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Direct Access – No Referral Needed?

  • October 2, 2015

Direct Access – No Referral Needed?

150 150 SSI Physical Therapy and Health Club

Do you have a sudden injury that is limiting you from your everyday routine? A nagging pain that just isn’t going away?   You have probably thought of going to the doctor but don’t feel like going through the hassle of scheduling an appointment, waiting to see the doctor only to find out they want you to go see someone else. We have an easier way for you. Schedule an appointment with your SSI physical therapist to jump-start the healing process and get you back to your weekend warrior ways.

Many don’t know that in the state of South Carolina consumers have direct access to physical therapy. This means that you can see a physical therapist for 30 days without a referral from the doctor.

Direct-AccessWhy wouldn’t I go to a doctor, you ask? Direct access can not only jump-start your recovery but also save you time and money. A recent study by Mitchell and Lissovoy proved that direct access physical therapy services can result in decreased total number of PT visits than when compared to a traditional physician referral (7.6 average total PT visits using direct access compared with 12.2 using physician referral). Direct access can also result in decreased overall cost for you. The study found that the total cost of care for direct access patients was 56% less than the traditional total cost of care.

Here are some answers to some of the questions you may have about direct access:

1.  What is the process?
All you have to do is call the front desk, schedule an appointment and tell the front desk you would like to come for direct access. Your first appointment will be just like it would be if you had a physician referral. The therapist will evaluate you and determine if you could benefit from PT services. If we determine that you need to see an MD first, you can go to a doctor of your choice.

2.  Does it cost more if I don’t have a referral?
PT services would cost the same regardless if you have a physician referral or not. We will file your insurance and you will have your normal PT benefits with no extra cost. Most private insurance companies honor direct access, but you can contact your insurance carrier to confirm. Medicare beneficiaries cannot receive Physical Therapy without a physician referral.

3.  What happens if I’m not completely better after 30 days?
You can still receive treatment but you will have to obtain a physician referral to continue. Your therapist can complete a progress report for you to bring to your doctor so they can see the progress you have made with therapy.   After you obtain a physician referral you can pick right back up where you left off without having to pay for an initial evaluation again.

Don’t let a nagging injury hold you back from doing things you like to do! Contact your SSI therapist to start the road to recovery and get back on your feet again. If you have any questions feel free to contact us!

Reference: A Comparison of Resource Use and Cost in Direct Physical Therapy Access Versus Physician Referral Episodes of Physical Therapy Jean M Mitchell and Gregory de Lissovoy 1997; 77:10-18. PHYS THER.