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  • Alabama Becomes 47th Direct Access State

    Patients in Alabama will soon be able to be evaluated and, in certain cases, treated by physical therapists (PTs) without first having to obtain a physician referral. With the enactment of Alabama House Bill 163, Alabama becomes the 47th state to achieve some form of direct access. 

    HB 163, sponsored by state Rep Ed Henry and signed by Gov Robert Bentley yesterday, goes into effect July 1. Prior to implementation of HB 163, PTs were prohibited from performing a physical therapy evaluation unless the patient had a referral. The new law provides for direct access to evaluation, fitness, wellness, and prevention services, and for treatment under certain conditions.

    The legislation, which faced significant opposition, primarily from physician groups, is the culmination of many years of difficult work by the Alabama Chapter. Despite numerous obstacles, fierce and well-financed opponents, and the devastation of the April 27, 2011, tornado, the chapter was able to obtain a compromise from opponents on the bill that allowed its passage by the legislature. Per APTA's Strategic Plan, the chapter was provided direct access grants in 2011 and 2012 from the association.

    Read more about the chapter's advocacy efforts in APTA's press release.

    Alabama PT Rally - May 1, 2012
    Emmett Parker, PT, MS, ATC, legislative chair for the Alabama Chapter, addresses attendees at a rally in 2011 at the Alabama State House in support of direct access to physical therapist services. 


    • Congratulations to all the hard work you guys put in! Please don't let up, come back in time and go for unrestricted access, you came so close. Access, choice, and competition benefits the consumer provided safety is ensured. Nobody disputes this.

      Posted by Ryan Grella on 5/1/2012 6:01 PM

    • Huge Congratulations guys! A great step in the direction of full direct access. Wish us luck over here in Texas as we give it another shot in 2013.

      Posted by Jarod Carter PT, DPT, MTC on 5/4/2012 1:41 PM

    • Congratulations to Alabama!! We hope that our State of Michigan will be the 48th by the end of this year!

      Posted by Renee Hill, P.T. on 5/4/2012 2:19 PM

    • I thought there were already 48 states with some form of direct access, and only Indiana and Indiana did not?? I believe when we mention direct access there is some confusing data presented. Some numbers reflect direct access in varying degrees and this should be clarified. Is it "access and treat", or "access for eval only" etc. This disparity seems to account for finding different numbers from different sources.

      Posted by Ed Scott PT, DPT, OCS on 5/5/2012 8:10 AM

    • Congratulations! I was afraid Alabama might be last to get direct access. Great work! Rep. Nancy Garland

      Posted by Nancy Garland on 5/5/2012 5:09 PM

    • Michigan is an evaluation but do not treat state. We are hoping for direct access this year. Congratulations to Alabama. Now it's time for all 50!!!

      Posted by Alan Hammond PT, DPT, CBIS on 5/8/2012 8:29 AM

    • Will insurance companies reimburse us for these visits???

      Posted by John Cormier -> =FT_=I on 7/3/2012 4:25 PM

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