Medical care in the United States is expensive, so we’re always looking for ways to cut out unnecessary expenses and avoid a major medical bill. One way that the team at OrthoRehab Specialists can help do that is by working to cut out the middle man, which saves you both time and money.
Minnesota is one of a number of states that have what’s known as “direct access” to physical therapy, meaning you don’t need a referral from a physician in order to seek out PT services. While physical therapists can’t do everything that a doctor can do, there are absolutely times when it just makes sense to go straight to a PT clinic instead of wasting time and money seeing a primary care physician only to be told you need physical therapy. In today’s blog, we take a closer look at direct access physical therapy in Minnesota and what rules must be met in order to ensure the patient receives the best care when going straight to a physical therapist to treat a condition.
Direct Access Conditions In Minnesota
Because physical therapists can’t prescribe medications or order certain imaging tests in Minnesota, some rules have been put in place to ensure that a patient is appropriate for direct access physical therapy. Each state has different rules governing direct access physical therapy, but in Minnesota, a PT can treat a patient with direct access if:
- Therapy does not continue beyond 90 days without a physician referral.
- The physical therapist believes that care is within their scope. If they believe that care is outside of their scope, they are required to refer the patient to the appropriate healthcare provider.
- A therapist with more than one year of experience supervises any licensed therapists with less than one year of experience.
- Physical therapy is used preventatively to help prevent injury, provide education or conditioning, or to promote fitness.
As long as all of those conditions are met, a physical therapist can treat an individual who comes into their clinic without a referral from a physician.
So when might an individual head straight to a physical therapist’s office instead of to a primary care clinic? The most common direct access cases that we see involve mild to moderate soft tissue injuries, like muscle tears, strains or overuse injuries. However, we also see a large amount of direct access clients who meet a condition specified in the final bullet point. We help to treat a number of athletes who are attempting to prevent injuries, develop new muscle groups, learn more about proper form or educate themselves on how to take their game to the next level.
Athletes aren’t the only ones who seek preventative care through direct access. We also see many older adults with balance issues or with an elevated fall risk who are looking to prevent a potentially devastating injury. We can develop a therapy routine tailored to your abilities to strengthen key areas and promote overall fitness.
So if you are wondering if you can connect with a physical therapist through direct access without a physician referral, or you want to learn more about preventative physical therapy, reach out to the team of therapists and OrthoRehab Specialists today.