On June 6, 2016, Senate Bill No. 291, amending the Louisiana Physical Therapy Practice Act, became law allowing patients direct access to physical therapy Louisiana became the 38th state to allow direct access to physical therapy.
What does this mean to me?
You may come directly to your Physical Therapist and receive an evaluation and treatment for any musculoskeletal injury. You try physical therapy first without having to make a separate trip to your doctor's office. As a “Direct Access” patient, you do not need a prescription from your physician to receive outpatient physical therapy.
Your physical therapist will evaluate your condition and develop a treatment plan for you which may include manual therapy, therapeutic exercises, and other modalities. Our treatment plans are based on the most up-to-date and current guidelines of care.
Who is eligible for direct access to physical therapy in Louisiana
Any person in Louisiana is eligible to be seen directly by a Physical Therapist.
What are some of the benefits of Direct Access to Physical Therapy in Louisiana?
- Direct access allows you to see a licensed physical therapist without seeing a physician first, minimizing the wait time and allowing you to receive the care you need sooner rather than later.
- Our physical therapists have gone through extensive training for medical screening and musculoskeletal exams and are highly qualified musculoskeletal experts. During an evaluation, your therapist will ask specific questions related to your health, including past medical history and medications, to determine if physical therapy is appropriate at the moment.
- Physical therapists are trained to recognize "red flags" that require a referral to a physician and will guide you through that process, if necessary.
- Once a treatment plan is in place, our team will work with you, your family members and your healthcare provider(s) to work toward achieving your goals.
- Direct access can decrease overall healthcare costs, improve functional outcomes and minimize overall frustration throughout your recovery process.
- Direct access can decrease opioid use, allowing you to heal naturally without the use of addictive pills – Louisiana is one of 13 states with the highest number of painkiller prescriptions.
- Direct access enhances communication with your primary care provider because we send our initial findings ad ongoing progress, which gives your provider better information on the effectiveness of therapy or the need for further diagnostic recommendations.
Are there any limitations to Direct Access?
- Physical therapists conduct an initial physical therapy examination and render a physical therapy diagnosis treating only those conditions within the physical therapy scope of practice. In addition, a physical therapist remains responsible for managing all aspects of the physical therapy care of each patient.1
- A physical therapist may only perform procedures in which he/she is competent.2 If the physical therapist finds that the treatment needed is outside his/her scope of knowledge, experience, or expertise, the physical therapist must notify the patient and appropriately refer to another healthcare provider.3
- Direct patient access does not impact payment procedure or guarantee payment from payor sources.4
- The new direct access provisions do not change the law as it related to Workers' Compensation as specified in La. R.S. 23:1142, monetary limits of health care provider approval; La. R.S. 23:1122, Worker’s Compensation Medical Examinations; and La. R.S. 23:1203.1, Worker’s Compensation Benefits.
- La. R.S. 37:2407.
- La. R.S. 37:2418 A and Louisiana Physical Therapy Board Rule § 303 B.
- Louisiana Physical Therapy Board Rule § 303 C.