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October 15, 2013 > Patients given direct access to physical therapy

Patients given direct access to physical therapy

Submitted By Jeff BarbosaÊ

California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill by Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) on October 7, 2013 that eliminates a long-standing requirement that patients must first get approval from a physician before seeing a physical therapist for treatment.

By signing WieckowskiÕs bill, Brown made sure California will now join 36 states and the District of Columbia in allowing patients to self-refer to physical therapists.Ê
The current barrier to direct access is caused by a 47-year-old state Attorney General opinion that any person seeking the treatment of a physical therapist must first obtain a diagnosis from a medical doctor.Ê
Under the compromise achieved in WieckowskiÕs bill, if at any time a physical therapist believes a patient has conditions or symptoms outside of their scope of practice, the patient must be referred to the appropriate health care professional.Ê A patient will be allowed to see the physical therapist for 12 visits or 45 days after which time they will go to a physician for examination.

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