In California, patients are able to be evaluated and treated by a licensed physical therapist without first obtaining a physician’s referral under legislation called Direct Access. This immediate access to therapeutic care leads to a much higher rate of success in a timely manner for the individuals seeking services.
Information Regarding the LAW
As of January 1, 2014, California law under AB1000 allows licensed physical therapists to provide direct physical therapy evaluation and treatment services for a period of up to 45 calendar days or 12 visits, whichever occurs first, after which time a physical therapist may continue providing you with physical therapy treatment services only after receiving, from a person holding a physician and surgeon’s certificate issued by the Medical Board of California or by the Osteopathic Medical Board of California, or from a person holding a certificate to practice podiatric medicine from the California Board of Podiatric Medicine and acting within his or her scope of practice, a dated signature on the physical therapist’s plan of care indicating approval of the physical therapist’s plan of care and that an in-person patient examination and evaluation was conducted by the physician, surgeon or podiatrist.
Benefits to you
Direct Access benefits our patients in that:
1. It allows you to expedite treatment, saving time and money.
2. Eliminates delays that can result in decreased functional outcomes and frustration.
3. Allows for earlier return to work and an earlier return to daily activities, reduce the need for long-term care by providing early intervention.
Studies show that immediate care for most injuries can reduce the healing time. We can refer you to a licensed MD, DPM, or other medical professionals for conditions/symptoms outside our scope of practice.
We will be happy to contact your insurance provider to determine your benefits in terms of direct access coverage. In many cases with direct access, insurance companies are now reimbursing because they realize that it costs less when you, our patient, have the choice to access physical therapy without delay. Our physical therapists will work with you to establish a plan of care that will accomplish your goals and maintain efficiency of treatment.