What is Direct Access for Physical Therapy mean?
Direct Access means that you now have the option of choosing Physical therapy services, like those provided by Courcier Clinic, right away without having to see your PCP or other Specialists.
Benefits of Direct Access Physical Therapy
Researchers have compared the patient benefits of direct access physical therapy versus therapy treatment after physicians’ referral. Studies conclude that accessing physical therapy treatment without a physician’s referral is safe, cost-effective, and provides faster delivery of health services. Studies also support physical therapists’ ability to accurately diagnose musculoskeletal problems as well as systemic illness based on a patient’s clinical presentation and past medical history.
#1: Patients are able to receive treatment quickly.
With Direct Access, a patient can receive some type of physical therapy in all 50 states of the US without a physician’s referral. This reduces a lot of waiting time to get an appointment to see a primary care physician. Sometimes, it takes patients weeks (or even months) to obtain a doctor’s visit. In this time period, the patient is likely to begin taking over-the-counter medications for pain or swelling, and may even go to an emergency room to seek immediate relief. There is also more chance of aggravating the condition during the wait period. By the time the patient does get to see the doctor, the physician will likely prescribe physical therapy for pain management. Therefore, with direct access PT, patients spend less time and effort on scheduling a physician’s visit or in the ER.
#2: Direct access PT is cost-effective.
Since a patient can receive some relief from pain almost immediately, direct access PT is proven to be more cost-effective than physical therapy treatment after physicians’ referral. Physical therapy often reduces the need for medications, injections, or imaging. In fact, with direct access PT, studies support fewer number of PT visits and quicker recovery. This benefits patients, insurance companies, and therapists.
#3: Patient satisfaction scores are higher.
Studies reveal direct access PT patients have higher satisfaction rates from their PT services than PT services without direct access. Even though the physical therapy treatments were essentially identical, the ability to receive PT services faster as well as having quicker recovery were the two main reasons for higher patient satisfaction.
#4: Direct access PT uses alternative pain management methods.
The CDC recommends alternative pain management methods via physical therapy to reduce the need for opioid use. With direct access PT, a patient can receive benefits quickly, and is, therefore, less likely to utilize pain medications. By incorporating alternative treatment approaches for pain, physical therapists help reduce the burden of opioid addiction.