Oregon Enacts Legislation Removing Restrictions Tied to Patient Access to Physical Therapist Services

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ALEXANDRIA, VA, May 10, 2013 — 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."

Patient direct access, for which OPTA vigorously advocated, initially was enacted 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.

"Oregon has a proud tradition of pioneering change in health care which was recently demonstrated through two large projects which steer patients directly to a physical therapist for treatment of low back pain," said Chris Murphy, PT, President of the Oregon Physical Therapy Association. "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."

The legislation will take effect on January 1, 2014.

The Oregon Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association is a professional membership association serving approximately 1,271 active and retired physical therapists and physical therapist assistants, and physical therapy students.

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.