To the editor:
Has the public reached their limit of discussing health care reform yet? I for one am ready to hear people talking more about proactive health care. In the current medical model people readily go to see their primary care physicians to manage symptoms once they become intolerable (I confess I am one of them).
A smaller percentage of the public embraces preventative medicine, maximizing their function and health in the present moment and investing in the future. Most of these services are out-of-pocket expenses and take more effort and lifestyle modification on part of the individual. I see it as money now, or money later. The same goes for effort: Do it now. Use it or lose it.
One untapped resource for wellness in the United States in particular is physical therapy. Throughout Europe doctors of physical therapy are seen as body mechanics of sorts. They are called upon for prevention, performance, rehabilitation and acute and chronic pain. Per conversations with my international friends it is common for people to have a family PT much like we have family doctors.
In an effort to educate the public of their rights, their resources, and their personal accountability to live a healthy and high functioning lifestyle: the following information is beneficial:
You have the right to see a physical therapist without a doctors prescription. Sorry Medicare policy-holders, you arent included just yet.
The physical therapist must hold a certification of authorization to practice in Virginia in addition to their degree to treat you beyond the initial evaluation. There are more than 200 certified practitioners in Virginia.
If you have an acute ache, pain or injury, your physical therapist will more than likely be able to see you the same day or within 24 hours. This will generate a comprehensive examination that can be sent to your primary care practitioner for your follow up appointment. This is required of your physical therapist to complete within 3 days of your evaluation. This will save you a co-pay.
Your treatments can begin right away. You may be well on your way to pain-free function before you even get into your doctors office. Your therapist has 14 consecutive business days to treat you before a doctors signature is required to continue.
This is certainly not a comprehensive list of how to use this readily available and beneficial resource. I encourage my patients to embrace preventative medicine and holistic health as much as they can, before things begin to head south. Its a wonderful investment for yourself and the community.
Elizabeth L. Polis