I recently participated with the Virginia Physical Therapy Association’s annual conference last weekend.  I always get the “in” when I go to one of the state’s conferences and learn some interesting facts.  The one that caught my eye the most was the lack of involvement of physical therapists in Direct Access.

I do not know the numbers for the entire country but there are only 5% of all physical therapists in the state of Virginia using Direct Access.  Don’t get me wrong, I know not everyone is in an environment where this is possible but I do know more than ~200 of the ~7000 therapists in the state work in a private practice or outpatient physical therapy clinic.

I personally use it quite often and mention it to all my patients at discharge to help spread the word.  I do not do this to take away individuals from seeing their primary care physicians or promote that everyone needs to see us but instead to let the public be aware of the opportunity.  There is not telling how many people are in pain out there who can benefit from our services.  It is also time and cost saving as found here and here.

This is still a fairly new concept to physical therapists and the profession so it can be hesitant to jump on the bandwagon.  There was a huge amount of lobbying through legislation required to obtain the law and its disappointing that it hasn’t seen a larger input from therapists.  If you live in Virginia, you can check out all the details here.  For others, you can access through your state site or through APTA.

If you do not participate with Direct Access, what are some of the reasons that you feel keep you away from it?  Is it fear of missing a critical red flag?  Is it apprehension of not being reimbursed?  Or, is it just lack of knowledge concerning the law?

If you do participate with Direct Access, do you find it to be successful? Have you had any problems with reimbursement?  What do your patients think of the service?



  1. I think that is an interesting statistic and hard to believe only 5% of therapist actively participate in direct access. Now more than ever will direct access become extremely useful for patients once the new health care reform takes place. Patients are going to want to take full advantage of “skipping out” of a co-pay, while still getting a musculoskeletal experts opinion. It is a cheaper option, and in today’s society- who isn’t looking for that? We, and physical therapists, should be excited and ready to make this jump forward as a profession. I know I am…

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