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Patient-Self Referral To Physical Therapy Improves Public Health

Evidence based practice

Just a couple weeks ago, leading physical therapy experts from around the world met to discuss the latest clinical research public direct access. Direct access to physical therapy means that consumers could go directly to a physical therapist without the need for a physician referral.

American Physical Therapy Association President R. Scott Ward, PT, stated, "This weekend we heard evidence from around the world that clearly demonstrates that direct patient access to physical therapists is appropriate for all Americans. The findings of this conference confirm that the legislation allowing patients to access physical therapists without a referral -- legislation that currently exists in 44 states -- is worth pursuing in all states and at the federal level."

Leaders from 18 countries endorsed the research which concludes that accessing a physical therapist first is safe, effective, and has the potential to save Americans millions and perhaps even billions in health care expenditures.

World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT), President Marilyn Moffat, PT, also pointed out, "Physical therapists are able to act as first contact practitioners, and patients may seek direct services without referral from another health care professional. The results of this wide body of research are clear: patients benefit from self-referral and direct access. We encourage legislators and health administrators around the world to consider these findings."

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