Direct Access for Physical Therapy in Virginia - How Does It Work?
Thanks to Direct Access legislation, physical therapy patients can now get evaluations and treatments directly from a licensed physical therapist (PT) without first obtaining a doctor's prescription or referral. It essentially 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 Virginia, the benefits, and how to easily obtain PT care in the state.
Virginia's Direct Access Laws for Physical Therapy
Virginia allows direct patient access to a physical therapist with some provisions. A physical therapist can treat direct access patients when:
Treatment does not extend beyond 60 consecutive business days from the date of initial evaluation and:
The patient attests they are not currently being seen by a physician, chiropractor, or other providers for the same problem that PT is addressing.
The patient must provide written consent allowing the therapist to release all records and protected health information (PHI) to the aforementioned healthcare provider.
The physical therapist must give the aforementioned healthcare provider a copy of their initial evaluation and the patient's history within 14 days of initial treatment.
The PT must contact the aforementioned healthcare provider at the end of 60 days to authorize additional therapy services until the patient can be seen by their provider.
After discharging a patient, a physical therapist shall not perform an initial evaluation of a patient without a referral if the physical therapist has performed an initial evaluation of the patient for the same condition within the immediately preceding 60 days.
Note: PTs can provide physical therapy services via direct access with no restrictions under the following circumstances:
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 Virginia
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.