Frequently Asked Questions

 

Q. During what hours is the outpatient therapy department open? 

The outpatient therapy department is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
  

Q. Do you see patients on a walk-in basis?
Most patients are seen by scheduled appointment. However, walk-ins are seen as the schedule permits.  
 

Q. How much will it cost to receive physical, occupational or speech therapy services?  

Charges will vary depending on the services provided. Questions regarding charges can be asked at 618/463-5617.
 

Q. Will my insurance pay for treatment. What would I have to pay each visit?  

Most insurance plans cover outpatient therapy. Feel free to call 618-463-5172 to inquire about insurances we accept.   Make sure you talk to our receptionist so we can help you clarify your insurance coverage. Usually, there is a deductible and/or a co-payment for each visit.  We do not currently collect the co-payments at the time of your visit.  They are billed to you.
 

Q. How does the billing process work?  

Billing for  therapy services is similar to what happens at your doctor's office. When you are seen for treatment, the following occurs:

  1. Saint Anthony’s bills your insurance company, Workers' Comp, or charges you based on Common Procedure Terminology (CPT) codes.
  2. Those codes are transferred to a billing form that is either mailed or electronically communicated to the payer.
  3. The payer processes this information and makes payment according to an agreed upon fee schedule.
  4. An Explanation of Benefits (EOB) is generated and sent to the patient and to Saint Anthony’s Health Center with a check for payment, identifying the balance due by the patient.
  5. The patient is expected to make the payment on any balance due.

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, miscommunicated, or misunderstood. This can delay the payment process.

 

Q. How long will my physical, occupational or speech therapy visit last?  

The initial evaluation and treatment will last approximately 1 hour.  Treatment sessions thereafter can range from 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the type of injury.   
 

Q. What are the most common problems you treat?  

We see a variety of neurological, orthopedic, sports medicine, and spinal dysfunction injuries.  

Some of the commonly treated injuries are listed below.  

  • Upper extremity injuries  
  • Rotator cuff sprains, strains, tears, or post surgical repairs
  • Humeral fractures
  • Tennis or golfers elbow (Lateral or medial epicondylitis)
  • Cubital tunnel
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • wrist sprain/strain
  • finger/hand lacerations or injuries
  • left or right arm/hand hemiparesis or paralysis 
  • lower extremity injuries  
  • Sciatic nerve pain
  • hamstring/quadriceps pain, strains, or tears
  • knee strain, sprain, ligament, or meniscal injuries
  • post surgical repairs
  • calf strains
  • Achilles tendonitis
  • ankle sprains and fractures
  • heel pain or spurs
  • plantar fasciitis
  • left or right leg/foot hemiparesis or paralysis
  • sports injuries 
  • Head, Neck, and Back  
  • TMJ
  • neck sprains/ strains
  • herniated discs
  • postural problems or pain
  • post surgical repairs
  • balance problems or frequent falls

Q. What do I need to bring?  

On your initial visit, please bring your physical / occupational / speech therapy referral (provided to you by your doctor) and your payment information. If your insurance is covering the cost of therapy, bring your insurance card. If you are covered by Workers' Compensation, bring your claim number and your case manager's contact information. If you are covered by auto insurance or an attorney lien, make sure you bring this information.

 

Q. What should I wear?  

All physical and occupational therapy exams are private. Loose-fitting, comfortable clothing is recommended. You may want to wear or bring shorts if we are treating an ankle or knee.

 

Q. What should I expect during my first visit?  

Arrive at your appointment with your paperwork completed (you can download it from our website - see the paperwork or forms link).

You will provide us with your prescription for physical, occupational or speech therapy.

We will copy your insurance card.

You will be seen for the initial evaluation by the therapist.

The therapist will discuss the following:

  • Your medical history.
  • Your current problems/complaints.
  • Pain intensity, what aggravates and eases the problem.
  • How this is impacting your daily activities or your functional limitations.
  • Your goals with therapy.
  • Medications, tests, and procedures related to your health.

The therapist will then perform the objective evaluation using a variety of tests and/or measures.  The therapist will then formulate a list of problems you are having, and how to treat those problems. A plan is subsequently developed with the patient's input. This includes how many times you should see the therapist per week, how many weeks you will need therapy, home programs, patient education, short-term/long-term goals, and what is expected after discharge from therapy. This plan is created with input from you, your therapist, and your doctor.

 

Q. In addition to the evaluation, what else will be involved in my treatment?  

Therapists may use one or a combination of the following interventions to achieve treatment goals:

Therapeutic exercises (including aerobic conditioning)

Functional training in self care and home management

Manual therapy techniques (soft tissue and joint mobilization)

Physical agents, mechanical and/or thermal modalities

Electrotherapeutic modalities

Educational and/or application of assistive, adaptive, and protective devices and equipment

 

Q. How often are my treatments?  How long do they last?  

Frequency and duration of treatment will be determined by your physician or after the initial evaluation by your therapist. It may range from only one visit to months of care depending on your diagnosis, the severity of your impairments, past medical history, etc.  The typical frequency is 2-3 times per week.

