Musculoskeletal & Orthopedic Rehabilitation


Musculoskeletal & Orthopedic Rehabilitation

Outpatient Rehabilitation Frequently Asked Questions

We invite you to click on the items below to get answers to frequently asked questions about outpatient rehabilitation.

Appointments can be made by phone or in person. Please contact us for information regarding our numerous outpatient therapy programs and areas.

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital accepts payment from most insurance carriers. It is advisable to contact your insurance carrier or speak with us before you begin therapy to determine if we accept payment from your insurance provider.

Insurance carriers and plans often differ as to the type and amount of coverage that they provide. Many will have co-payments and deductibles, as well as visit limits or restrictions. For instance, many carriers have a cap of therapy visits per year and some will only cover therapy if it is directly related to surgery or an inpatient hospital stay. In addition, some insurance carriers will require pre-authorization for a specific number of visits related to a particular medical problem. We advise all patients to thoroughly review and understand their insurance policies in regards to the type of coverage that they can expect.

The Rehabilitation Medicine Department will work to obtain any required pre-authorization for occupational or physical therapy visits. We will inform you of the number of authorized visits that your insurance has agreed to cover and ask that you keep track of them as we do. As you near the limit of authorized visits, we will alert you and obtain additional authorization from your insurance carrier if needed.

Either the primary or the referring doctor is responsible for providing a referral for therapy to satisfy the insurance documentation. This takes at least 48 hours, so be sure it is done well in advance of your therapy appointment.

A prescription for physical or occupational therapy is written by a doctor detailing the type of treatment that you need. A referral, also written by your doctor, may be required by your insurance carrier in order for your therapy to be reimbursed. This requirement may differ depending on your insurance company.

The number of visits that you will receive for therapy depends on both your insurance coverage and your medical necessity. We highly recommend and encourage you to learn about the specifics of what your insurance carrier will cover. Also, when beginning therapy, the therapist will discuss with you the expectations for your recovery and will help you set goals and time lines.

We believe that it is in your best interest to remain with a single therapist for the duration of your therapy. However, we cannot control all scheduling conflicts. For this reason we may ask you to see another therapist in certain circumstances.

It is difficult to evaluate more than one specific problem in one evaluation session. Likewise, since the follow up sessions are 30 minutes long it is difficult to adequately treat more than one problem in this time period. If you are being seen for more than one diagnosis and they are related to each other (i.e. shoulder and neck) then it may be feasible to receive treatment for both problems together. If, however, they are not related (i.e. neck and knee) then it is better to concentrate on the most acute or severe problem first.

Therapy evaluations range from 30-60 minutes depending on the diagnosis and the acuity of the problem. Very acute injuries may not require or be able to tolerate extensive testing, but chronic and complicated ones may require more thorough evaluation.

The cost to patients depends on insurance deductibles and co-payments. For more information on cost and insurance, please visit the billing section in the Guide to our Hospital.

For all billing inquiries, please call our patient financial services department at (212) 632-7440 for bills generated from the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center or toll free at (866) 652-7517 for bills generated from the NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

On your first day of therapy you should remember to bring your insurance information, any paper referrals, insurance pre-authorization, or prescriptions that were given to you, and any copies of diagnostic tests or procedures that you may have had that relate directly to the problem for which you will be receiving therapy. It is also helpful if you know the names of any specific medications that you are taking.

On occasion you may be asked to change into a gown in a private setting in order for your therapist to be better able to assess certain parts of the body. In addition, exercises are a prominent aspect of most therapy sessions. Therefore, loose fitting and comfortable clothing and shoes are most appropriate for therapy sessions. In addition, make sure to wear (or bring) any braces, splints, or appliances that you have.