PHYSICAL THERAPY AT NORTH BAY: WHAT TO EXPECT

Our goal at North Bay Physical Therapy is to provide excellent, evidence-informed, functional physical therapy to all of our patients. We are a professional staff of therapists who aim to help you find the most functional, comfortable movement available to you. So, what should you expect when you come to North Bay for physical therapy? 

1. What are the business hours at North Bay? 

Our office is open by appointment only. We offer appointments Monday through Friday between 9:00 am and 12:30 pm, and between 2:45 pm and 5:00 pm. We may not always be in the office during those hours if we do not have patients booked. We are out of the office for lunch from 1:30 to 2:45 every day. 

2. How do I make an appointment at North Bay? 

You can make an appointment by calling our front office at 831-462-5777. Please leave a short (less than 1 minute), clear message with your name and phone number, and indicate that you want to make an appointment. You will receive a call-back as soon as we can. 

3. Do I have to have a physician's referral to get Physical Therapy? 

Most insurances including Medicare will not pay for physical therapy unless it is prescribed by a physician, so if you are using your insurance to pay for your physical therapy, you will need a prescription from your doctor. However, if you wish to pay cash for your physical therapy appointments, you do not need a physician's referral. 

4. What do I need to bring to my first appointment? 

Please bring your insurance card, physician referral, and copies of your medication list. 

5. Who will my therapist be? 

During your first visit, you will be booked with one of our physical therapists so that they can do an initial evaluation, give you a physical therapy diagnosis, and determine an appropriate plan of care. During subsequent visits you may be scheduled with any of our physical therapists or physical therapist assistants. If you prefer a particular gender or a particular person, please let our front desk staff know so that they can try to schedule you accordingly. 

6. Will I always have the same therapist? 

As a general rule, we try to keep patients on one therapist's or assistant's schedule, and we will try to meet your needs and make an effort to let you know if we have to reschedule you with another therapist for any reason. 

7. What will happen during my appointments? 

During your first appointment you will be evaluated by a physical therapist, in order to assess your functional limitations, determine a physical therapy diagnosis, and craft a plan of care. Evaluations will include questions about your health history as it relates to the reason you are seeking physical therapy treatment, diagnostic tests and measurements, and possibly some preliminary exercises, manual treatment, or application of physical modalities.

What you do during subsequent appointments depends on the plan of care designed for you by your physical therapist. Possible treatments include therapeutic exercise on land or in the water, neuromuscular re-education activities, manual therapy, physical modalities such as ice/heat, ultrasound, or electrical stimulation, and patient education. Regular physical therapy sessions typically combine two or more of these treatments. 

8. What results can I expect from physical therapy treatments?

As physical therapists, our main job is to support and improve the movement and function of our patients during activities ranging from basic activities of daily living all the way to sports- or recreation-specific activities.

Our focus is on assisting our patients to heal from injuries, illness, or surgeries, and to learn or recover balanced, safe, efficient movement patterns. Often with an injury or surgery, as well as with chronic pain conditions, pain is a major hurdle in achieving these healthy movement patterns, and to that end we will do our best to help you minimize your pain with the tools that fall into our scope of practice (exercise, manual therapy, modalities). We will help you develop strength, flexibility, balance, and a foundation of knowledge of how you can manage and support your own wellbeing.

One key thing to remember about your physical therapy is that you will get out of it what you put into it. We have you for a couple of hours each week to help you heal, learn new movement patterns, and learn how to manage your wellbeing, but you must rely on yourself for the other 166 hours per week to implement what you learn in the clinic. 

9. How long will my appointments be?

Each appointment lasts 30-45 minutes. 

10. How many appointments will I have?

The number of appointments you have will depend on your insurance coverage, your prescription, and the plan of care determined by your physical therapist. Typically we see patients for anywhere between 6-18 sessions, depending on the purpose for their visit. 

11. How much will my appointments cost?

The cost to you will vary depending on your insurance. You should check in with your insurance company to find out if you have a co-pay; co-pays are due when you check in for your appointments. If you pay out of your own pocket for your physical therapy, your initial evaluation is $130, and subsequent visits are $90. 

12. May I pay cash for physical therapy treatments?

Yes, you may. If you are uninsured or are not sure whether your insurance covers physical therapy, you are welcome to pay out of pocket. Initial evaluations are $130, and subsequent visits are $90. 

13. Do you take Covered CA, CCAH, or MediCal?

We do not accept insurance plans purchased through the Covered California marketplace, MediCal, or Central California Alliance for Health. If you would like to get physical therapy at North Bay and you are covered by one of these plans, you may pay cash for your visits and we will supply you with a super-bill detailing your payments, which you can submit to your insurance company for reimbursement and inclusion in your annual deductible. 

14. Will my supplemental insurance cover additional visits once I hit my Medicare cap?

Medicare covers 80% of your charges up to a certain amount each year (your Medicare cap); your supplemental insurance covers the remaining 20%. This means that your supplemental insurance will not cover any medical expenses once you reach your Medicare cap.

If you want to continue doing physical therapy once you have reached your Medicare cap, you can either pay out of pocket, or you can consider purchasing secondary insurance, which is an insurance plan that begins coverage once your Medicare cap is reached. These are very confusing terms! On the whole, most Medicare patients have supplemental insurance, but relatively few have secondary insurance. 

15. What happens if I don't/can't show up for an appointment?

Your time is valuable, and so is ours. If you fail to cancel your appointment in a timely fashion, that means we aren't able to give that appointment slot to anyone else, our clinicians don't get paid for that time, and someone who might have really wanted or needed to have an appointment wasn't able to come in. Please cancel your appointment at least 24 hours in advance in order to avoid a $60 late charge. 

16. What should I wear to my first visit and for subsequent visits?

For your initial evaluation it is helpful if you wear athletic clothes or other loose-fitting, comfortable garments that you can move in, and comfortable shoes. What you wear for subsequent visits depends on your plan of care: if you are working in the gym, wear comfortable athletic clothes and shoes. If you will be working in the pool, being your swim suit and a towel. If you aren't sure what you will be doing, it's a good idea to bring workout clothes just in case, and a suit and towel if your plan of care includes going into the pool at any point. 

17. What if I just want massage?

Massage is considered an adjunct to physical therapy treatment but cannot make up the entirety of your physical therapy plan. If you are using your insurance to pay for physical therapy visits, your physical therapist will determine if and how often you receive massage or other manual treatments as part of your physical therapy plan of care. If you only want massage, you are welcome to pay out of pocket to book massage treatments with one of our medical massage therapists. Massage appointments are $90 for 50 minutes.