 

Q. What can I do to get better while I'm at home?  

Your therapy program will include a home program to be carried out independently. Our therapists use patient-related instruction to educate not only the patient but also families and other care givers.

 

Services

Physical Therapy  

Physical therapy is the evaluation and treatment of a person by physical measures and the use of therapeutic exercises and rehabilitative procedures, with or without assistive devices, for the purpose of preventing, correcting, or alleviating any disability. Physical therapists improve mobility, relieve pain, and prevent or limit permanent physical disabilities of patients suffering from injuries or disease. Their patients include accident victims and disabled individuals with conditions such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, nerve injuries, burns, amputations, head injuries, fractures, low back pain, arthritis, and heart disease. Therapists evaluate patients' medical histories, test and measure their strength, range of motion, and ability to perform function, and then develop treatment plans accordingly. These plans, which may be based on physician's orders, describe the treatment strategy, its purpose, and the anticipated outcome. After devising a treatment strategy, physical therapists often delegate specific procedures to physical therapy assistants.

Treatment often includes exercise for patients who have been immobilized and lack flexibility. Using a technique known as passive exercise, therapists increase the patient's flexibility by stretching and manipulating stiff joints and unused muscles. Later in the treatment, they encourage patients to use their own muscles to further increase flexibility and range of motion before finally advancing to weights and other exercises that improve strength, balance, coordination, and endurance.


Q. What is a Physical Therapist? 
 

Physical Therapists are licensed health care professionals who are experts in musculoskeletal dysfunction.  Therapists are trained to assess and provide treatment to individuals to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and function throughout life. This includes providing treatment in circumstances where movement and function are threatened by aging, injury, disease or environmental factors.


Q. Who Do Physical Therapists Treat?  
 

Physical Therapists can treat patients such as:

  • a construction worker with an injured back;
  • a senior citizen with arthritis;
  • an infant with a birth defect;
  • an athlete with a sports injury;
  • a person who has had a stroke;
  • a child with a disability;
  • a pregnant woman;
  • an overstressed business executive

These are just some examples of individuals who have benefited from physical therapy. Physical Therapists and PT Assistants take a direct approach to meeting an individual's health needs and wants, whether a patient's goal is walking independently or breaking a high-jump record. Along with the patient and other health care practitioners, the physical therapist shares the hard work and commitment needed to accomplish the individual goals for each patient.

 

Occupational Therapy  

Occupational therapy is skilled treatment that helps individuals achieve independence in all facets of their lives. It gives people the "skills for the job of living" necessary for independent and satisfying lives.

Services typically include:

  • Customized treatment programs to improve one's ability to perform daily activities
  • Comprehensive home and job site evaluations with adaptation recommendations
  • Performance skills assessments and treatment
  • Adaptive equipment recommendations and usage training
  • Guidance to family members and caregivers
  • Design, fabrication, revision, education and instruction in the use of various assistive devices including braces, splints, prosthetics and orthotics

Q. What is an Occupational Therapist?  

The occupational therapist is a trained and licensed health care professional who can make a complete evaluation of the impact of the disease on the activities of the patient at home and in work and life situations.  The therapist also considers leisure activities when making their assessment.  An Occupational Therapist will provide services to improve the patient's ability to accomplish everyday tasks associated with a maximum level of safe independence.

Q. Who Benefits From Occupational Therapy?   

A wide variety of people can benefit from occupational therapy, including those with

  • work-related injuries including lower back problems or repetitive stress injuries
  • limitations following a stroke or heart attack
  • arthritis, multiple sclerosis, or other serious chronic conditions
  • birth injuries, learning problems, or developmental disabilities
  • burns, spinal cord injuries, or amputations
  • broken bones or other injuries from falls, sports injuries, or accidents
  • vision or cognitive problems including Alzheimer’s disease, that threaten their ability to drive or safely perform daily living skills

Preceding information was provided by the American Occupational Therapy Association.

For more information, visit http://www.aota.org/featured/area6/index.asp.

 

Speech Therapy 

Speech therapy is the corrective or rehabilitative treatment of physical and/or cognitive deficits/disorders resulting in difficulty with verbal communication. This includes both speech (articulation, intonation, rate, intensity) and language (phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, both receptive and expressive language, including reading and writing). Depending on the nature and severity of the disorder, common treatments may range from physical strengthening exercises, instructive or repetitive practice and drilling, to the use of audio-visual aids (Wikipedia.com).

Information pertaining to speech therapy can be found at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association website, http://www.asha.org/public/speech/disorders/  

Q. What is a Speech-Language Pathologist?  

A speech-language pathologist is a specialist who evaluates and treats communication disorders and swallowing problems.   A speech-language pathologist is sometimes called a speech therapist or speech pathologist.

