Direct Access


What is Direct Access?

Direct access is just that, a patient can see a physical therapist without a referral, depending on insurance. This means, patients can come to PT without first having to go to their physician.

Is a Physical Therapist qualified to evaluate my problems?

Absolutely! Physical therapists are educated at the post-baccalaureate level and receive extensive education and clinical training in the examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis, and intervention of patient/clients with functional limitations, impairments and disabilities. All accredited entry-level physical therapist education programs currently train for a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree.Physical therapists are trained to understand and determine specific diagnoses that we can treat. And further, recognize when there are inconsistent signs and symptoms that may be outside of the scope of practice that would require a referral to another health care provider.

A physical therapist in Kansas can treat direct access patients when:

  • The patient is progressing toward reaching his or her goals in a measurable way. If he or she is not progressing within 10 visits or 15 business days from the initial evaluation, the PT must get a referral from an appropriately licensed healthcare provider.
  • The therapist has given the patient notice that the therapy diagnosis is not a physician’s medical diagnosis.
  • A licensed healthcare provider has approved wound debridement.
  • A patient is not being treated in a hospital or ambulatory surgery center. If the patient is being treated in a hospital or ambulatory surgery center, the facility might require an order or referral.
  • Treatment is for employees to educate them on how to avoid workplace injury, or the public is being treated in a wellness setting to prevent injury, provide conditioning, promote fitness, or reduce stress.
  • A patient has an IEP (individualized education plan) or IFSP (individualized family service plan) and therapy can help fulfill the needs outlined by the IEP or IFSP.


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