Texas Legislature Update: Easier Access to Physical Therapy?

Did you know that Texas is one of only 4 states in the entire United States that requires a referral for physical therapy treatment? Doesn’t it seem odd that you – as a health care consumer – can choose to see a wide variety of other medical specialists without special permission, but NOT be independently able to decide to see your physical therapist?

A bill has been introduced to the Texas Legislature this session that could make access to physical therapy easier – HB 1263. This bill would allow Texans the option to seek care from a physical therapist directly if they so desire – both for initial evaluation and for ongoing treatment. More information is at www.MyChoicePT.com

It has been demonstrated that seeking treatment promptly for pain or injury results in decreased costs to individuals and to the community – both in time and in dollars. An initial PT visit can typically be scheduled in 24-48 hours, and sometimes even on the same-day as a call to the clinic. Contrast this with a typical wait time to see a primary care physician, which is often 2-4 weeks. Physical therapy treatment costs far less than other medical treatments that sometimes become necessary if pain and limited mobility turn into long-term problems. And if physical therapy can limit the amount of patients’ missed work or decreased activity, then the other costs such as use of sick time or lost productivity are also reduced.

Physical therapists are trained to treat patients without a referral. A physical therapist in Texas has a graduate degree and has received more extensive training than many other health care providers that currently provide primary care. Part of a physical therapy evaluation is to make sure that a patient’s complaint is a problem that physical therapy can help. It is a physical therapist’s obligation to send patients to other health care professionals if they are found to have conditions that physical therapy cannot treat.

The Texas Physical Therapy Association has launched a website where Texans can learn more about HB 1263 and also demonstrate their support for the bill – www.MyChoicePT.com Please consider adding your name to the MyChoicePT.com petition, or even using the site to send a letter of support to your elected official.

Symmetry Physical Therapy is actively supporting this initiative and will be following the progress of HB 1263 during the ongoing Legislative Session. We will post updates as further news is released regarding the bill. Thanks for helping us to send a message to Texas lawmakers about the importance of patient choice in accessing physical therapy!