What Is Billable Time for Physical Therapists?

Physical therapy is a healthcare service that helps patients restore and improve their mobility, function, and quality of life. Therapists that provide this treatment must document the time they spend with patients for physical therapy billing purposes. After documenting the time they spend treating the patient, they can bill the patient or their insurance based on the care they received.

What Is Billable Time?

Billable time is the units of service that can be billed to patients or their insurance providers. Time spent providing patient care or performing activities related to patient treatment can be billed. Knowing what counts as billable time for physical therapy practice owners can maximize profits and help you avoid fraud.

Examples of Billable Time

There are different types of billable time. Understanding each of these and how to bill them correctly is important as it can save you time and money. Some of these examples include:

Direct Patient Care

Time spent on direct patient care is billable. This includes time spent on interventions and treatments, including therapeutic exercises, gait training, manual therapy, modalities, and providing patient education. Physical therapists should document each session’s start and end times without rounding up or estimating. Unskilled prep and clean-up time, time that the patient spends resting or supervising a patient that is performing an independent exercise, is not billable.

Indirect Patient Care

Indirect patient care usually has more rules than direct patient care. Knowing these rules can help you identify when you can bill for your time. You can also combine an unbillable task with a billable task to bill for your time. For instance, you cannot bill for documentation on its own. You can bill for documentation if you complete it while discussing treatments with the patient. If you need clarification on an indirect patient care task, research whether you can bill for it.


A patient’s initial evaluation is billable. This evaluation can include speaking with the patient, performing physical examinations, reviewing their medical history, and formulating a diagnosis or treatment plan. Re-evaluations can also be billed, but only if a change in the patient’s progress requires a new or different method of care. These two circumstances are the only times that time spent during evaluations is billable.

Supervised Modalities

Supervised modalities refer to the time physical therapists spend supervising patients using specific modalities or equipment. For example, applying and supervising a patient while they are using hot or cold packs. Even though the therapist may not be directly involved in providing treatment, it can still be considered billable if their expertise is required to administer the care.

If you want to learn more about our 5-step process to improve your billing process, sign up for our free webinar here.

Use pittmanbilling1.bwpsites.com for Your Physical Therapy Billing Needs

If you are a physical therapy practice owner looking for a trustworthy and productive company to handle your physical therapy billing, contact pittmanbilling1.bwpsites.com. We make sure that you get paid for your services and keep you updated with recurring weekly and monthly calls. PT clinic owners built our platform, so we know the hard work it takes to run a practice. Schedule your analysis today to see how we can help you improve your bottom line.