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Direct access to PT services is a reality across America, but not without challenges.

Every state, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands has lifted all or some of the referral requirements or order provisions for physical therapist evaluation and treatment, meaning that PTs can provide evaluation and treatment services without the need for an order or referral from any other health care professional in accordance with state law.

But there are more gains to be made. Your advocacy support is needed as we continue to fight for more effective direct access provisions at the state and federal levels.  And while Medicare also allows direct access, providers must carefully follow rules and regulations.


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Tips for Adopting Direct Access in Your Practice

May 03, 2020 / Article

Direct Access and Medicare

May 04, 2020 / Article

Direct Access Advocacy

Apr 24, 2020

More needs to be done to improve direct access in states across the country.

Additional Direct Access in Practice Content

APTA Cosponsored Study: Direct Access to Physical Therapy for LBP Saves Mon...

Nov 08, 2019 / Review

Does unrestricted direct access to a physical therapist (PT) make a difference compared with "provisional" direct access systems?

Ordering of Diagnostic Imaging by PTs: A Practice Analysis - PTJ

Aug 09, 2019 / Article

As more PTs transition into direct access roles, it seems prudent to consider how additional resources common to other first-contact providers might impact patient care. This study examines the appropriateness of diagnostic imaging studies referred by civilian physical therapists at an academic medical center.

NEXT 2018: Dreaming Big to Improve Health Care

Aug 15, 2018 / Article

Julie Sexton, PT, and Michelle Ramirez, PT, DPT, discuss their health system’s process for translating evidence into practice and expanding care through direct access.

Study: Seeing a PT First for LBP Lowers Overall Costs, Reduces Chances of L...

May 24, 2018 / Review

A new study finds additional benefits to receiving physical therapy for LBP as a first-line approach.

CSM 2018: Low Back Pain Research

Mar 19, 2018 / Article

Kenneth Harwood, PT, PhD, discusses research that studies whether unrestricted direct access to physical therapist services lowers utilization and health care costs for people with low back pain.

Study: Direct Access is Safe, Effective, and Cheaper Than Referral-Based Care

Nov 10, 2017 / Review

Patients via direct access had significantly lower medical costs—an average of $1,543 less per patient.

APTA Report: Direct Access Widespread, But With Barriers

Oct 20, 2017 / News

Most of the use is occurring in private and hospital-based outpatient clinics and group practices.