Kansas Passes Legislation to Improve Patient Access to Physical Therapy

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ALEXANDRIA, VA, April 1, 2013 — Kansas became the latest state to improve patient access to physical therapists when Governor Sam Brownback signed HB 2066 on March 28, legislation that will ease burdensome referral requirements that impede timely care from skilled physical therapists. Achievement of direct access in all 50 states has been a longtime and fundamental goal of APTA, and the organization supports this positive move in Kansas.

Under the new law, patients will be able to see a physical therapist for treatment without a referral from a physician or other health care provider. Treatment may continue without a referral as long as the patient is progressing toward documented treatment goals demonstrated by objective, measurable, or functional improvement. If the patient is not progressing toward such goals within 10 visits or 15 business days, treatment may continue after the physical therapist obtains a referral from a physician or other appropriate licensed health care practitioner. Current Kansas law allows a patient to see a physical therapist without a referral for a limit of 30 days only if they had previously been referred to a physical therapist within the past year, and in other specific limited circumstances.

"We presented indisputable evidence to our legislators, showing that patient self-referral to physical therapy services works without harm to the public," said Kansas Physical Therapy Association (KPTA) Legislative Chair Pam Palmer, PT. "In the end, our opposition was unable to refute the fact that patient self-referral is currently working very well in many states. We also had a great grassroots network that backed our singular message to the legislators."

"HB 2066 and the Senate version, SB 46, received widespread support in both chambers," said KPTA Chapter President Stacia Troshynski Brown, PT, DPT, OCS. "KPTA is especially appreciative to the following legislators for their support: Rep David Crum (R-77), chair of the House Health and Human Services Committee; Sen Mary Pilcher-Cook (R-10), chair of the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee; Rep Kevin Jones (R-5), and former Rep Brenda Landwehr."

"This new legislation is encouraging," said APTA President Paul A. Rockar, PT, DPT, MS. "APTA has long fought for direct access to physical therapists in all 50 states. Direct access removes unnecessary steps and related costs and puts the decision where it belongs, in the patient's hands. A person should have the right to see the health care practitioner she/he so desires without the inconvenience of having to get a referral. This is a big win, and we congratulate KPTA on this achievement."

The American Physical Therapy Association represents more than 85,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy nationwide. Learn more about conditions physical therapists can treat and find a physical therapist in your area at www.MoveForwardPT.com. Consumers are encouraged to follow us on Twitter (@MoveForwardPT) and Facebook.

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