Patient Care Services  > Geriatric Services  > Driver Rehabilitation Program  > Frequently Asked Questions 

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. Is it covered by my insurance?
A. Currently Medicare, Medicaid or private insurances do not cover Behind the Wheel Driving Evaluations. It is an out-of-pocket expense. If your insurance covers an Occupational Therapy evaluation, the clinical portion of this evaluation is covered. If it is determined you are appropriate for the On Road Assessment, that is not covered by insurance and you will have to pay out of pocket for that portion...

Q. How much does it cost?
A. $120/hour for Behind the Wheel evaluation. The average evaluation time for Behind the Wheel assessment is approximately 90 minutes. If you need training after the evaluation the cost will continue to be $120/hr. The In the Clinic and Behind the Wheel assessment takes approximately 3 hours.

Q. Why does the evaluation take 3 hours?
A. It is a comprehensive assessment of the client's foundational skills for driving including an assessment of their physical skills, visual skills and cognitive skills. If the client demonstrates an adequate level of abilities on the clinical portion then they will also be taken out for an on road assessment.

Q. What if it doesn't take me 3 hours?
A. You are billed for the time that it takes to complete the evaluation. Average evaluation time is 3 hours.

Q. If I need training, how long does that take?
A. The amount of training you need will be determined on the day of your evaluation. The Driver Rehabilitation Therapist will discuss the amount of training you will need to meet your goal of driving independently.

Q. Will I use my car?
A. No we must use the hospital's evaluation vehicle that is equipped with extra safety features such as an instructor brake.

Q. Do I have to pay day of service?
A. Yes

Q. Why is it not covered by my insurance?
A. Medicare and other insurance providers clearly document that they do not cover Driving Evaluations. It is very clearly documented by Medicare that any actual driving is not a covered expense.

Q. I don't have Medicare, I have private insurance.
A. Medicare sets the standards by which most private insurances follow. You may check with your carrier to see if they will pay for the On Road Assessment. You will be expected to pay up front for the service and then file for reimbursement on your own.

Q. Do I have to take this evaluation?
A. NO, unless it has been mandated by the Department of Driver Improvement (DMV) to provide added information to a case they have established. In the case that a physician has recommended you not to drive until you are evaluated and you continue to drive, you may be at risk legally (law suit) if you are in an accident (regardless of fault).

Q. I cannot afford this evaluation, what should I do?
A. We recommend that you call your physician and discuss the financial burden this will place you on you and determine if there are other options.

Q. What other options are there?
A. Ask your physician for a referral to outpatient Occupational Therapy to assess for Instrumental Activities of Daily Living and Speech Therapy to assess Cognition, which could provide your physician with enough information to make a decision about your ability to return to driving safely. Also, you could have your physician contact the Driver rehabilitation Program for resources he/she could use in his or her clinic.

Q. How would I know if DMV has established a case?
A. You would have received a letter from the Department of Driver Improvement informing you of the steps you must take to prevent revocation of your license. Usually there is a deadline date by which it must be submitted.

Q. You do not have an appointment before my deadline date, what should I do?
A. We will call the DMV and get an extension on your deadline. We will need to know your case number and your driver's license number

Q. If I fail do you notify the DMV?
A. If it is determined that you need to terminate driving then the DMV is notified. We will also recommend that your physician follow up with that recommendation to the DMV. If you do not pass because of weaknesses that potentially could be rehabilitated, we will refer you to the appropriate source such as Occupational or Physical therapy. After that, you can return for a re-evaluation.

Q. Can I come back if I fail?
A. That will be determined by your driver ehabilitation therapist. It will depend on whether he/she is recommending rehabilitation versus termination of driving.

Q. Will that be free or do I have to pay again?
A. There will be another charge.

Q. What if I want to wait?
A. You can call us back when you are ready to schedule. Your referral is good for 30 days.

Q. Why does my family member or caregiver have to come with me?
A. We consider the impact of Driving Independently on our clients and their caregivers/ family and expect to provide a comprehensive recommendation that could ultimately impact the entire family. Our goal is to provide the safest recommendation for you and the community at large and there are times that may impact your family/ caregivers.

Q. What if I don't live or drive in Columbia?
A. You must come to Palmetto Health for your clinical evaluation. During that portion of the evaluation you and your therapist may decide to complete the On Road Assessment in your community.

Q. Does that cost more?
A. Yes, you will be billed for the travel time as well as the Assessment at the same $120 rate.

Q. Isn't there anybody else in the state that can evaluate me?
A. If you are a Veteran, you can receive free Driver rehab services at Dorn Medical VA in Columbia; otherwise, there is a program in Myrtle Beach and another in Greenville. We can give you their contact information and fax your referral to them if you would like.

Q. What if I do not feel I can tolerate 3 hours for the evaluation?
A. We can schedule you for two different sessions, however this is generally not recommended as it is not an accurate reflection of the demands of everyday life.

Q. Is there anything I need to study?
A. No, this assessment is not like the SCDMV written or road test. It is a therapeutic evaluation of your ability to drive safely.     

Potential Hand Control or Adaptive equipment clients:

Q. What if I need training with Hand Controls or adaptive equipment?
A. Palmetto Health does not have an evaluation vehicle at this time and the RCP Driver Rehabilitation Program has a contract to complete the behind the wheel evaluation in Columbia, SC 2 times a month; however with Hand Control or left foot accelerator evaluation and training this will need to be completed in Greenville, SC. They do not have the ability to train you on electronic or high-tech equipment.

Q. If you can't help me where else can I get evaluated?
A. Our Driver Rehabilitation Coordinator will provide you with the contacts for the other providers who can help you.

Q. If I need training, how long does that take?
A. The amount of training you require will be determined on the day of your evaluation. The Driver Rehabilitation Therapist will discuss the amount of training you will need to meet your goal of driving independently.

Q. How do I get Vocational rehabilitation to pay?
A. If you already have a case established with Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) you must discuss it with your counselor to determine if you qualify for coverage for the Driver Evaluation services; if you do not have a case opened with VR, you can self refer. You will need to call the office in your county to set up an appointment, the number can be found in the blue government portion of the phone book.

For more information, please contact:

Stephanie Scharf
(803) 434-1448