Do You Know the Rule? Wash. Occupational Therapy

29 Jun, 2024 Frank Ferreri


Seattle, WA ( -- When it comes to occupational therapy that is part of a worker's return-to-work efforts must conform to certain rules in the State of Washington.

Here's a look at those rules.


OT treatment will be reimbursed only when ordered by the worker's attending doctor and rendered by a licensed occupational therapist or an occupational therapist assistant serving under the direction of a licensed occupational therapist. In addition, physician assistants may order occupational therapy under these rules for the attending doctor. Vocational counselors assigned to injured workers by the department or self-insurer may request an occupational therapy evaluation. However, occupational therapy treatment must be ordered by the worker's attending doctor or by the physician assistant.

The department will pay for a maximum of one occupational therapy visit per day. When multiple treatments (different billing codes) are performed on one day, the department or self-insurer will pay either the sum of the individual fee maximums, the provider's usual and customary charge, or $147.97 whichever is less. 

Progress Reports

A progress report must be submitted to the attending doctor and the department or self-insurer following 12 treatment visits or one month, whichever occurs first. Occupational therapy treatment beyond the initial 12 treatments will be authorized only upon substantiation of improvement in the worker's condition. An outline of the proposed treatment program, the expected restoration goals, and the expected length of treatment will be required.

The department or self-insurer will review the quality and medical necessity of occupational therapy services.

Treatment Location

OT services rendered in the worker's home or places other than the practitioner's usual and customary office, clinic, or business facility will be allowed only upon prior authorization by the department or self-insurer.

No inpatient occupational therapy treatment will be allowed when such treatment constitutes the only or major treatment received by the worker. 

Discounted Fees

The department may discount maximum fees for treatment performed on a group basis in cases where the treatment provided consists of a nonindividualized course of therapy (e.g., pool therapy; group aerobics; and back classes).

Where to Find Details

Billing codes, reimbursement levels, and supporting policies for occupational therapy services are listed in the fee schedules.

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    About The Author

    • Frank Ferreri

      Frank Ferreri, M.A., J.D. covers workers' compensation legal issues. He has published books, articles, and other material on multiple areas of employment, insurance, and disability law. Frank received his master's degree from the University of South Florida and juris doctor from the University of Florida Levin College of Law. Frank encourages everyone to consider helping out the Kind Souls Foundation and Kids' Chance of America.

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