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Legislation Aims to Increase Access to Physical Therapist Services By Eliminating Physician Referral Requirement
Date:4/1/2009

d, "Eliminating barriers to patient choice has been an ongoing effort of mine both in the Pennsylvania State Senate and now in Congress. The Medicare Patient Access to Physical Therapists Act eliminates the burden of unnecessary visits to physicians for patients to access physical therapy care. Delaying this care not only results in higher costs but unnecessary pain and frustration from patients. Right now, the United States Department of Defense allows licensed physical therapists to act as primary care providers for military personnel and their dependents without an initial physician referral. We should extend this option to Medicare patients, and this bill does just that."

"Health care delivery must be a collaborative and cooperative effort," said Representative Baldwin. "This legislation acknowledges the important roles of physical therapists in patient care and of individual states in influencing health care policy. As we strive to improve the quality of care, increase accessibility, and lower costs, allowing states to give Medicare patients direct access to physical therapists is one piece of the solution. I'm proud to co-sponsor HR 1829 and will work hard to see it included in our health care reform package this year."

A Senate companion bill is expected to be introduced in the next several weeks.

Physical therapists are highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility - in many cases without expensive surgery or the side effects of prescription medications. APTA represents more than 70,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy nationwide. Its purpose is to improve the health and quality of life of individuals through the advancement of physical therapist practice. In most states, patients can make an appointment directly with a physical therapist, without a physician referral. Learn more abo
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SOURCE American Physical Therapy Association
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