Physical therapy more accessible
New law allows some visits without doctor’s referral
Kansans who need physical therapist services will find it easier and more efficient to obtain treatment under legislation recently signed into law by Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius.
House Bill 2483, approved May 10 as part of Senate Bill 11, allows access to physical therapist services without a physician referral in certain circumstances, which will save time and money for patients and prevent delays in service. Under the new law, patients also can receive instruction and information from physical therapists on workplace injury prevention and healthy living without a physician referral.
"We want to make the process as easy as possible for patients who need physical therapist services to receive treatment," said Kansas Physical Therapy Association President Mark Dwyer, PT, MHA. "Previous law imposed a number of restrictions on patients, which resulted in higher costs and delays that can impair recovery. The new provisions remove some of these barriers to better serve patients in Kansas."
Under the legislation, patients are allowed 30 days of treatment from physical therapists without physician referrals if the patient has been referred to a PT for that condition within the previous year.
"The American Physical Therapy Association applauds Kansas for being the 44th state plus the District of Columbia to enact legislation providing patients with direct access to physical therapist services," said APTA President R Scott Ward, PT, PhD. "There have been a number of studies that demonstrate how effective direct access is at lowering costs, improving access to care, and giving patients more choices for service. Now patients seeking care in Kansas will be able to benefit from improved access to high-quality physical therapist services."
The act also removes referral requirements for physical therapists that provide instruction on workplace injury prevention to employees, information on health and wellness to the public, and physical therapy services to special education students who need those services to fulfill their individualized education plan or individualized family service plan.
Physical therapists are health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages with medical problems or other health-related conditions limiting their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. Physical therapists develop individual plans of care for each patient using treatment techniques that promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function and prevent disability.
The Kansas Physical Therapy Association is a nonprofit professional association of Kansas physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students. KPTA is a chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association, a national professional organization representing more than 70,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students. Its goal is to foster advancements in physical therapy practice, research, and education.
Consumers can access "Find a PT" to find a physical therapist in their area, as well as physical therapy news and information, at www.apta.org/consumer, or contact Carolyn Bloom, PT or Jeremy Zimney, PT at Bloom & Associates Therapy in their Eudora or Lawrence offices.
(Carolyn Bloom is a licensed physical therapist practicing in Eudora and Lawrence.)