If you are an individual that experiences complications with pain – whether it is in the shoulders, the legs, the back, or any other region of the body – you will be pleased to know that a new law has just been passed in the State of Colorado that allows you – as a patient – to opt for physical therapy without undergoing the hassle of obtaining a referral from a medical doctor, general practitioner, or ARNP.
This is currently referred to as “Direct Access”. Not only does the ability to reach out for assistance from a physical therapist allow you to engage in the most cost-effective treatment for your medical issues, but, physical therapy has been found to result in a faster recovery. In fact – according to a comprehensive study performed by ATI Physical Therapy – 70% of all physical therapy patients that opted for this form of treatment were able to recover without the requirement of expensive imaging tests, costly and potentially harmful prescription medications, and excessive visits to a primary care doctor.
“Direct Access” – At a Glance
“Direct Access” is a specially-designed law that allows patients the unique right and freedom to obtain needed services and therapies from a physical therapist without the need for a referral from a medical doctor. This law stems as a result from the shift in the health care industry from volume-based care to value-based care.
The value-based system is – ultimately – driven by outcomes that are positive, productive, and less-costly for patients. While this law is available in 48 states, Colorado recently joined the movement. Patients that opt to take advantage of this law will not have to experience the delay of services and therapies that are needed to eliminate pain, optimize mobility, and improve range of motion. In the past, patients that required physical therapy would often end up tied up in the health care system by undergoing unnecessary medical tests, costly treatments, and being prescribed medications that would not eliminate the underlying condition, only soothe the symptoms associated with the condition. Additionally, the outcome for the patients often resulted in decreased functionality.
“Direct Access” now makes it possible for a patient to undergo treatment and therapies that are cost-effective and result in a more positive long-term outcome.
Physical Therapists Hold the Key to Unlocking the Door of Recovery for Many
In recent years, many medical providers have argued that attending physical therapy sessions prior to receiving medical care could result in harm and safety issues to the patient; however, studies indicate just the opposite. According to research, professionals in the physical therapy industry have a very low malpractice rate.
In fact, most of these professionals have no claims or serious complaints on their records. Those certified in physical therapy have undergone highly extensive training when it comes to patient examinations, comprehensive evaluations, issuing a diagnosis, determining a prognosis, and the successful intervention of those that face functional-based limitations, restrictions, and disabilities.
If a patient is found to need that which exceeds the scope of care in which a physical therapist is able to provide, they are provided with information and referrals to an appropriate medical provider.
Be sure to return as we continue with Part 2 of our series.