Physical therapy can be very beneficial to different types of patients who have had injuries or whose muscles have become weaker due to aging or illness. In the past, however, your doctor always recommended whether or not you needed physical therapy; you couldn't go to a physical therapist without a referral.
The New Law Governing Physical Therapy
Nowadays, many states have made it legal to go to a physical therapist without consulting a doctor first. And Texas is the latest one. As of September 1 2019, Texans can go to a physical therapist without consulting a doctor. However, there are some restrictions.
- You can get treatment for up to 10 consecutive business days from a physical therapist who has a doctoral degree in physical therapy or who has completed a minimum of 30 continuing competence activities in the area of differential diagnosis.
- You can get treatment for up to 15 consecutive business days from a physical therapist who has a doctoral degree and has completed a residency or fellowship.
- The therapist must have been licensed to practice physical therapy for a year and must have professional liability insurance.
- If you want to continue getting physical therapy for more than the above-mentioned numbers of days, you need a referral from a healthcare professional.
Should You Go for Physical Therapy Without a Referral?
Often, being able to go to a physical therapist without a referral can be helpful because it saves time for the patient and makes it more likely that s/he will get the treatment needed. Many patients can get lazy about going to a doctor first, getting a recommendation and then going to a physical therapist. But if they can go to the physical therapist directly, they are more likely to do so.
But there are those who believe that you should still consult a doctor first. Doctor David Kummerfeld, an orthopedic surgeon, says, "We each have our place on the team. The physician's job is going to be kind of the quarterback of the team—to make that initial diagnosis and guide the process through."
To learn more about this and related topics, visit the Healthcare section of our blog.
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