Health Blog

Health and Wellness.

28 Jun

Three Rs: Patient Rights, Responsibilities, and Referrals

By Bart Jones, DPT

You are the most important member of your health care team.  

You have the RIGHT to choose the most suitable health care provider to meet your goals, the RESPONSIBILITY to base your health care decisions on education from your physician as well as by doing your own homework and the right to choose what provider your REFERRAL is sent to.

Know Your Rights.

In most cases, Louisiana law allows you to see a physical therapist without a physician referral. (Your insurance policy, however, may require a referral first.)

When your physician refers you to a therapist or a clinic for physical therapy, you should ideally receive a list of options. Some doctors have a financial interest in physical therapy practices.  If the physician has any tie to a clinic or other therapist on the list, that information should be disclosed. If they refer you to a physical therapist in their office, you are not required to go there. You have the RIGHT to choose any physical therapist who participates in your health care plan.

Be Responsible and Do Your Homework.

A patient’s right to choose comes with responsibilities. It’s your responsibility to do your homework. All physical therapists are prepared through education and clinical experience to manage a variety of conditions and injuries. They may provide care in specific settings such as home, school, and outpatient clinics. It’s up to you to research the therapist you’ve been referred to. It’s up to you to seek a second opinion if you feel you need one. Remember, patient rights include the right to information, but it’s your RESPONSIBILITY to read it and base your care decisions on that information. Look for the initials PT or DPT (doctor of physical therapy) after the physical therapist’s name. Some physical therapists achieve advanced knowledge, experience, and skills and go on to become board-certified clinical specialists. Check reviews for the physical therapist and their clinic online (Healthgrades, Facebook, Google, etc.) to see how previous patients have rated them.

Choose Where You Want to be Referred.

Most of the time, your primary health care provider gives you a referral when he or she determines that you need specialized care or physical therapy. Other times, referrals come at the request of the patient. If you have a specific health concern and want to consult a physical therapist or schedule an appointment at a particular clinic for which you need a referral, you do have the right to ask your healthcare provider for a REFERRAL.

Your ability to choose is very important. If you choose Elite Physical Therapy, we can see you, regardless of whose name is at the top of the prescription. We hope that the conversation from your medical office should go like this: “Where do you want to go for PT?” and we hope that you say, “I want to go to Elite Physical Therapy!” More than anything, we want you to know that you have a choice. It is your body, your money, and your insurance contract; so exercise your right to choose.

Choose Elite.

Now that you know what to look for and the questions to ask for physical therapy, you can make the best decision possible for your recovery and rehabilitation choice. Don’t be afraid to ask and question your PT, the front desk during your initial appointment, or your physician if you are directed to go to a specific clinic for your PT. What works for others may not be the best choice for you. In today’s healthcare industry, you are your best advocate. When it comes to choosing your Physical Therapist, you do what is best for you!

We at Elite Physical Therapy would like to thank you for the opportunity to provide care to you and your family. We want to encourage you to speak openly with your physician, your physical therapy team, take part in your treatment choices and promote your own safety by being well informed and involved in your care. We want you to think of yourself and us as partners in your care.

If you have any questions about you or your family’s physical therapy needs or your right to choose, give us a call at 318.443.3311 and let us join you on your health care team!


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