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Author: Richard Symister

Tips on Choosing Your Next Physical Therapist

Think “value”, and not “insurance”.
It’s not easy finding the right Physical Therapist. There are more than 650 physical therapy clinics in New York, and each one has its own level of talent, specialty, and quality of care.

THE COMPLAINT BOX
I’m going into my 25th year of being a PT, and a strength and conditioning coach. I’ve heard almost every horror story about folks having negative experiences with their physical therapist.

  • He just left me in a room to do exercises.
  • She bounced around between me and two other clients.
  • There was no bodywork, just exercise.
  • They didn’t know much about my sport/dance.
  • They just put a hot pack on me, then put me on a bike.

Based on my experience, here are some tips on finding a PT made for you:

Think VALUE

Your first question when contacting a PT office should not be “Do you accept my insurance?” but rather “Do you have a specialist who can serve my specific needs?” 
Remember, you’ll be investing time, sweat, money, and a whole lot of trust into your therapy. It is best to be super discerning now than dissatisfied later.
Keep this equation in mind when determining the value of your next PT
Efficiency + Effectiveness = Client VALUE
In other words:

  1. Is your therapy working well?
  2. Is your therapy working quickly?
  3. If #1 and #2 are covered, you are more likely to be satisfied with your outcome.

RESEARCH, REVIEWS & REFERRALS

Check recent reviews on Google and Yelp. If both sources are providing 5-Star reviews for a PT studio, this gives you a good indication of the clinic’s quality of service.
Ask friends, family, and also other trusted medical practitioners for a referral. Someone sharing the positive experience they’ve had with a physical therapist is worth its weight in gold and may save you both time, money and frustration during your search.

Find a SPECIALIST

Would you choose any mechanic, dentist, surgeon, or coach to work on your car, teeth or to improve your game? Or would you choose someone who knew and loved what she was doing? (Have you ever met a mechanic that sings while she works? That’s the mechanic I want working on my car!)
“If your PT is not an expert in knees, then why is she treating your surgically repaired ACL?”
MovEvolution specializes in and absolutely loves treating knees, shoulders, and spinal/pelvic floor dysfunctions. If we don’t specialize in a specific area of treatment we will find someone that does!
Lastly,  At other PT clinics, you may not see the same PT every time. Often, clinics will shuffle clients onto various PTs schedules, based upon when you book your appointment. At MovEvolution PT, you will see one of two great PTs specializing in knees, shoulders, spinal/pelvic floor dysfunctions, and we can help you move better.

ATMOSPHERE, PRESENCE & CULTURE

Questions? Email me at quetcy@movevolution.com
Yes, you can judge a book by its cover. Have you experienced poor front office customer service? There’s nothing worse than feeling like a business could care less whether or not you formed a relationship with them.
Get a sense of the PT clinic’s culture, atmosphere, and overall charm by how you are first received when you first call. You should have a positive experience from the start. You may need to deal with the front office often, so it’s best to find an office with which you can form an amicable relationship.

INSURANCE and MONEY
Will your insurance company keep up with your therapy journey or quit halfway through?
Insurance companies on average provide 8-12 visits of PT per condition. (Yes, even when your policy says “unlimited”, it’s important that you read the fine print. Often, you are limited to a certain amount of PT sessions for each individual diagnosis.)

Now keep in mind, 8-12 visits is not a lot of visits, particularly if: 

  1. you are being seen 2x/week (average PT visit frequency)
  2. you have a condition that might require more than 12 visits (ACL, meniscus, rotator cuff, chronic lower back pain, surgical repair).

Check with your MD and get a sense of your full rehab stint, and compare this to the total number of PT visits allowed by your insurance company.

Get a FREE insurance benefits worksheet HERE 
Let’s not forget about co-payments, those $35-$45 (average co-payment amount) you may be paying upon each visit. Now, unfortunately, because of our healthcare system, many PTs are being pressured to treat 2-3 clients an hour, spending a maximum of 15 minutes with each client. (Often, it’s the PT aide who does the majority of the work with you). Do the math: $40 for 15 minutes is $120/hour you are paying to be treated by your PT.
📝 Here’s a checklist to help you find your perfect Physical Therapist to travel with you on your healing journey.

✅ FINDING YOUR PERFECT PHYSICAL THERAPIST CHECKLIST 👍🏿

☑ Comparison shop and choose your PT based upon “value”, not which insurance they accept. 
☑ Check reviews and testimonials from different sources (Yelp!, Google Reviews).
Ask friends, family, or another medical practitioner for a referral. 
Call and get a sense of the clinic’s culture and charm.
Ask if they have a PT on their team that specializes in your particular condition.
☑ Ask how long each session will last and if the therapist will spend the entire time with you.
Ask if you will receive one-on-one attention with your PT.
☑ Find out if you will see the same therapist every time.

You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers. Email me at quetcy@movevolution.com.

Heal. Move. CHOOSE WISELY. Evolve.