Patient resources

New Patients: Download and fill out your intake forms prior to your first visit

Patient Resources

Getting Started

We are here to help you! In Washington State getting access to physical therapy services and working with your medical insurance can pose real challenges. Although our state law says you do not need a written order/prescription/referral to have physical therapy, your medical insurance may require it. We are here to help and will try to make it as simple as possible.

Insurance and Billing

To Utilize your Insurance for Physical Therapy Services:

We suggest you contact your medical insurance company. The customer service phone number can be found on the back of your insurance card.

What to ask?

One of the most difficult questions is – do I need a prescription, referral, written order, or prior authorization for physical therapy to be deemed medically necessary and therefore be covered by my insurance? It has become a game of symantics. Each of these terms will mean something different to whomever you talk to. Generally, ask your customer service if you need any of the above from your PCP (primary care physician), surgeon, etc. That should cover all the bases regarding this particular issue.

Self Referral and Self Payment:

If you choose not to use your medical insurance you can self refer and see a physical therapist and pay at the time of visit. Please call our office to make arrangements.

Bellingham Physical Therapy front office

Our front office staff keeps the clinic running smoothy!

Click to download an Insurance Verification for Physical Therapy Benefits form that we have found to be useful when contacting insurance companies to request benefits.


We accept most medical insurances. Some of the major insurance companies Bellingham Physical Therapy accepts are: 

It is always important to check with your insurance company to verify your physical therapy benefits. We will gladly bill your insurance company for any charges you incur. For questions about your specific insurance coverage, please contact us or your insurance company directly.


Co-payments are due at time of service if applicable. If you have valid insurance, we will bill any remaining balance to you after your insurance company has processed your claims. For additional information about your bill, please call our office at (360) 647-0444 between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.  

Your First Visit


For your first visit at Bellingham Physical Therapy, we have compiled a list of a few things you will want to bring with you.

  • You will need to come in 20 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment so the front office staff can organize your paperwork and copy your insurance cards. If you prefer, you may download these forms from the “Patient Forms” section and bring them with you.
  • If your insurance company requires a prescription, referral, written order, and/or prior authorization, please bring this with you.
  • Your insurance card or L&I claim number
  • Any co-pay if applicable

Your first appointment may run 45-60 minutes. Follow up appointments are generally scheduled for 45 minutes. The number of follow up visits will depend on the nature of your condition, severity and complexity. We do require a 24 hour notice if you are unable to make your appointment. This will allow other patients to be seen.

Thank you for allowing us to assist you in reaching your ultimate goals that maximize your abilities to function and thus improve your quality of life.

bellingham physical therapy

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the frequently asked questions we receive from patients who are interested in learning more about physical therapy and our approach to healing. If you have any additional questions, we’d be happy to answer them for you, just give us a call.

Appointments are made with our front office staff. Please call (360) 647-0444 to schedule an appointment.  

If you haven’t completed the new patient forms ahead of time, please arrive at least 15 minutes before your first appointment. If you’ve completed the necessary forms and bring them with you, you may arrive 10 minutes before your scheduled appointment.

Please bring the following:

  • Completed new patient intake forms 1 & 2
  • Insurance card
  • Doctor’s referral (if needed)
  • Appropriate clothing (see below)
  • Any operative reports
  • Diagnostic tests (x-rays, MRI, etc.)
  • Protocols your physician has given you
  • A list of any questions you might have
We suggest you bring along appropriate clothing:
  • Shorts are recommended for lower back, knee, ankle, or foot conditions.
  • If we are assessing your gait or doing a running assessment bring in a pair of shorts along with your running shoes.
  • Women should wear a sports bra or tank top for back, neck, or shoulder conditions.
If you forget to bring recommended clothing, or if acquiring the clothing is an issue, we are happy to provide t-shirts, shorts, sports bras and medical gowns to accommodate.  

To accommodate all our patients, reserving time slots for treatments is very important to operate our facilities efficiently. Cancelling at the last minute or failing to show for a session limits our ability to meet the scheduling needs of our other patients. Therefore, it’s important for all of our patients to understand that Bellingham Physical Therapy might charge a $50 fee to clients who fail to show up for an appointment without calling 24 hours in advance to cancel.

Your first visit with one of our physical therapists will be from 45-60 minutes. Follow up visits will be 45 minutes. 

We accept most non-HMO insurance carriers, but you are still responsible for obtaining your policy details, such as:

  • What coverage your policy has
  • Your co-payment amount
  • What remainder (if any) you are expected to pay

Learn more about insurance and billing.

A treatment program typically consists of 1 to 3 sessions per week.  

You may receive modalities as needed (ultrasound, electrical stimulation, infrared and forms of these), joint mobilization, SCENAR therapy technique with therapeutic exercise in many forms and progressions, structured home exercise plans and/or client education. These also encompass intervention. All of our treatment sessions are individually tailored to each client, so it’s difficult to create a “standard” treatment list.

We make every effort to have you see the same physical therapist each time. On the rare occasion that this isn’t possible, another one of our trained physical therapists will cover your appointment as needed, until your primary therapist’s schedule opens up. Less than 5% of our clients see more than one physical therapist for their treatments.

After an initial evaluation, your physical therapist will write a note to send to your doctor regarding the findings, rehab potential, and plan of care. Before each doctor follow-up visit, we will send a progress note with updates and recommendations, regarding your plan of care. These progress notes are sent every 4 weeks as needed. We will also make phone calls, write emails or send faxes as necessary to communicate any necessary information to supports your treatment.

Anyone is eligible for physical therapy — it’s just a matter of working out the financial compensation options. We accept private insurance, private payments, Medicare and student insurance. If physical therapy is not an appropriate or necessary solution for you, we will determine this early on and refer you to the appropriate healthcare provider.

The state of Washington is a direct access state, which means everyone has access to physical therapy without a written order.  If you want to have your insurance cover physical therapy you will need to contact your insurance company to see if they require a written order, prescrition or referral.

Still have a question?

If you still have a question that is not listed above, please contact us at (360) 647-0444 


Bellingham Physical Therapy is an active member of the larger health care community, and we recognize the value of a team approach for achieving maximal functional gains. We work closely with complementary therapies, aiming to improve dialogue between practitioners; and by so doing, achieve a whole body system approach.