Study Reveals Self-Referred Physical Therapy Patients Had Lower Costs and Fewer Visits, Demonstrating Advantages of Direct Access to Physical Therapy
(EUREKA, Mo.,) – As Missouri physical therapists continue to lobby for direct access to physical therapy treatment, the Sports and Physical Therapy Center of Eureka reports that new study findings provide evidence in support of their cause. Researchers found that patients with direct access to physical therapy treatment experienced fewer physical therapy visits and lower costs than those referred by a physician. Specifically, the number of physical therapy visits for self-referred patients was 86% of the total logged by physician-referred patients; while the allowable amounts for the self-referred group versus the physician-referred group were 87 cents for every dollar.*
Under existing Missouri state laws, individuals must obtain a prescription from a physician to initiate physical therapy treatment. The Missouri Physical Therapy Association (MPTA), which represents the interests of physical therapists in Missouri, proposes an amendment to current state statutes that would permit direct access to physical therapy services. The research findings cited by the Sports and Physical Therapy Center validate the MPTA’s position and support the organization’s call for legislative changes.
“This study highlights two significant benefits of giving patients direct access to physical therapy,” said Sean Quinn, owner of the Sports and Physical Therapy Center. “Lower costs and fewer physical therapy visits provide a compelling argument in favor of direct access. In addition, if patients have the option to seek direct physical therapy care, they can get started on a treatment plan sooner and see results faster.”