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Writing a Letter of Medical Necessity – Ryan G., PT

I recently completed a Letter of Medical Necessity (LMN) for a patient of mine.  She has progressive Parkinson’s disease and COPD where by she becomes easily short of breath and is dependent for her home mobility.  My experience writing a LMN was poor and I was faced with what seemed like a daunting task.  I knew that the letter I was supposed to write could make the arduous and often slow process of acquiring a power chair for a patient easy or extremely difficult.   

I was able to take heart in the fact that I was open with my lack of experience with my fellows PT’s and the power chair representative.  After the assessment with the power chair rep and after consulting several of my colleagues, I was able to attain several templates from which to base my LMN.  Sitting down to begin the letter, I composed on a piece of scratch paper the reasons my patient required the power chair and then followed them up with the defensible documentation to support the parts outlined by the rep.  After a couple proofreads by me and another therapist, I was ready to submit the LMN.   As I pushed the send button on the fax machine to send it to the power chair company I was able to take in a moment of satisfaction on a job well done and know that I was helping my patient get on the path to improved independence and functional mobility.

After turning in the LMN I can take home a couple of notes to remind myself and share with other therapists. One, do not procrastinate. Remember that your patients are depending upon you to get the LMN as soon as possible so they can have the improved quality of life they deserve.  Two, never be afraid to ask for help.  One of my fellow therapists was more than willing to lend some samples for me to get a grasp of what was required so that I could get it right the first time.  Lastly, everything is a learning opportunity. Whether it is your first LMN, or your 100th there is always something new to learn so you can improve your skills as a therapist.