Under current law, consumers may now refer themselves to physical therapy without a doctor’s prescription for the first thirty days of treatment (this is not allowable for anyone with Medicare, Worker’s Compensation, or motor vehicle insurance). If continued rehabilitation is required beyond thirty days, your primary or specialist physician must be consulted for approval.
In matters of significant trauma or unknown cause, it is always wise to first seek care from your physician so that proper diagnostic testing can be performed. Where direct access has become beneficial to consumers is in instances of minor joint or muscle pain, and recurrence of known chronic conditions. This affords consumers rapid access to a comprehensive examination by a physical therapist, considered to be a musculoskeletal and movement expert. In straightforward cases, therefore, unnecessary delays are avoided, financial resources are preserved, and pain and dysfunction are more rapidly addressed. If, upon your initial evaluation, your physical therapist is unsure about the cause of your pain, or has concern about other clinical findings, your physician will be immediately involved in your care.