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Referrals for occupational therapy

I have not written on this blog for a long time, and one of my resolutions is to make this more of a priority. One question I often get asked is why a patient has to have a referral from a doctor to receive therapy from OT/me.

The first and easiest answer is that both your insurance and my governing rules require a referral/prescription for OT if I am going to touch your body or use exercise as therapy. Small differences between your insurance and my governing body (TBOTE) are as follows:

Insurance requires that the referring provider be a medical doctor, PA, FNP, psychiatrist.

TBOTE allows me to accept referrals from all of the above, plus chiropractors, psychologists, and LPC's as well. If you are a cash patient, you can obtain your referral from any of the above mentioned providers. If you desire to use your insurance, your PCP, pain management doctor, surgeon, or psychiatrist may provide referrals that your insurance will accept.

Now, you might think it is unnecessary and even limiting/invasive for this requirement to be in place. certainly it makes things more ...complicated... for me! However, it is a rule set in place for YOUR protection. Your doctor, who knows your medical history and your body is the best one to determine whether therapy is safe for you, or whether the potential risks outweigh the potential benefits. Also, your doctor should know all the things you are trying to alleviate pain as this gives her/him a more clear picture of your mindset and desire to get better.

While JFB-MFR is extremely gentle, and I have successfully used it with patients as early as the day after surgery or the week after an auto accident , NOT ALL THERAPIES ARE THE SAME! Insurance companies and TBOTE cannot take so much time to categorize each therapy individually, and their greatest desire is to protect you, the patient. Your doctor is the best person to determine whether your body is ready for therapy.

That being said, many doctors do not know much about JFB-myofascial release, and may be hesitant to refer a chronic pain patient to traditional therapy due to fear of increased symptoms. You may have to educate your doctor about it. Add to that the fact that as an OT in Lubbock, TX, I am a little off the traditional path of therapy practice. I do love to talk about what I do, however, and I have actually visited with doctors whose patients asked them to look into this therapy more before saying "no". Once a doctor is confident that this therapy will not harm her/his patient, the doctor is typically happy to refer, and both the doctor and patient can learn a new thing, and I gain new friends while myself learning new things!

So the referral, while somewhat complicating the initial process, is a win-win-win in the long run.

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