Direct access means a patient can seek physical therapy services without a prescription. Individuals should feel empowered to be able to seek physical therapy care when they feel they are in need of such services.
The American Physical Therapy Association has outlined the following information:
“Direct Access is an option for physical therapy offices.” This means that physical therapists are not required to treat patients who do not have a referral (prescription). It is a choice for each individual therapist.
- Physical therapy liability claims have not increased with the passage of direct access legislature. Physical therapists have demonstrated the knowledge and skill to safely evaluate and treat a wide range of physical conditions.
- Referrals will always be an important part of the health care delivery for all professions. Physical Therapists will continue work hard on building and maintaining relationships with physicians and other health care providers.
- Physical Therapists must undergo extensive training to be recognized as a “point of entry” into the health care system for neuromusculoskeletal issues. A clear understanding of when to not to treat is extremely important. It is just as important as knowing when to treat.
- Continued communication with other relevant healthcare providers is key. Physical therapists should maintain a good relationship with physicians and other health care providers in case the need to refer out arises.
- Statistics have shown that the standard of care has not changed among patients who have or have not been referred for physical therapy. Physical Therapists must provide quality treatment in all situations.
What does this mean? In the case of Center for Physical Excellence (with a practice focus on Orthopedic, Industrial and Sports Medicine), anyone with a neuromusculoskeletal problem is welcome to schedule an appointment with one of our clinicians. We prefer to stay in contact with either your primary physician and/or orthopedic physician so that open communication occurs on a regular basis. In many instances, with an approved plan of care, your insurance carrier will cover physical therapy. If this is not the case with your particular insurance, we are happy to work out payment arrangements. We are also happy to provide receipts of these expenses for end of year tax planning or personal submission to your insurance.
– Laura Markey, PT, DPT, DMT, FAAOMPT