Direct Access

Indiana Patients Have Direct Access to Physical Therapy!

Indiana House Bill 1034, which became law July 1, 2013, provided Indiana residents direct access to physical therapy for up to 24 days. On May 1, 2019, Governor Holcomb signed SB 586 into law. The new law went into affect on July 1, 2019. It permits Indiana patients to be evaluated and treated by a physical therapist for up to 42 calendar days without a referral from your provider (physician, podiatrist, psychologist, chiropractor, dentist, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant). After the 42-day period, the PT must obtain a referral from your authorized provider to continue patient treatment.

Direct access removes the previous barrier that required anyone needing physical therapy to get a referral or doctor's order before being evaluated and treated by a physical therapist. Now, you can go directly to a physical therapist to get the care you need without the long wait times and unnecessary out-of-pocket expenses at a doctor's office just to get a referral for physical therapy. According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), an analysis of Blue Cross-Blue Shield claims showed that total paid claims for physician referral visits to physical therapy was 123% higher than the paid claims for direct access. Additionally, physician referrals were 65% longer, resulting in 60% more office visits that direct access visits with a physical therapist.

Many conditions are successfully treated by hands-on treatment and individualized exercise programs provided by your physical therapist. Painful and expensive surgeries may be put off and sometimes even eradicated altogether. Plus, physical therapy has been known to reduce and sometimes even eliminate the need for dangerously addictive painkillers. Physical therapists are also highly trained in identifying conditions that might need further evaluation or medical treatment and can include primary care physicians when needed.

Direct Access to Texas Physical Therapists provides many benefits, including but not limited to:

  • Much quicker access to the treatment you need and deserve.
  • Cost savings - while each patient case is different, clinical research shows that Direct Access typically saves you money.
  • Thorough evaluation - physical therapy visits last 30-60 minutes so your condition is thoroughly evaluated.
  • Fewer overall treatment sessions - in many cases, seeing a physical therapist first, will result in fewer overall treatment sessions.

There are also guidelines and restrictions* for direct access to physical therapy in Indiana, which include:

  • Order or referral from a physician, osteopath, or chiropractor is required for spinal manipulation. Referring physician, osteopath, or chiropractor must have examined the patient before issuing the order or referral. “Spinal manipulation” is defined as “a method of skillful and beneficial treatment by which a physical therapist uses direct thrust to move a joint of the patient’s spine beyond its normal range of motion, but without exceeding the limits of anatomical integrity.”
  • Order or referral from physician, osteopath, or podiatrist is required for sharp debridement. “Sharp debridement” is defined as “the removal of foreign material or dead tissue from or around a wound, without anesthesia and with generally no bleeding, through the use of: (A) a sterile scalpel; (B) scissors; (C) forceps; (D) tweezers; or (E) other sharp medical instruments; in order to expose health tissue, prevent infection, and promote healing.”
  • While Indiana patients now have direct access, some insurance companies still require a physician referral. Our trained insurance verification staff works with insurance companies to determine the requirements for each patient. Please contact us for more information.
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