Direct Access For Patients Needing Physical Therapy Now Available
Long life spans make injury prevention and rehabilitation vitally important for health care consumers. After 25 years in the making, Michigan now joins 49 states and Washington DC by offering direct access for physical therapy services.
On June 26, 2014, direct access bill SB-690 signed by Governor Snyder with an effective date of January 1, 2015, created more options for patients needing physical therapy services.
According to American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), direct access is the ability of a physical therapist in private practice and hospital systems to provide evaluation and treatment to patients without the need for a physician referral for up to 21 days or 10 visits.
Additionally APTA states that the new law allows patients to see a physical therapist directly for fitness health and injury prevention without a limitation on visits. Also only licensed physical therapists may use the term “doctor of physical therapy” in connection with their practice.
“Physical therapists are expertly trained in the evaluation and treatment of muscular-skeletal problems as well as certain neurological conditions,” said Gus Meyjes, president of Dynamic Physical Therapy, “and they have been trained to recognize those conditions that do not belong in their office.”
Dynamic Physical Therapy has been serving patients since 1995 and has expanded to six physical therapy offices in northern Michigan. Dynamic Physical Therapy and other Michigan practicing physical therapists will directly be affected by this legislation. Direct access will change healthcare in Michigan by allowing all licensed physical therapists to provide more accessible high-quality care to patients for preventative health and post injury
“Dynamic Physical Therapy will continue to communicate, share medical records and work with patient’s physicians to communicate to create the best healthcare plan possible,” said Meyjes, “and Dynamic PT will continue to refer their patients to their physician in case further care is needed or the patient’s needs cannot be taken care of by physical therapy.”
Some states have had direct access to physical therapy for over 30 years. This legal change of direct access does not automatically mean that insurance companies policies will be updated to reflect this change. Consumers should contact insurance companies to verify individual coverage.