Archived Facts

Kalispell , MT (PRWEB) December 05, 2011

Due to recent changes, State law* allows direct access to physical therapy in Montana; yet many residents are unaware they have the right to seek treatment without a physicians prescription or referral. Blaine Stimac, owner and CEO of Professional Therapy Associates, maintains that Montanas direct access laws offer many benefits to patients, including freedom of choice, lower healthcare costs and the ability to begin physical therapy treatment sooner.

Its important for patients to understand that they have the right to choose where to go for treatment, especially if they suspect their condition can best be treated with physical therapy, said Stimac. Many people put off seeking the care they need because they assume they have to set aside time and money for multiple office visits. Or it may take a while to get an appointment with their physician, so theyll wait and see if the pain goes away on its own. The problem is that delaying treatment can make underlying problems worse. Theres no reason for anyone to take that risk when physical therapy treatment is readily available through Montanas direct access laws.

By scheduling an evaluation directly with a physical therapist, patients can avoid making a separate appointment with their physician for the sole purpose of requesting a referral. This not only saves them time, but also the cost of an additional co-pay or office visit, remarked Stimac. In addition, it enables patients to start treatment sooner which can prevent days or weeks of unnecessary suffering. Whether theyre dealing with back pain, repetitive strain, stiff joints or other musculoskeletal problems, they key to relief is to get a treatment plan underway as quickly as possible.

Stimacs assertions are supported by a recent study published in Health Services Research. The research team found that patients who scheduled outpatient care directly with a physical therapist averaged fewer healthcare visits and lower overall costs than those who were referred by a physician. The studys findings are good news for patients in direct-access states like Montana.

To help Montanans determine if their condition can be treated by physical therapy, Professional Therapy Associates is offering free consultations at its four clinics throughout the Flathead Valley. Prospective new patients can request a free health screening with one of the practices highly trained physical therapists, who will assess the individuals symptoms and complaints, and evaluate movements and body mechanics. The therapist may demonstrate a few simple stretches or exercises that can help alleviate pain or stiffness, and will schedule a full evaluation for those who could benefit from physical therapy treatment. In cases where medical attention may be required, the therapist will refer the individual to a physician or specialist who can perform further tests or X-rays.

Our free physical therapy consultations offer a no-risk way for local residents to determine if physical therapy is right for them there is no co-pay, and they dont have to go through insurance, noted Stimac. For those who opt to pursue treatment, well develop a customized treatment plan that is both effective and affordable. We accept most forms of insurance, and we also offer payment plans.

Stimac takes pride in the fact that Professional Therapy Associates physical therapists and staff are like a family. He elaborated by explaining, We all work together to ensure our patients receive the highest quality care, and well make certain they see a therapist who has experience and success in treating their particular condition. In addition to top-notch therapists, we have state-of-the-art facilities with the latest equipment, and we even have a pool for aquatic therapy. Most importantly, we have a track record of proven results we help our clients achieve freedom from pain and regain full mobility. Thats why Id encourage anyone suffering from aches, pain or stiffness to take advantage of our free consultation and Montanas direct access to physical therapy services.

Individuals who wish to schedule a free consultation may call any of Professional Therapy Associates four centers in the Flathead Valley region, including Downtown Kalispell 406-257-5610, Kalispell North 406-756-7878, Whitefish 406-862-5033 and Columbia Falls 406-892-7999. For further information on Professional Therapy Associates including physical therapy treatments, staff and locations please visit http://www.ptflathead.com.

About Professional Therapy Associates and Blaine Stimac

Professional Therapy Associates (PTA) is an established provider of physical therapy in Montana. Founded in Kalispell in 1988, the practice has expanded to include four convenient locations throughout Flathead Valley. In addition to its flagship Kalispell North facility, PTA also has clinics in Downtown Kalispell (Flathead Health and Fitness), Whitefish (The Wave) and Columbia Falls (Columbia Falls Clinic). Owner and CEO Blaine Stimac is a licensed Physical Therapist in Montana, and holds a Master of Science in Physical Therapy from the University of Montana. He and his team offer a full range of services, including manual physical therapy, sports medicine, therapeutic exercise and biofeedback, as well as treatment for back and neck injuries, motor vehicle injuries and work-related injuries. For more information, visit http://www.ptflathead.com.


Montana Code Annotated 2011. 37-11-104. Physical therapy evaluation and treatment. data.opi.mt.gov/bills/mca/37/11/37-11-104.htm

** Pendergast, Jane, et al. A Comparison of Health Care Use for Physician-Referred and Self-Referred Episodes of Outpatient Physical Therapy. Health Services Research; published online September 23, 2011. onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1475-6773.2011.01324.x/abstract

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