Direct Access is a term used in physical therapy that refers to the ability to be evaluated by a PT without a referral from a physician first. According to the American Physical Therapy Association, all 50 states now have some form of direct access, although there are a few hurdles in some cases. The “hurdles” refers to the fact that some insurance companies still require a referral in order for reimbursement. This means that while the state will allow you to be seen, the insurance will not necessarily pay for it. Still some other insurance companies will allow patients to be seen via direct access but will require documentation of a plan of care or may restrict the number of visits allowed based on each individual plan. With all that said, many insurance companies DO recognize the cost savings and benefits to allowing physical therapy first. If you’ve ever been in the position where you had pain so you were seen by your primary care doctor, then sent for imaging, then referred to a specialist, then finally sent to therapy, it is easy to see how much time and money is wasted on this process when one could have walking into a physical therapy office from the start. Of course, if you are ever unsure you can call your insurance company directly and ask if a referral is required.
If you or someone you know needs an evaluation with our physical therapy team feel free to contact our office at 301-694-8311 or visit our website at www.mmidocs.com. We are dedicated to helping you live your best life.