You are in the gym and you hurt yourself while lifting. No big deal right? It's just a pulled muscle and it will go away in a few days...or so you think. You leave the weights and head to the elliptical to complete your workout. Afterwards you feel tight but otherwise okay. A few days later you realize that the muscle you pulled continues to be stiff and now aches from time to time. All very normal, you tell yourself yet again, "it will go away in a few days." You begin to take Advil and after those "few days" you still feel no improvement. You call your doctor for an appointment and cannot get a scheduled time for another 3 weeks. At this point you think to yourself, "What are my other options?"
In 2006, New York State allowed Direct Access to physical therapists with more than 3 years experience to treat patients without a referral from a MD.
But will your insurance cover physical therapy under Direct Access?
Every plan is different, but the law requires physical therapists treating under Direct Access to inform the patient about the possibility that treatment without a MD referral may not be covered by the patient's health care plan. It is important that you or the administration at the PT clinic check with your insurance provider to determine if visits under Direct Access will be covered.
Treatments under Direct Access must be performed by a New York State licensed PT and can last for up to ten visits or 30 days, whichever comes first. Patients are evaluated and treated just like a patient with a referral. Licensed physical therapists have the education, and training to perform a full evaluation. If anything is medically out of their scope, they have the knowledge to identify the issue and refer the patient to the appropriate medical professional. Direct Access has allowed many patients to have more control of their healthcare by expediting treatment, and potentially saving time and money.
At Base Physical Therapy we see many patients via Direct Access. We also have a very extensive and trusted network of doctors and other healthcare practitioners that we work closely with in order to get our patients the most effective care.