Texas is one of only two states still requiring patients to obtain a referral from a physician in order to access physical therapy. However, patients may directly access a chiropractor, podiatrist, massage therapist, acupuncturist and even a personal trainer for injuries, yet they cannot go directly to a Physical Therapist for treatment.
The 2019 Session of the Texas Legislature is addressing Direct Access to physical therapy services once again. House Bill 29 and Senate Bill 732 have both been filed to address this matter which will provide:
- Improved Access to Care
- Texas is ranked 47th in the shortage of primary care physicians, causing longer PT referral wait times and delayed treatment
- Direct Access allows patients to be properly evaluated and treated faster by a licensed Physical Therapist
- Faster treatment through Direct Access helps reduce the level of debilitation caused by an injury or disability as well as promotes a quicker recovery
- Better Health Outcomes
- Research has shown that Direct Access patients had a lower probability of over-utilizing health care services including opioid prescriptions, advanced imaging, emergency visits, and surgery
- Problems associated with physician referrals ultimately have an impact on the quality of care of physical therapy patients
- Lower Health Care Costs
- Multiple studies have shown that Direct Access to physical therapy significantly lowers out of pocket costs and total paid health care claims
- Results from a 2018 study found that current trends in health care costs are becoming unsustainable for payers and patients and are not resulting in improved outcomes…consulting a Physical Therapist early may provide an opportunity to mitigate downstream health care utilization while containing costs
We are asking each of our friends and patients to contact your legislators and ask them to support these bills and pass the legislation. You will find contact information for your Texas legislators at https://fyi.capitol.texas.gov/Home.aspx . Please let us know if you need any assistance in contacting your legislators. Your team at Physical Therapy of Melissa will continue to advocate for our patients and our profession to insure your opportunity for the best healthcare available.