Direct Access is a state governed law which allows patients to go directly to physical therapy without a physician prescription!
In New York for example, patients can go directly to a physical therapist for an evaluation and a course of therapy without a prescription for up to 10 visits or 30 days (whichever comes first). If you require care beyond 10 visits (or 30 days), your physical therapist can refer you to a physician who can consult with you and send a prescription back to your physical therapy clinic.
There is also an even easier option! During your first 30 days of direct access treatment, your physical therapist can send your evaluation and a plan of care to a doctor who you already have a relationship with. Your doctor can sign that plan of care and send it back to the physical therapy clinic, which then becomes a legal prescription for the continuation of care.
The American Physical Therapy Association has been fighting for Direct Access laws for years, and now all 50 states have some form of “Direct Access” to physical therapy. Check your state’s direct access laws to learn more about your location.