Legislative Wrap 2017: Texans denied direct access to physical therapy services

April 23rd, 2018

With the current State of Texas legislative session wrapping up at the end of the month, we wanted to provide you with a final synopsis of how the measure fared to empower the people of Texas direct access to the physical therapy services they need.

Direct Access Bills (SB728 – Taylor, HB 2118 – Klick)

The PT Direct Access bill by Senator Van Taylor (R – Plano) was heard before the Senate Business and Commerce Committee. The Texas Physical Therapy Association (TPTA) fielded five witnesses who covered all relevant support points for Direct Access:

  • 47 other states have created Direct Access to PT environments
  • The U.S. military uses a PT Direct Access environment
  • The largest provider of professional liability insurance research affirms that there is no additional risk in Direct Access states compared to the three states that do not provide Direct Access, hence the argument of patient risk is specious
  • There is no increased expense because of Direct Access
  • The State Health Plan recommends that Direct Access with PT be implemented to reduce the shortage of primary care physician access
    The bill was left pending. There are nine members on the Senate Business & Commerce Committee and we needed five support votes to bring the bill out of pending for a committee vote. The day before the bill was to be brought up for a vote we had six ‘aye’ votes. By the morning of the vote, two of those six support votes had flipped, and we no longer had the necessary support to pass the bill.

The House version of the Direct Access bill (HB2118) was laid out before the House Public Health Committee and generated an extended questioning of witnesses with focus on the opposition’s witness. The bill was left pending. There are 11 members on the House Public Health Committee and we needed six votes to pass the bill out of committee. Leading up to the vote on HB2118, we had commitments from seven committee members who said that would vote FOR HB2118. On the day of the vote, two votes were lost and the bill was voted down in the House Public Health Committee.

Physical Therapy of Melissa appreciates each of you who signed the petition, contacted the legislators directly or through email, and demonstrated a high level of support from our community. In fact, Senator Estes’ office was very impressed with our response and resolve to have his support on the measure. His office stated they certainly “heard from Melissa!” Remember, your voice is important on this and other legislative measures, both locally and at the state and federal levels.

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. Moving toward the next legislative session in two years, we will continue working on the road obtaining Direct Access in Texas. Thank you once again for demonstrating that Together We Get Better.