Direct Patient Access to physical therapists’ services without a referral means the removal of the physician referral mandated by state law to access physical therapists’ services for evaluation and treatment. Simply, if you feel you have a problem that may benefit from the skilled services of an AZOPT physical therapist, you are able to refer yourself to physical therapy for treatment, also known as self-referral.
Keep in mind that your insurance policy may require a visit to the primary care physician first or may limit your access to preferred providers only. Medicare beneficiaries are able to go directly to physical therapists without a referral or visit to a physician.
This referral mandate previously caused delays to individuals who would benefit from treatment. Delays in care result in higher costs, decreased functional outcomes, and frustration to patients seeking physical therapy treatment. Eliminating the referral mandate results in timely, and thus more effective, physical therapy services.
Is AZOPT qualified to evaluate and treat?
Physical therapists are stringently regulated by all states, and as highly trained health care professionals, physical therapists have a proven track record of effectively treating millions of patients. Our physical therapists are well-qualified, both through formal education and clinical training, to evaluate a patient’s condition, assess his or her physical therapy needs and, if appropriate, safely and effectively treat the patient. Our physical therapists are also well-qualified to recognize when patients demonstrate conditions, signs, and symptoms that should be evaluated by other health care professionals before therapy is instituted.
Why Is Direct Access Important?
Healthcare is expensive. A system that allows the patient to directly seek the services of a physical therapist can help save healthcare dollars by eliminating unnecessary tests or other specialist referrals. Many conditions can be successfully evaluated and treated with no expensive diagnostic testing.