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Medicare beneficiaries can go directly to physical therapists without a referral or visit to a physician. This policy became effective in 2005 through revisions to the Medicare Benefit Policy Manual (Publication 100-02), which eliminated the physician visit requirement. However, a patient must be "under the care of a physician," which is indicated by the physician certification of the plan of care.

The following information is offered to help physical therapists provide direct access to PT services to patients and remain in compliance with laws and regulations.

Also see Direct Access and Medicare in Hospital-Based Outpatient Settings.

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