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107 6th Ave SW, Ronan, MT 59864

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St. Luke Hospital
(406) 676-4441

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Nurse On Call 24/7
(located in Montana)
(406) 676-3737

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Ronan (406) 676-3600
St. Ignatius (406) 745-2781
Southshore (406) 883-2555
Ridgewater (406) 883-3737

St. Luke Community Healthcare Logo

Located in Western Montana
107 6th Ave SW, Ronan, MT 59864

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No referral needed: Patients have direct access to physical therapy

HAVE YOU HAD LOW BACK PAIN, ACHY KNEE OR A SORE SHOULDER that you thought maybe needed treatment? Previously, you had to make an appointment with your primary care provider (PCP) and then get a referral to physical therapy for treatment. However, now you don’t have to wait! Montana state law allows direct access to physical therapy services. What does direct access mean? Direct access to physical therapy means that you don’t need a PCP referral unless mandated by your insurance. In the past, state law required a referral for physical therapy services for evaluation and treatment. This restriction caused delays in provision of services to people who would have benefited from timely treatment. Delays in care often resulted in higher costs, decreased functional outcomes and frustration to patients and providers. Are physical therapists qualified to deliver services independent of a referral? Absolutely! Physical therapists are trained with education that now culminates into a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree. According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) “Physical therapists are qualified to recognize when a patient presents with signs and symptoms inconsistent or outside the scope and expertise of the physical therapist and when the patient should be referred to a physician.” Physical therapists are experts in the field of movement science and anatomy. Their ability to screen for systemic issues and evaluate musculoskeletal problems provide an efficient method of streamlining treatment and providing early intervention to prevent acute injury from turning into chronic debility. Physical therapy is also an excellent way to reduce pain or improve function and decrease reliance on opioids that only mask the cause of pain. Do physical therapists diagnose? The APTA describes the role of a physical therapist to include diagnosis as a fundamental part of physical therapy practice. Diagnosis is essential for the physical therapist to be able to provide the proper interventions. Physical therapists work in collaboration with your other health care providers to ensure accurate tests, procedures and treatments are performed to promote the best outcome for your health. Physical Therapy at St. Luke Community Healthcare St. Luke has outpatient physical therapy clinics located in Ronan and Polson that offer a wide variety of services. Services include orthopedic, neurological, geriatric, pediatric, pelvic floor/women’s health, and wound care. If you are wondering about any of these services, we would be happy to schedule a complimentary consultation to assist you in determining if physical therapy is appropriate for you!

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© 2022 St. Luke Community Healthcare. All rights are reserved.