Accessing Private Physiotherapy Services
One of the first questions I typically receive from a parent who I meet in the community is “How do I get referred to a private physiotherapist?” It’s super easy, but for a lot of families who have never needed physiotherapy, it can seem almost too easy.
The biggest myth out there is that you need a doctor’s referral, which in Ontario is absolutely untrue. Physiotherapists are able to assess and treat without a doctors’ referral. You simply need to call or email and book an assessment. It really is as simple as that! Some of my families comment that, had they known it was that easy, they would have called a long time ago.
For some families, however, there is one exception to what I just said above – if you are planning on using extended health benefits to cover the cost of physiotherapy, (YES! You can do that!!) some health plans require a doctor’s note to be eligible. I always encourage my families to check their benefit coverage first before we start.
Using those benefits!
Lots of families have some sort of extended health benefit plans, typically through one or both of the parents’ places of employment. Most cover physiotherapy up to a certain amount each calendar year. Some people just think of those benefits for physiotherapy to recover from an injury such as a broken bone or sprained ankle; however they can absolutely be used to cover physiotherapy for conditions such as developmental delay, torticollis or plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome in infants).
Every clinic will operate slightly differently -here at New Horizons Rehabilitation Services, clients have to cover the cost of treatment up front and will immediately be given a receipt which they can submit to their extended health provider to be reimbursed. This is typical of private physiotherapy clinics in Ontario.
I always recommend that families let their therapist know if there is a constraint on funding, or if benefits are limited, so together you can plan the most appropriate way to use your funding. As well, ask your therapist if there are any other possible avenues for funding for physiotherapy – there are occasionally bursaries or charity funding that you might qualify for.
If you have any specific questions or concerns about how to access services or using your benefits, feel free to send me an email and I will help as best I can.