What is Direct Access?
For patients, physical therapy without a prescription has many benefits. For starters, patients who may benefit from physical therapy services will be able to begin the treatment process sooner. Direct access may also help patients save money by potentially avoiding unnecessary visits, medication, surgery or extensive imaging tests. In fact, a recent BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina study showed that direct access to physical therapy led to a 31 percent reduction in total healthcare costs, 80 percent decrease in patient out-of-pocket costs and a 90 percent reduction in opioid use.
What are the benefits of Direct Access?
While some states have some restrictions around access to physical therapy services requiring patients to see a physician and get a prescription before seeing a physical therapist for treatment, this is not generally a requirement for many states that have direct access laws. Maryland is a Direct Access state. These laws give patients direct access to skilled physical therapy without the need for a referral or prescription from their doctor before starting treatment, under most circumstances. This allows patients to start physical therapy treatment sooner to reduce pain, increase mobility and improve their overall function.
Your First Appointment
Do I still need to see my doctor?
At GymFIT Physical Therapy, our clinicians are part of your healthcare team. Although direct access gives patients the ability to start physical therapy treatment without a prescription, our clinicians will provide each patient with a personalized plan of care following an assessment of their injury, pain or musculoskeletal complaint. This plan includes information about the injury/condition as well as next steps for the recovery process, which may include, if indicated, follow up with the patient’s physician and/or physician specialist.