Do You Know the Rule? Wash. Physical Therapy

27 Jun, 2024 Frank Ferreri


Seattle, WA ( -- In the Evergreen State, physical therapy treatment will be reimbursed only when ordered by the worker's attending doctor and rendered by a licensed physical therapist, a physical therapist assistant serving under the direction of a licensed physical therapist, or a licensed athletic trainer serving under the direction of a licensed physical therapist. In addition, physician assistants may order physical therapy under these rules for the attending doctor.

The department or self-insurer will review the quality and medical necessity of physical therapy services provided to workers.

How Much?

The department or self-insurer will pay for a maximum of one physical 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. These limits will not apply to physical therapy that is rendered as part of a physical capacities evaluation, work hardening program, or pain management program, provided a qualified representative of the department or self-insurer has authorized the service.

The department will publish specific billing instructions, utilization review guidelines, and reporting requirements for physical therapists who render care to workers.

Use of diapulse or similar machines on workers is not authorized.

Progress Reports

A physical therapy progress report must be submitted to the attending doctor and the department or the self-insurer following 12 treatment visits or one month, whichever occurs first. Physical therapy treatment beyond 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.


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

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


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).

Biofeedback Treatment

Biofeedback treatment may be rendered on doctor's orders only. The extent of biofeedback treatment is limited to those procedures allowed within the scope of practice of a licensed physical therapist.

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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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