Direct Access to Physical Therapy

December 14, 2020

5 min read

What is direct access to physical therapy?

Questions frequently asked by our patients is, “do I need to see my doctor before I see a physical therapist,” or “do I need a prescription or referral for physical therapy?” Under Arizona law you have the right to “Direct Access” which means you have a legal right to seek services directly from a licensed physical therapist without seeing your physician first to receive a referral. As well most insurance plans allow you to receive treatment from a licensed physical therapist without a physician referral. However, Medicare requires you to obtain a prescription within the first 30 days of the start of any treatment plan. You can begin treatment even if you don’t have a Medicare prescription and we will contact your doctor and assist you in obtaining this prescription so there is no delay in your treatment.

What does direct access physical therapy mean to you?

  • Direct Access is one of the best ways to control costs to the healthcare consumer and allows them to seek care from the health care provider that can best meet their healthcare goals and needs. In most cases patients are seeking care for pain which is usually related to musculoskeletal causes, of which a physical therapist is usually the best choice.
  • Direct Access has also shown to eliminate delays in care which can be very frustrating for patients, often leads to poor outcomes and results in higher costs overall.
  • Direct Access provides earlier intervention and often reduces the need for long-term care. This also allows for an earlier return to work and normal activities of daily living.
  • Direct Access to Physical Therapists also eliminates the burden in both dollars and time of unnecessary physician visits!

Are physical therapists qualified to see patients directly?

Physical therapists are extremely qualified to see patients directly, and are the only ones legally allowed to provide physical therapy services.

  • Insurance companies and the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy affirm that direct access does not jeopardize the health, safety or welfare of the patients seeking physical therapists’ services without a referral.
  • Health Providers Service Organization, the leading liability insurer of Physical Therapists in the United States, indicated that Direct access is not a risk factor and has not negatively impacted our claims experience in any way. In fact, physical therapy is one of the safest, if not the safest healthcare profession to work with when it comes to your healthcare needs.
  • Call The Center For Total Back Care today to receive the care you are entitled to or be referred to the specialist that best fits your particular needs.

How can The Center for Total Back Care help me?

We understand when you are in pain you don’t want to have to wait days or weeks to do something about it, so our policy is to see you within the same day if requested. We always keep appointments available for emergencies to quickly address your specific needs! Our promise to you is to see you right away and get you started on the road to recovery.

Another way that direct access is beneficial is that we are able to help you see other healthcare providers faster. If the you are in need of a referral to a family doctor, or the results of your examination indicates that you would benefit from seeing another healthcare professional which would enhance the speed of your recovery, we will make the necessary phone calls to get you to the appropriate physician. We have relationships with multiple physicians and we can get you to the appropriate doctor right away.

Our clinics are not like a typical physical therapy clinic. We have specialized testing and rehabilitation tools that allow for a speedy recovery often within the first few treatments. We will also schedule you within the same day of your phone call if requested. We know that whatever physical problem you may be having can severely affect your work and home life, so we will work around your schedule and do everything we can to minimize the disruption of your daily life including minimizing missing work. Ultimately, rather than treating just the symptoms, we will get to the root of your problem so that you can return to your normal daily activities without the fear of the condition returning. If you have questions regarding your specific medical condition you can email us at any time and we are happy to answer your questions.

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