The profession of physical therapy has come a long way in recent years. I am so excited about the fact that we can now treat patients without the referral from a physician. Here are some facts about direct access to physical therapy. I encourage you take ownership of your health and click the link on the bottom of this post to learn more about direct access in your state.
What is direct access to physical therapy?
Direct access, or “self referral”, to physical therapy services allows a person to seek physical therapy without having an order from a physician first.
What are the advantages of direct access?
Direct access saves time. For a person with a musculoskeletal injury, they can go directly to a physical therapist without having to first schedule an appointment with a physician, get a script from a physician, and then schedule an appointment with a physical therapist.
Direct access may also save money by eliminating unnecessary tests, diagnostic procedures, or other specialist referrals. There are many conditions that can be treated effectively from physical therapy without requiring expensive diagnostic testing.
Are there risks to direct access?
Opponents argue that persons who directly seek help from a physical therapist before a physician may be put at risk due to lack of diagnostic tests prior to treatment. However, there is currently no data to verify that people who use direct access spend more money or are put at increased risk.
To become a physical therapist, one must graduate with a doctorate of physical therapy degree. Doctors of physical therapy are educated to recognize signs and symptoms that require referral to a physician and/or specialist.
Click here to find out more about Direct Access and inform yourself on your state’s legislation regarding your access to physical therapy without referral from a physician.