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  • Oregon Removes Restrictions to Patient Access to Physical Therapist Services

    New Oregon legislation eliminates the 60-day time restriction tied to treatment for services provided by a physical therapist without a physician referral, granting unrestricted patient access to the services of a physical therapist. Oregon Gov John Kitzhaber signed House Bill 2684 into law yesterday.

    "This is a significant achievement for Oregon, and we are pleased to see it happen," said APTA President Paul A. Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS. "This law removes an arbitrary time limit that was an unwarranted and unnecessary barrier to the continuum of treatment by a physical therapist."

    "Oregon has a proud tradition of pioneering change in health care, which was recently demonstrated through 2 large projects that steer patients directly to a physical therapist for treatment of low back pain," said Chris Murphy, PT, president of the Oregon Physical Therapy Association (OPTA). "Removal of the unnecessary restriction on access to a physical therapist is a welcome improvement for our patients and aligns perfectly with the goals of health care reform to foster improved collaborative care with each professional working at the top of his or her scope of practice."

    Patient direct access, for which OPTA vigorously advocated, initially was introduced in the state in 1993. This was a win for OPTA and the profession, but the original law imposed a 30-day time limit for treatment without a physician referral. In 2007, the Oregon Chapter again achieved success, with legislation that extended the time limit from 30 to 60 days. HB 2684 completely removed restrictions that prevented patients from receiving unhindered treatment from a physical therapist. The legislation will take effect on January 1, 2014.


    • Heartfelt "Congratulations!" to my colleagues in Oregon from a California neighbor with similar aspirations for my State; hopefully common sense will prevail over zealous political posturing!

      Posted by Lise McCarthy on 5/10/2013 3:07 PM

    • South Carolina desperately needs to follow suite! "An ounce is worth a pound of cure"- Benjamin Franklin It's more cost effective & the right thing to do.

      Posted by Steve Avinger on 5/10/2013 4:06 PM

    • Absolutely fantastic! Congrats to Oregon for leading the way! Chris is so correct that this is aligned with where health care reform is going. Very inspirational change!

      Posted by Craig Johnson -> @JX]C on 5/10/2013 5:37 PM

    • Congratulations to the Oregon chapter , I hope more states will follow.

      Posted by Nachum Loss on 5/10/2013 5:39 PM

    • Interesting. Work in eastern Oregon for 6 years. Didn't know a thing about this legislation. I just went into private practice in Idaho because my Oregon hospital employer said I could no longer see Direct Access in the hospital's outpatient rehab department. Seems the national headquarters for the hospital corporation decided that Medicare rules apply to all patients. I was the guy that fostered passage of Direct Access in Idaho in 1987. I say baloney. Seems there is still work to do in Oregon and with Trinity Healthcare.

      Posted by Lynn Johnson on 5/10/2013 5:44 PM

    • Congratulations to the OPTA!

      Posted by Dan Jenkins on 5/10/2013 5:59 PM

    • Hello California, Is anyone listening at CPTA, unrestricted direct access. If you only get to change your practice act every 50 years, you had better go all the way; and don't allow referral for profit! • Patients should have the freedom to access Physical Therapy services directly without encumberments or regulatory schemes that require physician visits. • Patients should be protected from fraudulent abuse that arises from referral for profit business arrangements. • PT’s should have the freedom to practice in any ethical setting they choose, which requires Physical Therapy corporations be majority owned by Physical Therapists.

      Posted by Jeff Fairley on 5/10/2013 6:21 PM

    • I have an outpatient Physical Therapy clinic in Arizona and we have had direct access for quite some time, but the catch 22 is that only a few insurance companies will reimburse w/o a referral from a physician. Our next big push as a profession needs to be providing research data that validates the cost savings and evidence that confirms just how effective Physical Therapy as a first option provider would be.

      Posted by Garry W. Branson, P.T. DPT on 5/10/2013 11:46 PM

    • Congratulations!!!!! Now we must push hard towards furthering our autonomy and pride in our profession by eliminating physician owned practices as well as the right of chiropractors to advertise that they offer and perform physical therapy! All this boils down to educating the current generation and new grads about the catastrophic consequences to our profession if this is not firmly eliminated! Bottom line is that without the actual physical therapists accepting to lower themselves as professionals, sabotage their own profession and work for physician owned practices there will not be any physician owned practices!! After all whats the point of receiving a "Doctor of Physical Therapy" title if we are not recognized and respected as such in all the systems of healthcare delivery!

      Posted by Blerim Dibra PT, DPT, LMT on 5/11/2013 9:48 AM

    • A sincere congratulations to all those involved in making this vision a reality. Thank you to all...your efforts are much appreciated. I'm one of many happy Oregon PTs!

      Posted by Karl Kolbeck, PT, OCS, COMT, FAAOMPT on 5/11/2013 10:19 AM

    • Texas is way behind

      Posted by Please help on 5/11/2013 9:38 PM

    • Congrats Oregon! We need your help in our fight in Michigan

      Posted by Melanie Wells on 5/12/2013 8:23 AM

    • Way to go Oregon! Nice job Chris Murphy, PT our fearless president and the legislative action committee!

      Posted by Heather Goodell, PT on 5/12/2013 10:20 PM

    • Congrats to Oregon! A great legislative victory. Now its time for the big boys to step up to the plate. California, Texas, New York, Florida, and Illinois are the most populous states, but have horrible practice acts.......

      Posted by Ryan Grella on 5/13/2013 12:57 PM

    • Congratulations! I hope this means the tide is turning and other states will be able to remove some of their limitations to full direct access.

      Posted by Aaron LeBauer on 6/4/2013 12:02 PM

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