All forms of therapy require copious amounts of paperwork. Physical therapy is one of the more well-known examples of invasive paperwork, but occupational and speech therapists often have the same insurance restraints and requirements.
Physical therapy requires a recommendation from a patient’s doctor in order for the therapy services to be covered by most insurance policies. In this way, it is very similar to that of a specialist such as a neurologist or an oncologist. However, there is one very big difference between traditional specialists and therapists – whether they are speech, physical, or occupational. The number of therapy services a patient may receive is typically limited annually. Because of this, it is very important that therapists work closely with physicians to make sure the right service is being delivered to the patient in the most efficient manner that will satisfy the patient’s needs as well as the insurance provider’s limits.
Referrals and Paperwork
The first thing a physical therapist must do is verify the doctor’s orders are being followed. In some instances, the physician will simply write a request for an evaluation and an additional request will be needed for therapy services to commence. Because therapists and doctors don’t always work together on a regular basis, it can be difficult to know the best people to contact within the doctor’s office or what procedures to follow to guarantee the quickest paperwork turnaround time.
One way to ensure all steps move along as quickly as possible is to keep a file for every physician who refers patients to your practice. List the name of the physician, nurse, office manager, and anyone else who is especially helpful. Additional details to keep in the file include, phone numbers with specific extensions, fax number, mailing address, and any notes on expedition methods. These files can also be a great resource for holiday or thank you cards to let the physician know there referrals are appreciated.
Insurance guidelines have always been complicated, and that trend doesn’t appear on the verge of change in the near future. Even within the same insurance company, policies can coverage can vary wildly. It is imperative that therapy services especially are clearly covered so patients do not receive an unexpected bill after therapy begins.
Keeping a file for each insurance carrier you contact will make future inquiries easier, especially if you are lucky enough to find a favorite account specialist. Using the same guidelines outlined for the physician file, compile data on various insurance providers.
Once you have determined benefit eligibility, you may find that patients have very limited therapy services. While this may work for physical injuries that require short treatment times, such as sprains, it can be much more troublesome for patients who require intensive therapy, such as stroke victims.
As you become aware of programs that help fund therapy for patients who are uninsured or underinsured be sure to keep the pertinent information for those organizations available for patients who may be in need of their services.
How do you keep the paperwork side of your business running smoothly?