As I have grown in my career as a physical therapist, I have been lucky enough to practice in a time of recent reform allowing for greater autonomy as a therapist in Louisiana. Several therapists that I have worked alongside with were instrumental in helping pass the law for direct access in Louisiana in June 2016. With this being said, it surprises me at how many patients are still not aware of the new change in law! As an advocate for my profession, I can always be proactive in educating and informing patients of their rights when seeking medical treatment.
Under the new law, physical therapists are allowed to evaluate and treat patients without a referral from a doctor. We are obligated under the law to refer to another healthcare provider within 30 days of evaluation if the patient is not progressing as expected. Honestly, if a patient has not progressed within 30 days of being treated, a physical therapist should refer out if they are looking at the patient’s best interests. With this being said, doctors still refer patients to physical therapy often, and it is important that physical therapists have good communication with the referral source about progress and treatment plans.
Benefits of Direct Access allow for patients to be treated sooner rather than later. Sometimes, injuries are not addressed until weeks or months after originating. This may be due to patients having a difficult time getting in to see the specialist or reluctance to seek treatment due to uncertainty on who to go see. Now patients can come and see a physical therapist the same day of an injury if desired! Treating injuries sooner will not only help with healing at a faster rate, but also, decrease the financial burden of medical diagnoses that linger for longer periods of time. Research has shown that early physical therapy treatment does decrease overall medical expenses in the long run for the particular diagnosis!
If you are currently suffering from a recent injury or a nagging issue for several weeks or months, feel free to stop by and speak either therapist at Integrity Physical Therapy to determine how we can help you on the road to recovery!
Please visit our website at Integrityphysicaltherapy.com