On August 16, Governor Bruce Rauner signed a bill into law that allows physical therapists to evaluate and treat patients independently without them having to obtain a referral from a doctor.
This is good news for our patients—and the people of Illinois. Under this new law, you’ll be able to see your physical therapist sooner, and you’ll also likely save money. Recent studies have shown that in states with direct access to physical therapy, patients have fewer visits and less overall costs.
“Physical therapy has been proven effective in treating joint pain and mobility issues,” Rauner said. “Seeing a physical therapist promptly and starting a rehabilitative course of treatment quickly can reduce or eliminate the need for potentially addictive pain medications and can reduce overall healthcare costs.”
Direct access also means you can incorporate physical therapy into your fitness and wellness routines—there’ll be no restrictions placed on physical therapists performing fitness services.
At ATP, we’ll continue our current practice of communicating with your healthcare team about your progress in physical therapy, and per the new law, we’ll also refer patients to a healthcare professional if we don’t see measurable or functional improvements after 10 visits or 15 business days, whichever comes first.
For those of you using health insurance to help pay for physical therapy, we recommend that you call your insurance company to see if they require referral before you begin treatment as your individual policy may vary.