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Do I Need a Referral from my Doctor for Physical Therapy?

In the state of Connecticut, “Direct Access” allows you to seek treatment from a physical therapist without a referral from your doctor. Physical therapists are well qualified through formal education and clinical training to evaluate a patient's condition, assess their physical therapy needs, and safely and effectively treat. If after the initial evaluation our physical therapists recognize signs and symptoms that should be treated by a medical doctor, they will advise you to do so. Additionally, if you are not making significant improvement with physical therapy, the physical therapist may advise you to see a physician for further examination.

Benefits of Direct Access There are many reasons why it is beneficial for patients to have Direct Access to physical therapy:

  • More Control: If an individual has an injury, is experiencing pain, or has a musculoskeletal complaint, he or she should be able to decide how and where to seek care. Direct Access gives patients more control to make their own treatment choices. Physical therapists are recognized as licensed professionals of choice to manage musculoskeletal and movement disorders in patients.

  • Provides an Alternative Pain Management Method: The CDC recommends alternative pain management methods via physical and occupational therapy to reduce the need for opioid use. With Direct Access, a patient can receive benefits quickly, and is less likely to utilize pain medications. By incorporating alternative treatment approaches for pain, physical therapists help reduce the burden of opioid addiction.

  • Cost Effective: Since a patient can receive some relief from pain almost immediately, it is proven to be more cost-effective than physical therapy treatment after a physician’s referral. Physical therapy often reduces the need for medications, injections, or imaging. Direct Access studies support fewer physical therapy visits and quicker recovery. This benefits patients, insurance companies, and therapists.

  • Coordinated Care: When a patient is seeing a medical doctor for a particular condition, physical therapy along with medical treatments will help with the recovery process. When a patient contacts a physical therapist, he or she can work directly with other healthcare providers to provide the most effective treatment for the patient.

Note: Some insurance companies, such as Medicare, may require a doctor referral in order to begin physical therapy. Please check with your provider to confirm.

Please call Dynamic Edge Physiotherapy to schedule your appointments.

We are happy to answer any questions you may have about Direct Access. 203-978-3343


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