What makes physical therapy at The Bridge Center unique?
Physical therapy (PT) at The Bridge Center offers a variety of treatment options to meet each client’s needs. In addition to the traditional treatment tools that one may encounter in a typical outpatient PT setting, Easterseals Massachusetts (ESMA) also has the unique ability to incorporate equine movement/ hippotherapy (HPOT) and use the natural environment to help clients reach their optimal level of functioning. Individualized treatment sessions are created and planned to ensure an enjoyable, meaningful, and memorable experience. Highly skilled ESMA therapists collaborate with clients and/ or caregivers to create and achieve meaningful therapeutic outcomes in an inclusive, natural, and fun environment.
What is hippotherapy?
Hippotherapy is a therapy tool that the ESMA physical therapy team uses in combination with other treatment tools to engage sensory, neuromotor, and cognitive systems to ultimately improve functional outcomes. An equine (horse) provides multidimensional movement that is variable, rhythmic, and repetitive, making it an excellent tool for increasing strength, endurance, motor planning, balance, and coordination. When sitting forward on the equine, a client experiences a walking pattern like a normal human’s gait. This similar gait pattern allows the therapist to purposefully use equine movement to reach desired effects. The effects of equine movement on postural control, sensory systems, and motor planning can be used to facilitate coordination and timing, grading of responses, respiratory control, sensory integration skills, and attentional skills.
What should a client expect during a physical therapy session?
ESMA offers physical therapy services using a combination of therapy tools, including those that incorporate the use of hippotherapy (when medically and clinically appropriate) and those that do not. The goal of ESMA physical therapy is to ensure that all clients are provided with a personalized level of care to meet their functional goals, all while having fun and exploring the natural environment. An individualized plan of care will be established in collaboration with the client and/ or caregiver and will include both goals and expected outcomes. ESMA therapists will regularly reassess goals and revise individual plans of care as clinically appropriate based on individual needs.
When hippotherapy is incorporated into a treatment session, this does guarantee that the full duration of the session will be on the equine. The therapist will use their clinical discretion and judgement to determine the most optimal treatment tools to use during each session. It is considered best practice to incorporate equine-assisted movement with other treatment tools to achieve the most optimal functional outcomes. PT sessions are either 30 or 45 minutes.
What happens when all therapeutic goals are met?
ESMA physical therapists regularly assess a client’s progress during each session. Once a client has met their goals for therapy services and the client, therapist, and/ or caregiver feel the client is ready to be discharged, the client may be referred to adaptive riding lessons. With this transition, participants continue to build on the skills developed and strengthened during physical therapy, while still participating in inclusive equine activities. Click here for inclusive Weekly Riding & Horsemanship lesson information or visit bridgecenter.eastersealsma.org.
What should I wear? Do I need a helmet?
Closed-toe and closed-back shoes, helmets, and long pants are required to participate in equine-assisted activities. Clients must wear an ATSM/ SEI-approved riding helmet. It is highly recommended that clients acquire and bring their own helmets to ensure proper fit. If necessary, helmets are available for onsite use. Dress in comfortable clothing that is weather-appropriate, as therapy sessions will be held outdoors or in the riding arena, which is not heated.
Is an evaluation required? Is a doctor’s referral required?
Yes, all clients must have an ESMA Physical Therapy Evaluation to initiate therapy services at The Bridge Center. This allows the physical therapist, along with the client and/ or caregiver, to develop an appropriate plan of care and goals. A PT evaluation must be scheduled using the below registration process. Once an evaluation is completed, the therapist will provide the client and/ or caregiver with recommendations regarding hippotherapy/ physical therapy.
Massachusetts is considered a “direct access” state, which means a doctor’s referral is not required for physical therapy services without the use of equine-assisted activities. However, a healthcare provider’s clearance is required to participate in equine-assisted activities/hippotherapy. The Healthcare Provider Form is located on CampDoc (our online registration system) after the client creates a profile and registers for the relevant term.
Do you accept insurance? What payment methods do you accept?
All payments should be made through the online registration system CampDoc. ESMA does not bill insurance companies directly and all clients are responsible for payment at the time of registration, prior to beginning any therapy service. After services are completed and upon request, ESMA can provide a client and/ or caregiver with an itemized receipt.
Please submit all receipt requests to email@example.com and one will be provided within 7 business days of request. ESMA cannot guarantee reimbursement through insurance. It is advised that all clients reach out to their insurance company to confirm out-of-network coverage/benefits if looking to receive reimbursement for physical therapy services, as each insurance company handles cash-based practices differently. Suggested questions for a client’s insurance company when inquiring about reimbursement are included at the end of this packet.
Suggested Questions to Ask Your Insurance Company
ESMA cannot guarantee reimbursement and payment is the sole responsibility of the client. ESMA advises all clients to reach out to their insurance company to confirm out-of-network coverage/ benefits if looking to receive reimbursement for physical therapy services as each insurance company handles cash-based practices differently.
During a physical therapy evaluation/ treatment session, all or some of the following CPT codes may be used: 97162, 97530, 97112, 97110, 97542, 97763, 97164. Please note the physical therapy professional is not limited to these above codes when completing an evaluation or treatment session.
Here are some suggested questions to ask when inquiring about reimbursement from an insurance company:
- Do I have benefits that cover out-of-network or non-participating providers?
- Does coverage run on a calendar year or plan year? If it runs on plan year, when does it start and end?
- Is there a limit to the number of sessions per plan year and if so, does that include just PT or other therapies? How many sessions have I already used?
- If Autism diagnosis, is there an exception of max number of sessions and do I have unlimited sessions?
- What is my deductible? After I meet my deductible, what is my co-pay or coinsurance?
- Do I need an MD referral or prior authorization?
- Are any specific services excluded?
- Are there any exclusions to my policy?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any additional questions or concerns.