In today’s economy, we all need to be financially savvy to counteract rising healthcare costs. One effective way for cost control, which is often overlooked by consumers is the use of direct access to health care professionals. Direct access to Physical Therapy is YOUR opportunity to be evaluated and treated by an Advanced Care Physical Therapist without a referral. Evidence has shown that direct access resulted in fewer visits, saving patients both time and money. Earlier access to a physical therapist also allows you to begin your recovery process sooner by avoiding long waits to schedule an appointment with a specialist physician. At Advanced Care Physical Therapy, you can been evaluated at one of our four offices under direct access law. We will explain your insurance benefits and help you navigate the ever changing healthcare system. Always remember you have a choice in who you see for your physical therapy. It’s your choice!
Several states have had direct access to physical therapy for over 30 years and in 2006, New York State became the 43rd state to pass direct access for physical therapy services. Currently, forty eight states have granted consumers the freedom to seek physical therapy evaluations and/or treatment without a referral. According to Article 136 of the New York State Education Law, “…treatment may be rendered by a licensed Physical Therapist for ten visits or thirty days, whichever shall occur first, without a referral from a physician…” If you haven’t reached your goals by that time, our physical therapist will communicate with your physician to obtain a referral to continue treatment.
Requiring a physician referral to initiate physical therapy can result in delays in the provision of physical therapists’ services to individuals who would benefit from treatment by a physical therapist. Delays in care result in higher cost, decreased functional outcomes, and frustration to patients seeking physical therapy treatment. Commonly, patients will delay and often avoid visiting their physician altogether. By eliminating the referral mandate, physical therapy services can be initiated in a timely manner. This is your right!
Through graduate scholastic training and clinical experience, physical therapists are the most qualified to evaluate a patient’s musculoskeletal condition, assess their physical therapy needs, and provide a safe and effective treatment. Physical therapists are also trained to recognize a situation where a referral to a physician of other medical professional would be necessary. To further reassure patients’ safety, the New York State Education Law also stipulates that the licensed physical therapist must have practiced on a full time basis equivalent to no less than three years in order to evaluate and treat through direct access.
Direct access is strongly advocated, by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), which is a national professional organization whose goal is to foster advancements in physical therapy practice, research, and education. The Physical Therapy Alliance of Upstate New York Upstate (PTAUNY) is a non for profit organization consisting of over 100 privately owned clinics throughout Western and Central New York. PTAUNY is an affiliate of the APTA and its mission is to “promote our practice, provide continuing education opportunities and communicate with local third party payers on issues that affect the services we provide.”
Notice of Advice: At the beginning of direct access treatment, the physical therapist is obligated by law to advise the patient in writing of the possibility that the treatment may not be covered by the patient’s health care plan or insurer without a referral from a physician, dentist, podiatrist, or nurse practitioner, and that the treatment may be a covered expense if rendered with a referral.