When you go for Physical therapy first, Not Having to Wait for a Referral Reduces Costs and Pain
Previously, people in Colorado who suffered from back pain could be required by their insurance to get a referral from their primary care provider before being able to get physical therapy. The delay this caused if getting the necessary therapy resulted in higher costs and increased pain.
When you have to see your primary physician first, your insurance has to pay for that visit and you may have a copay. Once the referral is obtained, the physical therapist is also paid. Direct Access law in Colorado now allows you to go for therapy without the need to get a referral. This saves on costs for both you and your insurance.
Some problems can cause back pain to recur periodically. When this is the case, the need to get a referral proves to be costly in money and time. If you have had an accident or have a condition that causes periodic back pain that responds well to physical therapy, you might previously needed to get a re-evaluation and referral each time you had an episode of back pain, especially if the episodes are more than a year apart.
Not only does direct access to physical therapy save money by eliminating an unnecessary visit to your physician each time you need PT, it also saves time in getting the treatment you need. These days, getting an appointment to see your physician can mean a wait of several days to more than a week if it isn’t an emergency. This delay can mean the difference between getting relief from the pain quickly and the problem causing the pain to become more than physical therapy alone being effective.
Stenosis is one such condition that benefits from physical therapy. In fact, according to Dr. Howard LeWine’s post in Harvard Health Publicans, physical therapy works as well as invasive surgical procedures and involves less risk in treating the lower back pain the condition causes. When you have already been diagnosed with this condition, being able to begin physical therapy without getting a referral lets you get the relief you need more quickly.
Now that Colorado has joined most of the rest of the country in allowing access to physical therapy without a referral, more people will be able to reduce their back pain significantly in less time with lower costs for themselves and for their insurance companies.