Did you know that you have the right to choose your physical therapist? As of January 1, 2015, all 50 states and the District of Columbia allow patients to seek some level of treatment from a licensed physical therapist without a prescription or referral from a physician.
What This Means to You
When you get a physical therapy referral from your physician, you can visit any provider you like, even if your provider recommends one. Health care providers are usually familiar with or have an affiliation with one or more physical therapy clinics and they will customarily recommend one to their patients. However, the choice is yours. You do not have to visit the provider your health care provider recommends. You can choose to visit any provider with which you are most comfortable.
Busting A Couple of Common Myths About Direct Access
1. I need a doctor's referral to start physical therapy.
This is FALSE! In fact, on April 10, 2015, New Mexico Governor Martinez signed legislation that improves patient access to physical therapist services. This legislation eliminates restrictions that were tied to the previous direct access law and allows physical therapists to evaluate patients and provide treatment without a referral or previous medical diagnosis.
This means that you can go to a physical therapy clinic without having to see a doctor first. Many insurance carriers cover direct access physical therapy care. However, there may be restrictions, particularly for HMOs and Medicare. Don't worry if you're not sure you'll be covered under your insurance plan. We will verify your coverage before any commitment is made for treatment. We will find out if you have a co-pay, deductible or if you need a doctor's referral to start physical therapy.
2. My health may be more at risk if I try therapy first.
Your health will not be more at risk if you try therapy first, because physical therapists are doctors of their profession. Their training and education allows them to perform initial evaluations to determine if the problem is treatable through physical therapy or if you need to be referred to other health care providers that can provide the treatment you need.
You do have a choice! Even if your health care provider recommends a physical therapist for you, you can choose to go to the therapist of your choice. There are now laws that protect patients' right to control the care provided to them. So, if you decide on a physical therapist other than what your health care provider or insurance carrier recommends, they have to honor your choice. Click here to find out why you should choose us for your physical therapy care.