Thanks to Direct Access legislation, patients needing physical therapy can get evaluations and treatments directly from a licensed physical therapist (PT) without 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 Washington, the benefits, and how to easily obtain PT care in the state.
Washington's Direct Access Laws for Physical Therapy
With some provisions, Washington is one of 26 states that allow direct patient access to PT. Washington provisions include:
- A PT may only provide treatment using orthotics crucial to treating conditions of the foot or ankle by referral or consultation from an authorized healthcare provider.
- The PT must refer the patient to an appropriate physician when their symptoms or condition are beyond the scope of the physical therapist's care.
Note: There is no restriction on any insurance entity, a state agency, or program from limiting the use of physical therapy services. However, payers can implement restrictions on reimbursement for physical therapy services at their own discretion. (Use our online insurance coverage tool to quickly and easily see your benefits.)
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 certain 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 quickly 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 patients still want and need their physicians, especially when coordinated care is required. 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 Washington
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.
In-Home Physical Therapy is Covered by Insurance
The cost to get physical therapy is not as pricey as you may think. Physical therapy can be one of the best investments in your health. Plus, it can help you manage or avoid the high cost of chronic health issues. If you opt for the convenience of in-home physical therapy, it's often covered by insurance, the same as a PT clinic. For example, Luna accepts most insurances, including Medicare, Anthem Blue Cross, Aetna, Cigna, Health Net, Humana, Tricare, and UnitedHealthcare—in fact, all PPOs. And Medicare covers most (if not all) of the cost, and commercial insurance patients typically pay a small co-pay. Use Luna's online insurance coverage tool to see your benefits.
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.