More needs to be done to improve direct access in states across the country.
Direct access means the removal of the physician referral mandated by state law to access physical therapist services for evaluation and treatment. Every state, the District of Columbia, and the US Virgin Islands allow for evaluation and some form of treatment without physician referral. However, many of those states continue to impose arbitrary restrictions on direct access, or only allow for treatment without referral under very limited circumstances.
Why It Matters
Direct access restrictions cause unnecessary delays for people who would benefit from treatment by a PT. Delays in care result in higher costs, decreased functional outcomes, and frustration to patients seeking physical therapy treatment. Eliminating arbitrary barriers results in timely, more effective care.
Allowing individuals to make decisions regarding their health care is good policy. Eliminating the referral requirement makes health care more accessible to more people. We must amend current statutes at the state level to remove arbitrary limitations on direct access to physical therapy services.
Additional Direct Access Advocacy Content
Oct 20, 2017 / News
Most of the use is occurring in private and hospital-based outpatient clinics and group practices.
Oct 1, 2016 / Feature
All across the nation, consumers have "some form" of direct access to physical therapist services. What does that mean? What work remains?