Physician Referrals

Occupational therapy is not a stand-alone service in most states, and treatment provision that will be submitted to third-party payers can be initiated only with a referral from a physician. A physician's referral is always required with patients who have Medicare coverage (The American Occupational Therapy Association 2008a). Physicians may choose to provide a referral with detailed instructions or provide a less detailed referral to allow for a more dynamic and adjustable treatment planning (Groth 2008) (Fig. 15.1). Referrals for clients must be updated every 30 days or when there is a significant change in a client's status.

The relationship between a physician and an occupational therapist is a critical aspect of promoting client recovery, and open communication is an important component of that relationship. Physicians and occupational therapists should seek to build professional, collaborative relationships conducive to a client's recovery (Groth 2008).

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