Texas residents can now visit a physical therapist without a physician’s referral. House Bill 29, signed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott, took effect on September 1.
With this signing, Texas becomes the 49th state in the US to allow direct access to a PT.

“We have been working to remove barriers that make it difficult for patients to access their physical therapist for a long time. We are thrilled the legislature is helping by making direct access to physical therapists the law,” says David Browder, chief executive officer of Texas Physical Therapy Specialists, in a media release.

“We know that early access to physical therapy is important to decreasing the length and severity of many musculoskeletal injuries.”

In a separate news release, Cassie Lackey, CEO of Fort Worth-based SporTherapy, calls the legislation a win-win.

“We are more than excited to be able to impact our patients lives with fewer barriers,” she says. “It will benefit the patient by allowing quicker access to physical therapist services, which has been proven to substantially lower costs, lower prescription meds use, and improve the outcome and speed of the patient’s recovery, getting them back to their normal daily activities sooner and maybe better than before.”

HB 29 amends provisions of Section 453.301, Occupations Code (PT Practice Act). Guidelines and restrictions for direct access to PT treatment include the following, per both releases:

  • Treatment without a referral for up to ten (10) consecutive business days for a physical therapist with a doctoral degree in physical therapy or who has completed a minimum of thirty (30) continuing competence activities in the area of differential diagnosis.
  • A PT with a doctoral degree in physical therapy who has completed a residency or fellowship can treat for up to fifteen (15) consecutive business days without a referral.
  • To treat without a referral, the PT must have been licensed to practice physical therapy for at least one (1) year and must be covered by professional liability insurance.
  • Before treatment can exceed the authorized number of days, a referral must be obtained from a qualified healthcare practitioner.

[Source(s): Texas Physical Therapy Specialists, SporTherapy, PRWeb]