Indiana House Bill 1034, which became law on July 1, 2013, was the first law that provided Indiana patients direct access to physical therapy. On May 1, 2019, Governor Holcomb signed SB 586 into law. This law superseded Bill 1034 and improved the direct access provisions. It went into effect on July 1, 2019. Under SB 586, you can now be evaluated and treated by a physical therapist for up to 42 calendar days without a referral from your provider (physician, podiatrist, psychologist, chiropractor, dentist, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant). After the 42-day period, the PT must obtain a referral from your authorized provider to continue your treatment.
Direct access removes the previous barrier that required anyone needing physical therapy to get a referral or doctor’s order before being evaluated and treated by a physical therapist. Now, you can go directly to a physical therapist to get the care you need without the long wait times and unnecessary out-of-pocket expenses at a doctor’s office just to get a referral for physical therapy. According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), an analysis of Blue Cross-Blue Shield claims showed that total paid claims for physician referral visits to physical therapy was 123% higher than the paid claims for direct access. Additionally, physician referrals were 65% longer, resulting in 60% more office visits than direct access visits with a physical therapist.
There are a number of other benefits that come from Direct Access including:
- Much quicker access to the treatment you need and deserve.
- Cost savings – while each patient case is different, clinical research shows that Direct Access typically saves you money.
- Thorough evaluation – physical therapy visits last 60 minutes so your condition is thoroughly evaluated.
- Fewer overall treatment sessions – in many cases, seeing a physical therapist first, will result in fewer overall treatment sessions.
There are some limits with Direct Access to Physical Therapy with this new legislation.
We can see patients up to 42 days without a referral, although we will work with your doctor beyond the 42nd visit if needed.
We value the relationship we have with our patients, and their physicians. We will continue to foster this relationship by notifying a patient’s physician of our evaluation findings and providing updates on the care plan as needed.
We continue to strive to provide you and your family the best healthcare possible.
Please call if you have questions, need care or know someone we can help.