Patient FAQs

Here are some common questions we hear at our clinics.  If you have a particular question not covered below, don't hesitate to give us a call so we can help you.

What should I expect on my first visit?  
An initial evaluation typically last for one hour. A physical therapist will assess range of motion, strength, function and pain and develop a plan of care based on their findings. Patients leave the evaluation with a thorough explanation of their condition and an expected prognosis.  Some manual therapy or exercise is usually done during the first visit if time allows and therapist feels it is appropriate. 

What should I bring to my first visit?  
Your insurance card and any paperwork provided by your doctor. Please arrive ten minutes early to fill out paperwork or print and complete initial paperwork in advance. You can access these forms on our Patient Forms page.

What should I wear for physical therapy visits? 
Please wear loose fitting clothing that will allow you to move freely and allow the therapist to expose involved body part (i.e. t-shirt/tank top for shoulder work, shorts or sweatpants for knee/leg work)

Could I benefit from physical therapy?  
Anyone experiencing pain, weakness, poor balance, incoordination or decreased function can benefit from physical therapy. 

Who is responsible for payment?  
In most cases, your health insurance will cover physical therapy. Your insurance plan will likely require you to pay a co-payment and/or you may have a deductible.  Our staff will discuss your insurance coverage at the first visit. Ultimately though, it is your responsibility to understand your insurance coverage.  Any balance not covered by insurance is the patient’s responsibility. 

What insurances do you accept? 
We accept most insurance plans. We are not able to accept Healthy Families, Fallon, Celticare, Health Safety net, Minuteman HMO, Harvard Focus, Harvard Pilgrim Elevate Health, Tufts Unity, United Healthcare Advantage/Complete HMO.  
*Our Dracut location does not accept patients covered by Workman’s Compensation and motor vehicle insurance.

What if I do not have insurance?
We offer self-pay options and payment plans for anyone needing physical therapy that does not have insurance coverage.

Do I need to see a doctor first?
New Hampshire and Massachusetts both allow direct access to physical therapy, which means you can refer yourself directly to PT without seeing a physician first. However, some insurance companies still require a referral from your PCP.  

What is the difference between a prescription and a referral?
A referral is an order from your PCP referring you to a specialist (i.e. physical therapist).  A prescription in an order from any physician (PCP, surgeon or specialist) referring you to physical therapy.  HMO insurance plans require a referral, even in cases where you may not have seen your PCP and you already have a prescription from your surgeon or specialist.

What if I’m not sure I need physical therapy?
As a courtesy to previous patients and members of surrounding community, we offer 20-30 minute injury screenings.  This is a self pay charge of $30 and does not involve your insurance.  A licensed therapist will obtain a brief history, assess your condition and make appropriate recommendations.  Recommendations may be a course of formal physical therapy, a home exercise program, or referral to another healthcare professional.  

Will I see the same therapist every visit? 
We believe continuity of care and rapport between therapists and patients leads to the best outcomes.  We strive to have you see no more than two therapists but this will depend on your schedule and availability. 

What is the difference between a PT and a PTA?
A physical therapist (PT) is a graduate of either a master’s or doctorate level physical therapy program. They are trained to evaluate, assess, diagnose, develop plan of care and carry out appropriate interventions.  A physical therapist assistant (PTA)is a graduate of an associate's level physical therapy program.  They are trained to carry out plan of care established by evaluating PT and can perform most interventions.  Our PTs and PTAs stay in close communication with each other about your progress and patients working with PTAs will still be regularly assessed by PTs.  Both PTs and PTAs have to pass a national board exam and are licensed by their respective states.