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Course: Physical Therapists as First-Contact Providers

Essential Tools for Physical Therapists Functioning As First-Contact Providers.

March 2-3, 2019 | The Johns Hopkins Hospital

This course highlights the various responsibilities physical therapists have when providing care as the patients’ first point of contact into the healthcare system. Emphasis is placed on:

  • Screening for conditions that may fall outside our scope of practice
  • Determining when and if diagnostic imaging studies are necessary
  • How to appropriately categorize patients into relevant referral types.

The course features several case studies throughout the training along with ample time for discussion. We will conclude with a post-test to assess therapist competency.

Cost to attend: $200 (contact Terry McGee for a discount code if you are a Johns Hopkins PM&R employee.)



Aaron Keil, physical therapist

Aaron Keil, PT, DPT, OCS | University of Illinois at Chicago 

Clinical Associate Professor of Physical Therapy; Program Director—Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency; Director of the PT Faculty Practice

Aaron Keil has spoken numerous times at national conferences on the topics of direct access and diagnostic imaging and has provided guidance and training on these initiatives to several institutions across the country. Dr. Keil led an initiative at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington D.C., in which physical therapists were granted both direct access and diagnostic imaging privileges. He has also functioned as a first-contact provider at the Johns Hopkins Hospital where he oversaw the outpatient rehabilitation department prior to relocating to Chicago.

Course Agenda

March 2: Medical Screening  


  • Describe the responsibilities physical therapists have in functioning as first-contact providers.
  • Implement medical screening procedures to appropriately identify conditions that may fall outside the physical therapists’ scope of practice.
TimeTopic / Activity
8:30 AM - 9:00 AMIntroduction / Course Overview
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
  • Inherent bias in decision making
  • To screen or not to screen?
  • When red flags aren’t so red
  • What matters most?
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Specific diagnoses covered:

  • CA (Spine Mets)
  • Infection (Spine)
  • Spine Fxs
  • Cauda Equina
12:00 PM - 1:00 PMLunch
1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Specific Dzs covered:

  • Myelopathy
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis
  • DVT/PE
  • Visceral Referral
  • HTN
3:00 PM - 4:00 PMLab
4:00 PM - 4:30 PMQ&A

March 3: Diagnostic Imaging


  • Implement evidence-based guidelines related to ordering of appropriate diagnostic imaging studies.
  • Demonstrate appropriate use of the American College of Radiology Appropriateness Criteria.
  • Differentiate between conditions that require either an emergent, urgent or general referral.
8:30 AM - 9:00 AMReview from Day 1
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
  • The problems with imaging
  • The value of imaging
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Plain film x-rays
  • MRI
  • CT Scans
  • Bone Scans
12:00 PM - 1:00 PMLunch
1:00 PM - 2:00 PMCase Studies / Group Participation
2:00 PM - 4:00 PMWhen to order and what to order
4:00 PM - 4:30 PMQ&A

Location and Contact

Johns Hopkins East Baltimore Campus
Chevy Chase Auditorium (Zayed 2117)
Baltimore, Maryland 21287

With any questions about this event, please reach out to Terry McGee, PT, DScPT.

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