Column: What is direct access to physical therapy?


Commentary by Linda Barnes

According to APTA Indiana, direct access to physical therapy is defined as the removal of a physician referral mandated by state law to access physical therapists’ services for evaluation and treatment. Direct access or self-referral allows you to seek treatment from a physical therapist/occupational therapist without a referral from your medical provider. With direct access, you have the power to decide if you need physical and/or occupational therapy.

Benefits of direct access

There are several benefits to direct access, including, but not limited to:

  • No waiting for a referral from your medical provider.
  • Quicker access to evaluation and treatment.
  • Coordination of care with other health professionals.*
  • May save money and time if able to treat the condition with therapy versus having expensive tests completed prior to treatment.
  • More control over your own treatment choices.
  • May avoid surgery.
  • Use of alternative pain approaches/decreased use of opioids.
  • Improved outcomes/quicker results.
  • Improved patient satisfaction.
  • Health care is made more accessible to more people.

*Therapy On Wheels will fax a doctor’s order and your plan of care to your doctor. Therapy On Wheels offers outpatient 1-on-1 physical and occupational therapy at patient’s home. Our therapists are skilled in treating many medical illnesses, including, but not limited, to musculoskeletal disorders, neurological disorders, falls, post-surgery recovery and generalized weakness.

Linda Barnes is the owner/president of Therapy on Wheels, Inc. For more, visit at 317 332-9861.