New Rule means you have DIRECT ACCESS to physical therapy!

By:  Michelle Miller, PT, MPT

July 1st 2015 the new Georgia Practice Act for physical therapists will take effect. The most impactful change for both patients and therapists is the passage of HB505. HB 505 puts the state of Georgia in line with national models of health care, along with 41 other states, in allowing direct access to physical therapy services.
What is direct access?

Direct access is the removal of a physician referral mandated by state law to be evaluated and treated for physical therapy services.

What does this mean for you?

You can now be evaluated and treated by a physical therapist sooner which will lower your overall health care costs and may result in improved function and decreased pain in a more timely fashion.

What are the specifics of direct access in Georgia?

You can see your physical therapist for 8 visits or 21 days before needing to have a physician referral if you have not been seen in the past 90 days by another therapist for the same condition.

Will I still need a referral for Dry needling?

Yes, you will still be required to have a physical referral for dry needling by your physical therapist.

Will my insurance still pay if I don’t have a referral?

Most insurance companies do not have a requirement for a physician referral because they recognize the cost saving for immediate access to care. Check with your insurance company before your visit for specifics of your plan.

Bottom line-
● This allows individuals to make the choice about their care without the barrier of a physician referral and makes physical therapy services more accessible
● It will allow individuals to self-manage chronic conditions over time without needing to see their physician each time they need to return to therapy.
● It will reduce overall healthcare costs by allowing the patient to seek treatment sooner.