If you are trying to obtain therapy services and just aren't
sure where to start -- my friend Michelle Morris has some excellent
1. Call your local hospital and ask if they have the type of
therapy program you need available on an outpatient basis.
2. Remember, if your child is on SSI Medicaid providers are not
allowed, to hit you up for cash payments if they accept Medicaid.
3. Have the 'waiting list' blues? Our clinic has a waiting list
too, but if a parent is a squeaky wheel, they are bumped to the front of that list. If a parent persisted, a spot was
So, as you are calling some of these places, first ask if they
accept Medicaid, or your type of insurance, then ask if they are able to get your child in right away.
is having some serious issues, and you are VERY concerned."
4. Insurance. I have a list of codes most commonly paid by
insurance carriers for therapy. If you need some advice in this area, read my article “Most Commonly Paid Insurance
5. There are also organizations, like the Shriner's and the Elks
who provide, free of charge usually, HOME services. Usually, it is once a week, for each therapist, done in your
home. This is an option, if you find you have to wait.
6. Age. Find out about your state's Early Intervention programs
They evaluate, and provide services, free of charge. I know that some parents prefer private OT's, PT's,
and SLP's. My feeling is; something is better than nothing while we wait on the ideal.
7. Your Medicaid may require a referral from a doctor for
authorization. If you don't know the doctors in your area, try an easy way to narrow down that search for a pediatrician
who will give you a referral. Simply call one after another, in the local phone book, and ask:
=> "Does this doctor refer children to OT, ST and PT in this
=> "Does he refer for Sensory Processing Disorder?" (or insert
the diagnosis of your child)"
Usually the nurses and receptionists know the answer, because
they do the paperwork, and send the referrals. Also when asked, our OT clinic would not refer a specific doctor, but
they would give a list of doctors names to parents, upon request, of those who refer most frequently.
Depends on which you find first, the chicken or the egg? If you
find the therapy clinic first, ask them. If you find a doctor first, ask them for clinics who are accepting new
patients right now. They know.
Michelle Morris and Lisa Simmons (reprinted with permission)