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How much does physical therapy cost out of pocket?

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  • How much does physical therapy cost out of pocket?

    How much does outpatient physical therapy cost for you guys?

    My mom is almost 4 yr post, incomplete L1. She lives abroad most of the time and comes to the States to visit for several weeks a year. She usually exercise on her own during her visit, but it'd be nice to have her try the rehab at the medical center here. Maybe they have more advanced equipments and other cool stuff here.

    I know each rehab center is different, but i just want to get a sense of the price range for people without insurance, because if it's too expensive, she probably won't go.

    so how does the process work? just call the hospital -> get an appointment -> get evaluated -> start physical therapy session?
    Do you have to go to a pcp first and get a referral? and i'm assuming they will evaluate you first before you start the therapy. how much does an evaluation cost usually?

    Thanks a lot!

  • #2
    Pretty sure you need doctor and/or therapist evaluation to get proceas started. I would be amazed if it is a quick process. It may go quicker if you are paying entire bill.


    • #3

      If she can afford it.
      T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

      My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown


      • #4
        Even in the middle of Nowhere Iowa (a small town I used to live in) there was a place called "Total ReHab" that was run by a private company. The owner is a PhD in Physical Therapy. They accept walk ins. Their prices are on the order of $60-80 per hour.

        I would bet there is something similar near you. Google it.


        • #5
          A friend of mine who is a Pt mentioned a while back that it was 75.00 for 15 minutes or 300 an hour at the rehab she worked at..


          • #6
            I think the price varies depending on whether they're billing an insurance company or an individual.


            • #7
              What city are you in?

              Patrick's experience is similar to rates quoted to us. Very very expensive "list price" for PT. $250-300 per hour was typical. Of course, no insurance company pays that if you have insurance.... Most PT sessions in our area are 45 minutes.

              A major rehab center in our city would only give a 15% discount if you paid out of pocket. Insurance companies got much greater discounts.

              She would need a licensed doctor to write a script for PT.

              But there are other options. I agree that ProjectWalk and similar programs are much less expensive and they specialize in SCI. Does she walk? If so, do a search online in your city for a gym or Therapy location that has an AlterG bodyweight assisted treadmill device. Some facilities will allow you to pay out of pocket to use the machine at a much lower rate then PT would cost. Sometimes even a good trainer working at a local gym or even your house can be great.

              It might also be reasonable to pay for just a few sessions of PT with an expert to get advice on her current home exercise program, and maybe even get a referral to an appropriate trainer/gym/program for less expensive work-outs during her stay.
              Last edited by hlh; 04-05-2013, 09:25 PM.


              • #8
                In Reno, you can see a knowledgeable manual therapist (PT) for 100 bucks per session - maybe 45 minutes.


                • #9
                  The place I did my outpatient rehab had a community program. $5 / visit and you could use the pool & gym. You were on your PT working with you...but could use all the adaptive equipment, including the OT stuff. I've used the standing frame, mat tables, accessible weight machines and more. You might want to see if any rehab places near you offer something similar.


                  • #10
                    They typically provide a discount for out of pocket. I was paying my own way for a while last year and depending what we did I usually paid $100-110 for 45 minutes.

                    Unless you want to do something specific like ride an FES bike or Lokomat or some other piece of equipment PT is a waste of money. Go to a local gym and get a trainer to help you for 25 bucks and hour or so. They are more into their jobs and generally have a good sense of how to get in shape and build strength.

                    My PT's at out patient were quite uninspired. I had to do all their research and spent far more time working out on my own at home. I stopped going in July after Arndog (not my PT) convinced me to try forearm crutches after having never even met me. For some reason he could tell over the internet and from all the way in Reno that would be the best for me, but my PT whom I saw twice a week had no clue. Maybe if you have an SCI gym near you it would be worth it. Otherwise I would say save your money for a kick ass vacation. Or see if Arndog has any openings.


                    • #11
                      the local hospital here charges $250 for 15 minutes. what a rip off


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by MFlounlacker View Post
                        Or see if Arndog has any openings.



                        • #13
                          She does go to PT sessions abroad, and she knows how to exercise on her own at home, so not going to therapy for a few weeks is not really a big deal.

                          But I mainly want to see if the PT here have anything new to offer (Ex: maybe try a FES bike?), because she has hit a plateau. It's been a little frustrating for her, because she does have the muscle strength but somehow can't balance. She can walk with a cane, but needs to hold on to somebody if she's walking outdoor, because any uneven surfaces throw her balance off. which means she can't go out on her own without her scooter. She has drop foot in one foot.

                          I think we're willing to pay up to $100 an hour if they have SCI specific equipment like FES bike, but if they're not much more than a supervised gym, then ya, not worth it.

                          We're in Nor Cal, so Reno is a little too far...
                          I saw SCI-Nurse recommended Santa Clara Valley Medical Center and Stanford Medical Center in another post. Anybody have experience with these 2 places?

                          Thanks a lot for all the replies!


                          • #14
                            Santa Clara Valley is the best place in that area for SCI. They have the most reputable inpatient rehab program for SCI, so their outpatient program may reflect that. But sometimes you find variability among therapists wherever you go .... They are a county hospital, meaning a bit more financially strapped and used to patients with less ability to pay. Maybe they have a reasonable discount for someone doing self-pay? Stanford is a newer private "shiny" hospital, but not know specifically for SCI rehab.

                            Maybe others who live nearby can comment, as several on this site live in the SF Bay Area.

                            If you live in that area, you are fortunate, as there are additional options.

                            1) SCI-FIT


                            It is located in Pleasanton, CA. It is a privately run program that allows private pay, intensive rehab with trainers who have expertise in neurologic injuries. They have a lot of the fancy equipment you are interested in.

                            2) UCSF - Nancy Byl

                            Dr. Byl runs the Rehab department at UCSF, and has extensive experience with neurologic injuries, although less with SCI. They have an outpatient clinic that you can join and pay privately, and you could pay for sessions with her as well. They have an AlterG, which would be a nice option for your mom.



                            3) AlterG

                            This is a body weight assisted treadmill, originally developed by NASA to assist in weightlessness training. It allows you to walk in a safe, enclosed area on a treadmill to work on gait training/core strength. It is very comfortable, easy to start using and is perfect for people with incomplete SCI like your Mom. My Dad uses one.

                            There is one at the UCSF physfit center, and Dr. Byl is an expert in using it. Several private gyms and other therapy programs own them, as they are popular for injured athletes to use. You can search online for an AlterG located near you, and then call the site to ask about whether private pay people can access the machine. The company that makes them is based in Fremont CA.


                            So there are MANY opportunities in your area, if your Mom is motivated. I'm sure you know that all improvements take time and hard work, and rehab is a life-long process with SCI. There is no perfect piece of equipment, or silver bullet. Yet...


                            • #15
                              You might try a local university. I know U of Montana has a gym that is open to the public at their PT facility. It's a monthly rate, not much at all, and the PT students are there learning their stuff, and passing it on to us. I would think most universities might have something similar.
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