In my many years of private practice, I always run into a lot of the the same issues when treating my patients. What's frustrating is that a lot of these issues actually have nothing to do with actual patient care. They usually end up sounding something to the effect of:
"I wish I found your office sooner, but I have to go where ------- tells me to go, right?
You can fill that blank with whatever you want: insurance company, lawyer, other medical professional, etc. And this is just one of the things that I hear from my patients. The medical industry in general has become extremely complicated in recent years, so much so that something as simple as finding a provider that takes your insurance can seem daunting, but it's not impossible to navigate. It all boils down to the same thing: as a patient, you need to take control and do your due diligence when picking your Physical Therapy provider. But how do you do that? Especially when you have a number of parties trying to tell you what to do?
You Have The Right To Go Wherever You Want
Always remember, no one has the power to force you to go anywhere. In fact, it is actually illegal for any party to suggest that you do not have a choice in the matter when it comes to Physical Therapy. It doesn't matter if it's a lawyer, insurance company, or other medical professional. Parties are allowed to give you a list of suggested facilities, but it is ultimately the right of the patient to pick whichever clinic they are most comfortable with.
Do Your Research
Even if you get suggestions, the internet should be your first resource when it comes to medical provider research. Look at their websites. Read their bios and patient testimonials if possible. Do their values and what they offer in their clinics match up with what you need & expect? If it doesn't, look for other places.
Ask The Clinic To Verify Your Insurance
At my clinic, we pre-verify ALL commercial insurances before scheduling ANY appointments. To some, this might seem like an unnecessary step, but with different coverage levels for numerous insurance plan types, we find that verifying a potential patient's insurance beforehand and informing them of the coverage is the most accurate way of knowing how much you will be expected to pay out of pocket for Physical Therapy. This way, a patient knows EXACTLY what to expect and there are no hidden surprises around the corner. There have been too many times when we've gotten patients that have transferred to our clinic after feeling deceived by another provider due to being misinformed as to what their insurance benefits are.
Also, in our experience, it's best to call the clinic directly and have them verify the insurance with the insurance company, as opposed to looking it up online. We have found that some of the insurance company websites are not accurate when providing lists of providers for Physical Therapy services.
Overall, I understand that choosing any medical provider, not just a Physical Therapist, can be quite confusing. It may even feel like you're jumping through so many hoops that it's making your head spin. But just remember, at the end of the day, it is your decision and you hold the power. And if you really aren't sure, do not be afraid to ask! The vast majority of Physical Therapists out there want nothing more than to show you that they can be trusted with your care. If you aren't getting that feeling, just move on!