Prosthetic/Orthotic FAQ

The following are common questions we receive from patients about prosthetics and orthotics. Click the questions to read the answers.

What will my initial consultation involve and what should I bring?

You will review and complete your admission paperwork and address any insurance concerns you may have.

You will meet with a Certified Prosthetist/Orthotist to discuss the treatment plan, your medical history and set goals. An amputee peer visitor may also be present to answer questions regarding amputation.

Please remember to bring your prescription, insurance cards, list of medications, any contact names, phone numbers and a list of any questions you may have. If you have any special instructions or other documents including testing reports, please bring them with you as well.

What should I wear to my appointment?

For prosthetics and orthotics casting appointments, please bring a pair of shorts and any assistive devices if needed to stand and transfer.

How long will each treatment last?

Treatment sessions typically last 30 to 60 minutes per visit.

How many physical therapy treatments will I need?

This will be determined once your assessment is completed. Each person's needs will differ. Your therapist will discuss with you what type, duration and frequency of care will be appropriate for your individual program.

What is the time frame for delivery of my prosthetic or orthotic device?

Most devices are custom fabricated. Some devices and/or components may be shipped from a manufacturer. The time frame depends on each individual device and can be discussed with your prosthetist/orthotist at your initial consultation. The time frame also depends on the paperwork and/or prior authorization needed from physicians and insurance companies. You may discuss these factors with RI Limb’s billing specialist at your initial evaluation appointment.

What type of physical therapy treatments could I expect at RI Limb?

Treatments will of course vary based on your condition. Physical Therapy treatments may consist of a combination of the following:

  • Manual therapy: treatment in which the PT moves, stretches massages and manipulates a body area with their hands. These techniques include joint mobilization, myofascial release, stretching and soft tissue mobilization to name a few.
  • Therapeutic exercise: a program of many types of exercises developed for your individual needs. Exercises could consist of strengthening, stretching, postural, endurance or relaxation exercises.
  • Modalities: modalities are treatments that utilize machines, heat, cold, etc to manage pain swelling or other problems. They include ultrasound, electrical stimulation, iontophoresis, mechanical traction, hot and cold packs.

There are many other treatments that may be used but these are our most frequently used interventions.

Do I need a referral for physical therapy?

Although RI law allows you to directly access a physical therapist for treatment, your insurance plan may require a specific referral to be made by a doctor. If you do not have a referral or prescription, we can facilitate one through our free screening process if necessary.

Does insurance cover physical therapy?

Yes. Most insurance companies do cover PT services. Our office staff will contact your insurance company to determine the type of PT coverage you have as well as determine if your coverage has any visit limits or other restrictions to access physical therapy.

Does my insurance cover my prosthetic or orthotic device?

You should contact the Member Services Department of your insurance carrier to determine your benefits and any co-insurance. Some plans do require prior authorization before the device can be provided. Your insurance will be verified and you will be informed of your financial responsibility before accepting delivery of your device.

What happens if I am late or have to cancel my appointment?

Here at RI Limb, we pride ourselves on running on time for our patients. If you are late to an appointment, our clinicians will attempt to see you if at all possible. However, if your individual treatment plan does not allow for modified physical therapy session or a clinician is unavailable, you might be asked to reschedule.

Everyone encounters unforeseen issues that may require that you cancel an appointment. If this happens, a make-up appointment should be scheduled within that same week. Please allow at least 24 hours notice for all cancelations.

What is a deductible, co-pay, co-insurance and out-of-pocket maximum?

A deductible is the set amount that a patient must pay prior to their health insurance benefits become activated. This deductible could be calendar year or policy year depending upon the individual policy. If you are not sure of your benefits we will contact the company for your current status.

A co-pay is the set amount that is paid to the provider each visit by the patient. It is a flat fee and does not change session to session.

Co-insurance is the amount a patient pays when their benefit is based on a percentage of coverage. For example, 80/20 benefit would be insurance pays 80% of the covered charge while the patient is responsible for 20% of the covered charge. This could vary from visit to visit depending on what treatments were done in a session.

Out-of-pocket maximum is the amount that a patient has to pay out of their own pocket including deductible, co pays, and coinsurances before the insurance company pays claims at 100%. For example, if a patient has a $3000.00 out-of-pocket maximum, once they have paid that in their specific policy year, the insurance company will then pay any claim after that at 100%. No co-pay or coinsurance applies. This would begin again at the beginning of each specific policy year.

Please feel free to direct any billing questions you may have to the RI Limb’s billing specialist.

Is it Ok to see my chiropractor on the same day that I have physical therapy?

No. Many insurance companies will not pay for treatment from a chiropractor and a physical therapist on the same day. Also, having both types of treatment on the same day may make difficult for you, the chiropractor and/or the PT to determine what treatments are helping or effective.

What will my prosthesis look like?

All prostheses are custom fabricated at RI Limb. By discussing your goals and needs with our prosthetists, a prosthetic design with specific components will be configured to best suit your needs. You may choose to have a cover on your prosthesis to allow it to be shaped more like a natural leg. You may also decide not to have a cover and allow the mechanical parts of your prosthesis to show. The socket design may be flesh toned or you may incorporate a unique design and fabric of your choice into the prosthesis.

What type of support does RI Limb offer amputees?

We offer both pre-amputation and post-amputation consultations. Upon request, we can provide you with a resource listing for adaptive equipment and home/automotive modifications. We also have a Physical Therapy department at RI Limb, providing patients with gait training, strengthening and a full range of modalities. Currently, we are developing a support group for Rhode Island Limb amputees.

How do I prepare for my new prosthesis?

You may discuss your treatment plan with your prosthetist at your initial consultation. In some cases, physical therapy may be indicated before the fitting process (prehab).

How do I learn to use my prosthesis?

RI Limb advises all new amputees to work with our physical therapists to develop a rehabilitation plan including strengthening exercises and gait training. Our prosthetists will instruct you on how to use specific components on your prosthesis during your fitting appointments.

Can my prosthesis break?

As with anything else, components on your prosthesis may break or become damaged and worn. Many components carry a limited warranty. It is important to contact RI Limb if any components come loose or break on your prosthesis. Also, regular preventative maintenance appointments are important to ensure that components are performing properly and are in good working order.

If my device needs an adjustment, what do I do?

Call RI Limb at (401) 941-6230 for all adjustment needs. Please note that performing home modifications to your prosthetic or orthotic device automatically voids any and all warranties and will be documented in your patient records. RI Limb is not responsible for any damage caused to a prosthesis and/or patient due to modifications made to the device by a person other than an RI Limb employee.

Can I swim with my prosthesis?

Not all prostheses are waterproof. In fact, some components may become destroyed in water. A waterproof prosthesis can be fabricated for swimming or bathing. Discuss these needs and goals with our certified prosthetists at your appointment.