How long will I need treatment?
There is no way to know how much treatment any one patient will need until an individual evaluation is conducted. Each patient and injury is different and is treated as such. Considering that you receive higher level treatment and much more of it due to the extended session lengths, it equates to roughly two times the results in half of the time vs. other providers. OPTC's promise is that we will do our absolute best to meet the goals of each patient in the fewest treatments possible.
When should I start seeing improvement?
Again that depends on the same factors associated with how long treatment will take. Level of improvement will vary greatly across patients. Dr. Zacharko utilizes advanced techniques that have been tried and proven. You should notice a difference after each treatment session and it should not take long for you to begin seeing improvement in your symptoms. Continued treatment will depend on the patients individual goals and expectations.
Who is appropriate for OPTC's services?
OPTC provides successful treatment to patients that are committed to getting better and find value in superior services and personalized care. If you are tired of being another patient in the waiting room and competing for prime appointment times, then OPTC is for you. You will receive unparalleled, individual attention the entire treatment and receive expert care that is unmatched anywhere around. If you suffer from pain that impairs your ability to do the activities that you need to do or love to do then you are a candidate. Simply put, if you demand more and want to get better today, then OPTC is for you.
Do I need a physician's referral for physical therapy?
No. In North and South Carolina, it is not necessary to see your physician to obtain a referral to be evaluated and/or treated by Dr. Zacharko at OPTC. You have nothing to lose besides the time lost to pain and injuries. Simply call or send an appointment request online.
What is "Manual Therapy"?
Manual Therapy is a subspecialty of the Physical Therapy profession. Therapists that work in orthopaedics treating neuromusculoskeletal pathology will classify themselves as Manual Therapists if they primarily utilize skilled, hands-on techniques to treat a patient's pain and impairments. Manual Therapists will have specialty training and skills beyond those learned in the Physical Therapy curriculum or the minimum required continuing education annually. This training can come in the form of specialty certifications, clinical residencies or fellowships, mentorships and/or practical course work and examinations. The accredited organizations and institutions training PT's in manual therapy are highly acclaimed and on the leading edge of evidence-based practice.
Why don’t you take insurance?
This question is also addressed in other areas on this website but the short answer is that it allows for better patient care. The full answer would go far beyond the confines of this webpage but here are some of the main reasons that OPTC is a 100% private-pay practice:
The current state of insurance and Medicare reimbursement’s is poor and the future looks worse. This goes for most all areas of health care. It is too early to know for sure how the new legislation and proposed changes by the government will directly effect private medical practices but it has been well documented that physicians are being stretched very thin. They are working longer hours, expected to see more patients and getting reimbursed less. High percentages are facing financial turmoil and many are opting to enter into concierge practices where no Medicare is accepted. Not to mention the stringent documentation requirements demanded by Medicare and private insurance companies alike. These factors combine to over work the practitioner causing less time spent with patients and a decrease in quality of care delivered. Physical therapists are in the same boat. More and more clinicians possessing the skills and confidence are turning to private-pay practices due to increasing costs to operate with dwindling reimbursements in the traditional insurance-based model. As mentioned under the “Why OPTC” tab on this website, highly trained physical therapists are able to serve as primary care clinicians for neuro-musculoskeletal disorders and can take a significant burden off of the physicians. Instead of seeing your primary care physician for a obviously orthopaedic injury then having him refer you to the therapist, you can see the PT directly. If a more serious pathology is discovered then therapist can refer you to the MD. This saves valuable time and resources that can significantly lighten the load on the medical system “tail-chasing”.
Reimbursement concerns shouldn't dictate treatment. Many insurance companies will only reimburse the practice a flat rate no matter what services are provided. This results in two choices for the clinician: provide the appropriate care and not get paid for most of the time you spent or cut the treatments short and compromise the well being of the patient. Neither is a good option. In addition, knowing that the insurance companies are doing whatever they can to deny claims, practices need to employ staff with the sole purpose of handling the insurance hassle. Even the best and most seasoned staff still has claims returned unpaid. This means that the practice losses money both upfront having to employ additional staff but also on the backend with not getting reimbursed for services already provided.
Time and energy saved can be directly passed to the patient. Without having to jump through the hoops of the insurance and Medicare system, all the paperwork and time set aside to get reimbursed is gone. This time can be given back to the patient thus improving the quality of treatments provided. Also, without having to meet exorbitant overhead or constantly being worried about chasing reimbursements and paying excess staff, Dr. Zacharko can keep the number of patients he sees to a manageable level. It is not uncommon for overworked therapists in insurance-based systems to see 15-20 patients daily to be profitable. By removing this fatiguing constraint, the energy can be transferred to the patient in the form of improved focus and attitude to get results quicker and more efficiently.
Read more about the trends in healthcare and how physicians and medical professionals alike are beginning to abandon the insurance/Medicare based model.
If I am a Medicare beneficiary can I privately pay for OPTC's services?
The short answer to this question is, No. As with most things associated with Medicare, the answer is complicated. As it sits now, if a Physical Therapist provides services to a Medicare beneficiary that would normally be covered by Medicare, the practice is required to bill Medicare directly and is not allowed to accept private self-payment for the services. The Social Security Act has a mandatory claims submission requirement, so a Physical Therapist cannot choose to not enroll in the Medicare program AND collect cash from a Medicare beneficiary.
Having said this, there are exceptions. If the service is “non-covered” (e.g.. maintenance therapy, prevention, wellness/fitness), then the Physical Therapist could collect out of pocket payment from the beneficiary; but only in those circumstances. If you are interested in OPTC's services and are a Medicare beneficiary, please call to discuss your particular situation. Every effort will be made to provide care to you within the guidelines of all state, federal and professional laws.
Should I have anything ready for my first appointment?
Although it is not mandatory to have anything ready prior to your first appointment, filling out the new patient forms will greatly speed things along and allow more time for the clinical evaluation. There are also things that if available, can help form a complete picture of your impairment and aid in the development of your plan of care. These things include: any records from your doctor, including any diagnostic imaging you may have had done in the past, a list of your medications, allergies and a list of prior doctors. Also recommend is having a list of any questions or concerns you may have as it is common to forget these things on the day of the appointment.
What should I wear?
It is important that you wear loose, comfortable, nonrestrictive clothing. Your clothes should also allow the ability to evaluate and treat your area of injury, so please dress accordingly.
How long does each visit take?
Each treatment is scheduled for 60 minutes. The initial evaluation may take a little longer based on the injury/pathology but each subsequent treatment will be up to 60 min. and be charged a flat rate no matter what treatment techniques are used.
Will you keep in contact with my doctor?
OPTC does not accept insurance and therefore it is not required to send your records to your doctor. Also, because it is not required for you to obtain a referral from your doctor prior to being treated by OPTC, no records must be transferred. Having said this, if you prefer, OPTC would be happy to send progress reports to your MD after 30 days of treatment if your physician is willing to sign for your continued treatment by OPTC (if needed).
Will I see the same physical therapist every time?
Yes! and you will not be passed to an assistant or aide at any point.