Direct Access for Physical Therapy in Connecticut - How Does It Work?
Thanks to Direct Access legislation, physical therapy patients can get evaluations and treatments directly from a licensed physical therapist (PT) without obtaining a doctor's prescription or referral. It means anyone can visit a physical therapist whenever they want. Having Direct Access to physical therapy offers significant benefits for those who need care, as it saves time and money (since there's no need to see a primary care physician first). In addition, it often results in faster and better recoveries. However, the level of access varies by state and each individual's health insurance coverage. While all states offer some form of direct access to physical therapy, this article reviews the laws for Connecticut, the benefits, and how to easily obtain PT care in the state.
Connecticut's Direct Access Laws for Physical Therapy
Connecticut allows patients direct access to physical therapy under the following provisions:
The PT must have a bachelor's degree and have practiced physical therapy for at least four out of the most recent six years OR have a master's degree or higher.
The PT requires any patient receiving treatment to provide the identity of their primary care provider or healthcare provider of record upon the initial visit for treatment.
If, upon examination or reexamination, the PT determines that the patient's condition for which they sought physical therapy has not improved within 30 consecutive days or at the end of six visits (whichever comes first), the PT must refer the patient to a licensed healthcare provider.
Grade V spinal manipulation and such treatment shall only be performed by a PT who:
Has (1) earned a bachelor's degree before January 1, 1998, and practiced physical therapy for at least four out of the most recent six years, or (2) earned a master's degree or higher in physical therapy from an accredited institution of higher education; and
Holds a specialist certification in orthopedic physical therapy from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) or who has completed at least 40 hours of coursework in manual therapy—including Grade V spinal manipulation—and can provide proof of education.
Regarding work-related injuries, the OLR Bill Analysis, sSB 164 states, "A physical therapist does not violate the requirement for a referral to treat work-related injuries if he [or she] asks the patient about the source and nature of his [or her] condition and the patient does not disclose that it 'arose out of and in the course of the patient's employment.' This term encompasses an accidental injury or occupational disease that started while the patient was working at the employer's work site or elsewhere at the employer's direction. For a police officer, firefighter, and certain Department of Correction employees, it includes travel to and from home and work."
Benefits of Direct Access Physical Therapy
There are several reasons why it's beneficial for patients to have direct access to a PT. One is that they get more control over their care. Physical therapy is the obvious choice for conditions like lower back pain, knee pain, tennis elbow, sciatica, and other PT conditions. Direct access gives patients an option and lets them personally decide on their course of treatment. It's also less costly for patients since they can avoid paying for a doctor's visit (and pricey diagnostic tests) to get a referral. Moreover, patients don't have to wait to get the help they need. They can schedule a visit with a licensed physical therapist immediately, often reducing healing time. But even with direct access to physical therapy, it's understandable that many patients wish to have their physicians included in their course of care. At Luna, our physical therapists are happy to be a part of their patient's medical team and regularly communicate with their client's physicians to keep them aware of progress.
How to Obtain Physical Therapy in Connecticut
Like many busy Americans, you'd likely prefer the convenience and privacy of in-home physical therapy. Luna is the top-ranking in-home physical therapy service. It provides state-of-the-art, immediate care to patients in need. In addition, Luna's easy-to-use platform makes the process effortless. Schedule an appointment, get matched with a top-notch licensed physical therapist, and receive high-quality care in your home, gym, or office at a time that works best for you.
Today, thanks to direct access, you have two ways to receive PT care: through physician referral or by contacting a physical therapist directly. No matter which method you choose, try Luna's in-home physical therapy. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain -- and you and your physician will love the excellent care you receive.