Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Below is a list of frequently asked questions. Just click on the question for the answer. If you have a question that is not addressed below, please contact us.

Questions About Physical Therapy

What do physical therapists do?
Physical therapists are experts in movement and function. A large part of their work is directed at restoring pain free movement, preventing injuries and the restoration of lost mobility after surgery.
What kind of training do physical therapists have?
Physical therapists are specifically trained college graduates and must pass a state licensing exam. Educational coursework includes courses such as biology, chemistry, physics, human & neuroanatomy, biomechanics, human growth and development, manifestations of disease, examination techniques and therapeutic procedures.
How can physical therapy help me?

Our passion is to make you feel better as quickly as possible. In order to do this we must form a partnership with you.

Your part of the partnership involves:

  • Scheduling your appointments as suggested by the therapist
  • Keeping your appointments
  • Doing your home exercise program as suggested by the therapist

Our part of the partnership involves professional evaluation and development of an individual treatment plan. We will use various modalities to optimize our treatments in order to restore your functionality.

Who will see me?
All our therapists have been chosen to work at Empire Health and Wellness Center for their expertise and professional skills. Brendan, Gretchen, Jennifer, Lynn and Diane work as a team to provide coordination of care and the best treatments for our patients.
When scheduling appointments, please be open to being treated by someone other than the therapist who did your initial evaluation. It is important for the patient to be seen on a regular, consistent basis. It is not necessary for the patient to see the same therapist at each visit.
Is physical therapy painful and how will treatment relieve my pain?

At times during and after treatments, patients may feel various levels of discomfort. It is very important to notify your therapist about the discomfort that you have. Please communicate the intensity, frequency, and duration of pain to your therapist. Without this information, it is difficult for the therapist to adjust your treatment plan. Either discuss this with the therapist during your visit or call the office and leave a message for the therapist. If this requires a return phone call, the therapist will do so as soon as there is free time.

For many patients, one of the primary objectives is pain relief. This is frequently accomplished with hands-on techniques (massage/mobilization) and modalities such as ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and/or heat or cold therapy. Movement often provides pain relief as well. Your physical therapist will provide you with the appropriate exercises not only for pain relief but to recover range of motion, strength, and endurance.

Can I choose where I go to receive physical therapy?
Yes it is up to you where you go to be treated with physical therapy. We participate with most insurances and beyond that consideration you are free to choose who you see for your treatments. Your physician may recommend a practitioner they are familiar with but you ultimately decide which facility and therapist is right for you.
Will I get a massage at physical therapy?
Massage may be part of your treatment. Physical therapists are trained in a variety of techniques that may help with your recovery. Deep tissue techniques may be part of the rehabilitative process. Massage is used for three reasons typically – to facilitate venous return from a swollen area, to relax a tight muscle, or to relieve pain.
What happens if my problem or pain returns after I have been discharged?
Flare ups are not uncommon. If you have a flare up (exacerbation), give us a call. We may suggest you come back to see us, return to your doctor, or simply modify your daily activities or exercise routine.
What will I have to do after physical therapy?
Some patients will need to continue with home exercises. Some may choose to continue with a gym exercise program in our fitness center where we can oversee their progress and help them develop a customized exercise routine. Others will complete their rehabilitation and return to normal daily activities. It is important that you communicate your goals to us so we can develop a custom program for you.

Questions About Our Center

How long has Empire Health & Wellness Center been in business?
We have been in business since December 2000. We have been lucky enough to continue growing since the time we opened and have expanded twice in that time.
Does your facility participate in the Silver Sneakers program?
Unfortunately our facility does not qualify as we do not offer group classes. We continue to petition the Silver Sneakers organization to allow us to participate and offer gym memberships to seniors that have this benefit.
Do I have to join your gym to work with one of your personal trainers?
Our facility is focused on providing individualized exercise instruction to anyone in the Capital District. We do not require that personal training clients join the gym should they have a membership at another facility.
Does my insurance company pay for personal training?
Physical therapy and personal training are unique and separate services at our office. While both services utilize exercise to effect a positive change on the body each is distinctly different in many ways. Therefore, personal training is not a service that we bill to insurance companies and is considered a private pay service at our office. At your request we will be happy to provide you with a receipt for reimbursement of your fitness training should you have a health savings account.
Do I have to be a patient to join your gym?
At the time of enrollment, you will be designated as a therapy patient to join our gym. The gym is open to both current and past patients.

Questions About Insurance and Payment

Do I need a prescription or a referral?

New York State residents have direct access to see a physical therapist (no prescription required). This direct access allows for up to 10 visits within 30 days. Some insurance plans may not pay for direct access treatment. It is best to ask our Billing Specialist, Lorraine, to verify your benefits under direct access.

Most patients have a doctors’ prescription for physical therapy. This is a written order from a physician. It includes your name, diagnosis, doctors’ signature, and date. Many doctors will also write the frequency and duration of physical therapy treatment. You should bring your prescription to your initial visit.

A referral is a numbered form required by some insurance companies. It is issued by your doctor’s office. If you call us, we can let you know if your insurance company requires a referral. If your insurance requires you to have a referral, bring this form to your initial visit.

Who pays for treatment?
Most forms of physical therapy treatment are covered by your insurance, but the coverage will vary with each plan. We accept all types of insurance and will ensure that the proper forms are completed and submitted on your behalf. We will bill your insurance company directly for the cost of your treatment and you will be responsible for any co-pays or the remainder of the balance, if any. Our staff members are experts in dealing with insurance companies and their goal is to make the process go smoothly.
Do you accept Medicare?
Do you accept Worker’s Compensation patients?
Do you accept No Fault (Motor Vehicle Accident) patients?
What if I don’t have any insurance?
We work with patients who do not have insurance to provide quality care at reasonable rates. Additionally, if your insurance coverage expires before treatment is completed, we will work out a private payment program.

Miscellaneous Questions

What is your privacy policy?
Click here to view or download a PDF document
What is your non-discrimination policy?
Regarding employment and the delivery of care, our center is fully compliant with federal, state and local regulations pertaining to discrimination based race, color, national origin, age, disability, and where applicable, sex, marital status, familial status, parental status, religion, sexual orientation, genetic information, and/or political beliefs.