Effective January 1, 2014, patients can have access to any physical therapist and their services in California without having to have a medical diagnosis and they can have immediate treatment for up to 45 days or 12 visits, whichever comes first.
This news is very exciting both for the physical therapy profession in California and for the consumer, patients! The old law only allowed for a Physical Therapy evaluation (or initial consultation), fitness and wellness services, and treatment for a condition if there was a medical diagnosis attached to it. Even though this is exciting news, insurance companies still require an MD/doctor’s prescription for physical therapy that has a diagnosis on it in order for treatment to be billed and paid by insurance; I have hope that one day this too shall vanish. READ the article below for more detail from the American Physical Therapy Association about our Direct Access to Patients.
Friday, October 11, 2013 http://www.apta.org/PTinMotion/NewsNow/2013/10/11/CA/
Signing of AB 1000 Concludes Busy Legislative Year for California Chapter
California residents will have improved access to physical therapist services due to a bill that was signed into law by Gov Jerry Brown on October 7. The signing of the bill, known as Assembly Bill 1000, marks the end of a challenging legislative journey for physical therapists in the state in 2013.
Under the previous law, patients could only be seen for an evaluation, fitness and wellness services, and treatment for a condition that had been the subject of a medical diagnosis. AB 1000, which goes into effect on January 1, 2014, expands patient access to physical therapist services for immediate treatment for up to 45 days or 12 visits, whichever comes first.
“With the ability to evaluate and provide interventions to the direct access patient immediately, physical therapists in California can quickly address the needs of their patients,” stated APTA President Paul A. Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS.
While the end result of AB 1000 helps California physical therapists achieve the longstanding goal of direct access, the final version also includes language that allows physical therapists to be employed by medical professional corporations. This aspect of the bill was not without controversy, and created debate among some California chapter members, given that the legislation combined two significant and unrelated public policy issues. The provision of the law allowing medical professional corporations to employ physical therapists stipulates that a physician, surgeon, podiatrist, or other referring practitioner must inform patients that they may seek physical therapy treatment services by a practitioner of their own choice, and that the practitioner does not have to be employed by the medical corporation. The legislation also authorizes the organization of physical therapy professional corporations with majority ownership by physical therapists that, as well, may employ other health professionals.
1. What does this mean for patients? PATIENTS DON’T HAVE TO WAIT, AND CAN ACCESS OUR SERVICES IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING A NEW INJURY. NO PHYSICIAN DIAGNOSIS OR REFERRAL IS REQUIRED!
2. How can we prepare for consumer direct access January 1st, 2014? SPEAK TO YOUR INSURANCE CARRIERS TO ENSURE THAT PATIENTS RECEIVE THE FULL BENEFIT OF THIS DIRECT ACCESS. WE AT GOODMAN PHYSICAL THERAPY WILL CONTINUE TO PROVIDE QUALITY CARE AND INSERVICE AND EDUCATE OUR STAFF TO KEEP UP WITH THIS AUTONOMY AND WELCOMED NEW LAW.
3. Will we change our billing practices with consumer direct access? NO. GOODMAN PHYSICAL THERAPY WILL STILL HAVE TO FOLLOW INSURANCE BILLING GUIDELINES.
Education is power, so let’s educate Californians!
Deena Goodman, PT, WCS, BCB-PMD and your Goodman Physical Therapy team