 

Q. What is a Therapy Assistant (PTA’s and COTA’s)?  

Physical therapist assistants, or PTAs, are skilled health care providers who work under the supervision of physical therapists. Duties of the PTA include assisting the physical therapist in implementing treatment programs, training patients in exercises and activities of daily living, conducting treatments, and reporting to the physical therapist on the patient's responses.  Similarly, there are Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants who provide assistance and support to the Occupational Therapists in their care of patients, in a comparable fashion, as described above. 

 

Q. Do I need an order from a doctor before I can be treated by a Physical, Occupational or Speech Therapist?  

Yes. All treatment requires a physician referral.  A physician's referral is valid for 30 days from the date it is written.  
 

Q. Will my doctor be notified of my progress?  

The referring physician is sent a copy of the Initial Evaluation and your Plan of Care.  You will be re-evaluated on a monthly basis and when you see your doctor, we will provide you with a progress report with our recommendations. 

For many patients, one of the primary objectives is pain relief. This is frequently accomplished with hands-on techniques, modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and/or heat or cold therapy. Movement often provides pain relief as well. Your physical therapist will provide you with the appropriate exercises not only for pain relief but to recover range of motion, strength, and endurance.

In some cases, physical therapy techniques can be painful. For example, recovering knee range of motion after total knee replacement or shoulder range of motion after shoulder surgery may be painful. Your physical therapist will utilize a variety of techniques to help maximize your treatment goals. It is important that you communicate the intensity, frequency, and duration of pain to your therapist. Without this information, it is difficult for the therapist to adjust your treatment plan.

Massage may be part of your treatment. Rehabilitation specialists are trained in a variety of techniques that may help with your recovery. Deep tissue techniques may be part of the rehabilitative process. Massage is used for three reasons typically - to facilitate venous return from a swollen area, to relax a tight muscle, or to relieve pain. Contrary to common thought, massage does not increase circulation.


Q. What happens if my problem or pain returns? 
 

Flare ups are not uncommon. If you have a flare up (exacerbation), give us a call. We may suggest you come back to see us, return to your doctor, or simply modify your daily activities or exercise routine.

 

In most states, physical therapists cannot make a medical diagnosis. This is something that your medical doctor will provide for you. 

Physical therapists are important members of your medical team. At this point in time, physicians are typically the health care providers that will provide you with a medical diagnosis. 

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, Workers' Comp, or charges you based on Common Procedure Terminology (CPT) 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 Explanation of Benefits (EOB) is generated and sent to the patient and the physical therapy clinic with a check for payment and a balance due by the patient.  

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, miscommunicated, 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 six months after the treatment date. 


These are some things you may consider when seeking a physical therapy clinic:  

The therapist should be licensed in the state.  

The first visit should include a thorough medical history and physical examination before any treatment is rendered.  

The patient goals should be discussed in detail during the first visit.  

Care should include a variety of techniques which might include hands-on techniques, soft tissue work, therapeutic exercises and in some cases heat, cold, electrical stimulation or ultrasound.  

Do they have a service that can address your problem?  

Do they take your insurance or are they willing to work with you if they are not a preferred provider?  

They should be conveniently located. Since sitting and driving often aggravate orthopedic problems, there should be a very good reason for you to drive a long distance for rehabilitation.  

What are the hours of operation?  

Can they provide satisfaction survey results?  

The therapist should provide the treatment.  

Can you briefly interview the therapist before the first visit?  

Ask your family and friends who they would recommend. 

What is your privacy policy? 

What ages do they treat? 

 

Q. Do you involve the parents in the treatment process?   

Yes.  The parents are a very important part of therapy here at Saint Anthony’s Outpatient Therapy department.  Parents are often invited back into the treatment rooms to observe therapy as long as the situation is appropriate.  They also have the option of observing therapy in the waiting area by watching a monitor.  Every session is designed to allow time for the parent and therapist to discuss progress and what was done during the therapy session.  Parents are also given activities to work on at home to increase carryover in all settings and help the child achieve greater success in reaching their goals.


Q. Can my spouse/significant-other come to sessions?
Yes. We encourage family members to come and learn ways to assist our clients. Their support and encouragement is critical, but it is up to you which sessions they attend.


Q. Can I bring children with to my visit?  
 

Yes, but they must remain supervised and in the waiting area.


Q. How do I make an appointment? 
 

Call us at 618/463-5171. Our Mission Partners will schedule your appointment at the earliest, most convenient time possible. Follow-up visits can be scheduled in advance when you come in for your initial evaluation.


Q. How do I cancel an appointment? 
 

Please call us as soon as you realize that you won't make your scheduled appointment. We prefer to reschedule your appointment for a different time on the same day, if there is an available time slot. This will keep you on track with your therapy program.

 

Q. Why choose Saint Anthony’s Outpatient Therapy for physical, occupational or speech therapy? In the Alton area, Saint Anthony’s Outpatient Therapy has just recently celebrated its 31 year anniversary. Our excellent care and patient relationships have been a trademark of our success.  As such, along with doctor referrals, many of our patients come to us by word-of-mouth.   We are well known for our prompt appointment scheduling, excellent patient satisfaction, quality outcomes, and caring, experienced staff. 

  

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