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.
Additional Direct Access in Practice Content
Dec 7, 2020 / Review
A new study affirms that direct access to physical therapy improves outcomes and lowers cost for patients with back pain.
May 3, 2020 / Article
CMS has specific regulations that impact direct access services in hospital-based outpatient settings.
Feb 12, 2020 / Article
PTs have all the training and skills necessary to provide diagnosis and treatment without a physician’s referral and without arbitrary restrictions.
Feb 7, 2020 / Perspective
I started a cash-based practice because I really did not feel that I had any other options.
Nov 8, 2019 / Review
Does unrestricted direct access to a physical therapist (PT) make a difference compared with "provisional" direct access systems?
Aug 9, 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.
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.
May 24, 2018 / Review
A new study finds additional benefits to receiving physical therapy for LBP as a first-line approach.
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.
Nov 10, 2017 / Review
Patients via direct access had significantly lower medical costs—an average of $1,543 less per patient.