Direct Access to Physical Therapy

In California, you do not need a doctor’s referral to start seeing a physical therapist.

Californians have had Direct Access to physical therapy since 2014. In most situations, you can be evaluated and treated by a licensed physical therapist without first seeing your physician for a referral (except for Medicare- see details below).

Direct Access provides a number of benefits:

  • You receive quicker access to the treatment you need.
  • Research shows seeing a physical therapist first can save you money.
  • Going to physical therapy first, in many cases, will result in fewer overall treatment sessions.

Direct Access in California does have limitations.

  • You can receive physical therapy for 45 days or 12 visits, whichever comes first.
  • If you do not obtain a referral before the Direct Access period ends, you are required to visit your physician’s office to get one, prior to resuming physical therapy.
  • Once you have seen a physical therapist using Direct Access, you must obtain a new referral to return for more treatment in the future.
  • Referrals must be signed by a MD, Physician’s Assistant, or Nurse Practitioner.

Medicare requirements: Those with Medicare must be under the care of a physician licensed in the state they receive care. Physical therapists are required to obtain the signature of the referring physician on our treatment plan, called a Plan of Care. Therefore, if you have Medicare, you must have a current referral prior to your first visit.

Please call our office if you have questions or would like to schedule an appointment. Contact Us.