Practice Advice & Frequently Asked Questions

Find the answer to your question below or contact the Practice Advisors for free and anonymous advice.

Practice Advisors College of Physiotherapists of Ontario - Fiona Campbell, Shari Hughes, Kelly Schmitt and Kirsten Pavelich

Anyone can contact the College for confidential practice advice. The College has a team of physiotherapists ready to answer your call or email and you can ask about anything related to physiotherapy.

Not sure what rule applies? Ask the Practice Advisor. Looking for something on the website and can't find it? Dealing with a tough ethical dilemma and need to talk it through? Call 647-484-8800 1-800-583-5885 or email advice@collegept.org.

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Practice Advice Question

Question:

Is there a specific timeframe (3 months for example) that a physiotherapist must follow when charging a new assessment fee for a problem that a patient has already been seen for?

Answer:

There are two different issues here:

1. How often do you need to do a formal reassessment? and

2. Can you charge different rates for assessment and treatment?

Many physiotherapists charge different (higher) rates for an initial assessment than for ongoing treatment. The idea is that the assessment is more involved and often takes longer. Physiotherapists need to have written policies for fees and billing that outline how much they charge for particular services, what the fee covers, the criteria and other relevant details. They must explain these policies to the patient before beginning treatment.

The College expects physiotherapists to always gather needed information before treating a patient. This means that the assessment is actually an ongoing process.  A patient may never need another formal assessment if the physiotherapist is continually re-assessing and re-evaluating.

If a patient has not attended treatment for a period of time and wanted to return, let’s say after three months, the PT needs to determine whether or how the patient's status has changed and determine the impact on the treatment.

The PT could ask the patient to come in for another formal assessment if they suspect there has been significant change or there is a new problem. It is equally possible to incorporate re-assessment techniques into a treatment session.

How physiotherapists bill for that and what they charge is up to the individual or the practice and should be outlined in your in the fee policies.