Physical therapy study cited in legislative push

A University Health System-led study that examined the benefits of walk-in physical therapy found that those who were able to access a therapist without an appointment required fewer medical tests, resulting in lower costs.

Those findings, published in the May issue of the Physical Therapy Journal of Policy, Administration and Leadership, are being cited by the Texas Physical Therapy Association in their push to change state law. Texas is one of only four states that still require a physician’s referral before patients can access physical therapy services, the group says.

A bill by a Laredo lawmaker would remove the physician’s referral requirement.  

“Texans are tired of this unnecessary requirement delaying their treatment and prolonging their pain,” said Michael Connors,president of Texas Physical Therapy Association, in a news release. “We still have a lot of work to do, but I’m hopeful Texas legislators will do what’s right for Texas patients.”

The finding were first presented at a meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association in 2013. That study, which compared 308 walk-in patients to 1,451 patients seen through traditional referral patterns, found that walk-in patients had fewer treatments, fewer tests and more patient satisfaction than those seen through referral days or weeks later. Overall, the medical charges for those patients came to $1,500 less per patient.

Here’s the original story in Health Focus SA.

Here is the TPTA’s news release.

Photo by Mark Greenberg Photography