultrasound (which uses high frequency sound waves to produce heat or mechanical force in the underlying tissues), 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.

What office policies should I be aware of?We ask that our patients:

  • Give 24 hours notice when possible for cancellations; the anwering machine is on 24 hours a day.
  • Call if you have a question or a concern or if you will be late. We will do our best to fit you in but need to know in advance for consideration of other patients.
  • Be on time. All patients are taken within 5 minutes of their scheduled time.
  • Notify your physical therapist at least one week prior to returning to your physician. The therapist must have this date in order to properly schedule a re-evaluation for you to update your physician on your progress.
  • Schedule appointments in advance and have the proper number of visits scheduled. If you don't schedule your appointments in advance it will be more difficult to give you the times that you desire.

What is my responsibility in physical therapy?You are our partner in your recovery. Your physical therapist cannot do it without you! We ask that all patients cooperate by following through with their home exercise programs and instructions, as this is extremely important in expediting your recovery.

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, Worker's Comp, or charges you based on CPT (Common Procedure Terminology) 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 EOB (Explanation of Benefits) is generated and sent to the patient and the physical therapy clinic with a check for payment and a balance due by the patient.
  • Made To Move 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, mis-communicated, 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 6 months after the treatment date.

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