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New physical therapy walk-in clinic allows for same day treatment

The physical therapy clinic is located on the third floor of the medical clinic at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., Sept. 29, 2014. The newly opened walk-in clinic is open Monday – Friday, 8 to 11 a.m. and is currently only open to active duty members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Zeski)

The physical therapy clinic is located on the third floor of the medical clinic at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., Sept. 29, 2014. The newly opened walk-in clinic is open Monday – Friday, 8 to 11 a.m. and is currently only open to active duty members. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Zeski)

Lt. Col. Troy McGill, 92nd Medical Operations Squadron physical therapy flight commander, inspects the wrist of Rheet Norris, 92nd MDOS physical therapist, at the medical clinic at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., Sept. 29, 2014. The 92nd Medical Group recently opened a physical therapy walk-in clinic, potentially allowing someone who obtains an injury to walk in for treatment the same day it occurs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Zeski)

Lt. Col. Troy McGill, 92nd Medical Operations Squadron physical therapy flight commander, inspects the wrist of Rheet Norris, 92nd MDOS physical therapist, at the medical clinic at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., Sept. 29, 2014. The 92nd Medical Group recently opened a physical therapy walk-in clinic, potentially allowing someone who obtains an injury to walk in for treatment the same day it occurs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Zeski)

Lt. Col. Troy McGill, 92nd Medical Operations Squadron physical therapy flight commander, puts Rheet Norris, 92nd MDOS physical therapist, on the padded table at the medical clinic at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., Sept. 29, 2014. The 92nd Medical Group recently opened a physical therapy walk-in clinic, potentially allowing someone who obtains an injury to walk in for treatment the same day it occurs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Zeski)

Lt. Col. Troy McGill, 92nd Medical Operations Squadron physical therapy flight commander, puts Rheet Norris, 92nd MDOS physical therapist, on the padded table at the medical clinic at Fairchild Air Force Base, Wash., Sept. 29, 2014. The 92nd Medical Group recently opened a physical therapy walk-in clinic, potentially allowing someone who obtains an injury to walk in for treatment the same day it occurs. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Ryan Zeski)

FAIRCHILD AIR FORCE BASE, Wash. -- Have you ever hurt your knee and had to wait weeks to see a physical therapist? Well the wait ends here.

The 92nd Medical Group recently opened a physical therapy walk-in clinic, potentially allowing someone who obtains an injury to walk in for treatment the same day it occurs.

While the clinic is currently only open to active duty members, if the patient load allows, there is a possibility it could open for beneficiaries in the future, said Lt. Col. Troy McGill, 92nd Medical Operations Squadron physical therapy flight commander.

Currently, for someone to receive care from a physical therapist they would have to schedule an appointment with their primary care manager. From there, their doctor would diagnosis the issue and perhaps write them a prescription and a referral to see the physical therapist. Once the referral is received, the patient will need to set up an appointment to see the physical therapist; the whole process can take weeks.

"Physical therapists evaluate and treat patients without referral when deployed," said McGill. "It is my belief that we should practice as we do when deployed.  I think this practice model allows patient's access to the right provider at the right time."

According to McGill, some benefits of having this clinic are an increased return rate to duty and a decrease in injury recurrence. Since no appointment or referral from a doctor is required to see a physical therapist, the time from injury to actually seeing a doctor could be greatly reduced.

"We're cutting out the middle man," McGill said.

The physical therapists at Fairchild are able to order certain medications and imaging studies, as well as place patients on quarters or duty limiting profiles, if needed.

Fairchild is the first small clinic in the Air Force to offer this service.

Physical therapy is located on the third floor of the medical clinic. The newly opened walk-in clinic is open Monday - Friday, 8 to 11 a.m.

For more information on the physical therapy walk-in clinic, call 247-5882 or visit the medical clinic any weekday between 8 and 11 a.m., to receive same day treatment.