Frequently Asked Questions


Treatment

Why do I need a custom splint/orthosis instead of one from the drug store?

The pre-fabricated splints/orthoses that are currently available do not always meet the requirements for all type of injuries and may not provide the proper fit. A custom splint/orthosis designed by the therapist is made to fit the patient based on a particular diagnosis and needs for proper protection and healing.

How long will each treatment last?

Appointments average 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Will I see the same therapist every time?

We do our best to keep your therapist consistent but sometimes due to the therapist’s schedule or your needs, we may need to place you with another therapist. We do our best to inform you who your therapist will be.

How many times do I need to come in for therapy?

Our average patient attends 2 times a week. The length of therapy will depend on the severity of your injury and the pace of your recovery. The therapist will re-evaluate you periodically to determine your progress and assess how goals are being met.

Will it hurt?

People are often surprised to find there is little discomfort with therapy. Depending on the type of injury, treatment often times helps alleviate pain. Certain treatments can occasionally cause temporary discomfort.

What is a One-Day Upper Extremity FCE (Functional Capacities Evaluation)?

The One-Day Upper Extremity FCE is a comprehensive evaluation of an individual’s ability to use the hand and upper extremity in all areas of function, including but not limited to active and passive motion, strength and endurance, sensation, coordination and the ability to perform personal care, daily activities or specific occupations.

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Billing and Insurance

Do you take insurance?

We accept many private insurance plans (such as Regence, Premera, Aetna, and others) and will gladly bill your primary insurance for your charges. We treat injured workers covered by the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) and self-insured workers compensation plans. We accept Medicare, some Med-Advantage plans, and most (but not all) DSHS medical insurance plans. Please note: All insurance companies have different reimbursement plans; therefore we recommend you confirm your coverage prior to your first appointment. You will find an Insurance Verification Form to help ask the right questions under Forms. Any co-pays are due at the time of treatment.

Do you accept credit cards?

We can accept your Visa or Mastercard in person or over the phone.

What is your cancellation policy?

We ask the courtesy of 24 hour notice for canceled appointments. If we do not receive a 24 hour notice or you fail your scheduled appointment, we reserve the right to assess a $50 fee to your bill. If you have a worker compensation claim, you will be billed personally and your claims manager will be notified of frequent missed appointments which could affect your benefits.

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Our Offices

Do I need to make an appointment?

We ask that you call for an appointment so that we have the time to evaluate and tailor your treatment to your specific needs. We are usually able to schedule an appointment within 1-2 days, depending on the flexibility of your schedule. Occasionally, the doctor may send you over immediately for a splint/orthosis or other supplies and we do our best to work you in with a minimal wait time.

Do I need a referral or prescription?

It is our clinic policy to have a referral or prescription. We can accept them from any prescribing physician, surgeon, nurse practitioner, naturopathic physician, physician’s assistant or chiropractor. This is also required by many insurance plans for payment.

Does the referral need to have your clinic name on it?

No, you may choose where you go for therapy services.

What hours are available for appointments?

Highline Hand Therapy is open Monday through Friday, with appointments as early as 8:30 am to 5:15 pm. If you are an established patient and have a problem over the weekend with a splint/orthosis that was fabricated, we ask that you leave a message with your phone number on our voice mail before 10 am and a therapist will call you back.

Southwest Hand Therapy is open Monday through Friday, with appointments from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm. If no one answers your call, please leave a message on our voice mail. We have limited office staff at this location. Your call will be returned as soon as we are available.

Are your buildings accessible?

Our Burien office is on the second floor but has an elevator available to the left as you walk into the lobby. On the second floor, you will also find an accessible bathroom. We will make any accommodations to make you comfortable while in our clinic.

Our West Seattle office is on street level. Parking is in the back of the clinic. We request that you come to the entrance on SW 35th Avenue. The front is accessible by steps or a ramp. Someone can assist with the ramp and handling the door if needed. The back is accessible by 2 steps with a partial hand rail. If you are unable to walk to the front and can manage the steps, we will open the back door for you. Our bathroom is accessible.

Parking is free at both clinics.

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Therapist Credentials

What is a Certified Hand Therapist (CHT)?

A Certified Hand Therapist is an Occupational or Physical Therapist who, through advanced study and certification, specializes in rehabilitating the patient with conditions affecting the entire upper extremity (hand, arm, and shoulder). CHT distinguishes a therapist as someone with the highest professional credential in the specialty of upper extremity treatment and rehabilitation. A CHT has at least 5 years of clinical experience and has successfully passed comprehensive testing of advanced knowledge in all areas of rehabilitation of the hand, wrist, elbow and shoulder. CHT’s must recertify every 5 years by participation in continuing education courses and presentations.

What is the difference between an Occupational Therapist (OT) and a Physical Therapist (PT)?

In a rehabilitation facility, you will find that OT focuses more on function of the upper extremity including fine motor and perceptual motor skills, activities of daily living and psychosocial aspects of disability. Occupational therapy enables people to do “day-to-day activities that are important to them” despite impairments, activity limitations or participation restrictions or despite risks for these problems.

PT focuses on evaluation and treatment to restore, maintain and promote overall health and fitness. PT’s utilize exercise to address strength, motion, co-ordination, endurance. They use joint and soft tissue mobilization and use of thermal or electrical modalities to increase range of motion and relieve pain. Physical therapists are trained to assess and address the whole person and the interaction of dysfunctions influencing overall function.

In our clinic, we employ both occupational and physical therapists and do not make a distinction between them. Although we each have different skills that we have obtained from our entry level education, the care you receive will address your current needs, regardless of the provider. We are all competent with assessment skills, utilization of exercise and modalities, and fabrication of splints/orthoses. We have each specialized in the area of hand and upper extremity therapy because we are interested in caring for these conditions.

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