Think You Need a Prescription to See a Physical Therapist? Think Again!

Do you have an issue you’re putting off treating? An aching back/knee/hip etc. keeping you from doing your favorite activity? Want to begin training for that 5k or triathlon? Think you might be at risk for an injury? Did you know in most states in the US, you can be treated by a physical therapist without a referral from a physician? It’s called Direct Access, and many people don’t even know it exists even through its been around since the early 2000’s! So what is Direct Access and why should you care about it?

Direct access is a law enacted to allow patients to come directly to a physical therapist for evaluation and treatment. The laws differ state to state, but every one has some form of direct access. Click HERE to find your states regulations or call your licensed PT to find out more information. It saves patients time, money, and allows for faster implementation of a unique plan of care for the people we see. That means you can get better faster, and get back to your life sooner!

“But is my PT trained to handle direct referrals?” The answer is YES! We are trained to recognize “red flag” issues which are out of our scope of practice. In the event of these we are required by law to refer out to your physician for further evaluation. In addition, in NJ if we fail to see progress in a patient after 30 days of treatment, we are required by law to ask that you consult your physician.

“But will my insurance still cover it?” In most cases yes, but as with everything insurance related it’s best to find out your particular plans guidelines. Some insurances require a prescription (Medicare for example) for pre-approval for care and these will all be investigated prior to your first visit.

Direct Access has opened up the opportunity for PTs to treat sooner, and work on preventative care to decrease risk of injury. So if you’ve got an issue you’ve been putting off, want help training for your next big event, or just want peace of mind you aren’t at risk for a potentially devastating injury, come see us at Edge Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine and find out what we can do to keep you ahead of the competition!


Dr. Konstantinos Mavropoulos PT, DPT, TPI

Edge Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine