Friday, Jan 13, 2017
As the healthcare system changes, FMDH is constantly reevaluating ways in which they might better serve the community. One of the most recent exciting changes has been the implementation of direct access to their physical therapy services. Traditionally, a physician acts as a “gatekeeper,” only allowing the patient to receive physical therapy if referred. Under the new direct access model, a patient may self-refer themselves to physical therapy services, therefore bypassing the need for an extra physician appointment. Not only is this easier for the patient, but research suggests that in appropriate cases, allowing direct access to physical therapy can lower healthcare costs, reduce requirements for diagnostics imaging, and provide more expeditious resolution of the patient’s symptoms.
Montana is one of only 18 states offering unrestricted patient access to treatment, and FMDH has been working hard on making all the necessary changes to make this new process as successful as possible. This includes collaboration with numerous hospital departments to ensure a smooth implementation of this policy. The staff at FMDH physical therapy will continue to communicate in the same effective and comprehensive manner with physicians and clinic staff to ensure patients are receiving the finest and most affordable care possible. FMDH encourages their patients to consult insurance providers regarding policies and coverage of physical therapy by means of direct access. At this time Medicare, Medicaid, Workers Comp, and Property Liability still require physician referral to PT and are not covered under direct access.