Indiana Patients Now Have Direct Access to Physical Therapy Services
New law will save consumers time and money according to the APTA
A new law provides Indiana patients with more choice and greater efficiency when making decisions about physical therapy. Indiana House Bill 1034, which became law July 1, gives Indiana residents direct access to physical therapy.
Direct access allows consumers to go directly to a physical therapist for evaluation and/or treatment without a referral from a physician. The new provision also allows nurse practitioners and physician assistants to refer patients for physical therapy without the additional step of obtaining a physician’s approval.
“We applaud Indiana lawmakers who recognized that the unnecessary and arbitrary access barriers resulted in increased health care costs and delays to physical therapy care,” said Mark Schodrof, Vice President, ATI Physical Therapy.
According to the American Physical Therapy association, an analysis of Blue Cross-Blue Shield claims showed that total paid claims for physician referral episodes to physical therapy was 123% higher than the paid claims for direct access episodes. In addition, physician referral episodes were 65% longer and results in 60% more office visits that direct access episodes.
Physical therapists are highly qualified and educated professionals. All physical therapists graduating today must complete a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree and pass a national licensure exam before practicing.
Until now, Indiana was the only state that did not allow direct access to evaluations by physical therapists and one of only three states that did not allow even limited access to treatment without a referral. The bill permits patients to be evaluated and treated by a physical therapist for 24 calendar days without a referral from a physician or other provider.
While Indiana patients now have direct access, some insurance companies do still require a physician referral. ATI’s trained insurance verification staff works with insurance companies to determine the requirements for each patient.
For consumers who have questions about an orthopedic injury or pain, ATI Physical Therapy offers complimentary injury screenings. Patients are seen by a licensed provider who can evaluated the injury and provide options for continued care.
Media Contact: Kim Waterman
(630) 296-2222 x7158