Introducing Direct Access- Allowing Physical Therapy Without an Initial Referral

Did you know?!

In the state of Illinois, it is easier than ever to take control of treating your physical health. It was not long ago that the state of Illinois was one of the few states that continued to require a physician’s referral for physical therapy. That all changed on August 16, 2018 when former Governor, Bruce Rauner signed the Direct Access legislation into law. Direct Access refers to the freedom for prospective patients to attend physical therapy without a referral or initial prescription from their primary physician. By eliminating the need for physician referrals, the wait time for appointments, and the costs associated with multiple doctor visits have lowered.

In fact, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, patients with back and neck pain saved an average of $1,543 in office visits, imaging, and treatments when they chose physical therapy as first treatment compared to those who saw a specialist before attending physical therapy.

What to Expect?

Without an initial referral, a physical therapist can now evaluate your condition or injury and determine a treatment plan as soon as you decide to seek treatment, speeding up the path to relief and healing. Upon scheduling your initial evaluation, you should expect a one on one appointment with one of our licensed physical therapists who will gather valuable subjective and objective information regarding your main concerns. He or she will create a plan of care specialized to meet your individual needs and goals.  

Under Direct Access, your physical therapist will be required to notify a physician of your choice that you are receiving treatment. Although you may have not directly spoken with them (your physician), this ensures that your physician stays informed of your health. If symptoms do not show improvement within an allotted time frame, then a physician’s approval of the plan of care may be required and/or a follow up with them may be requested to continue physical therapy.

Freedom to Choose

Ultimately, Direct Access is an important and promising new change giving the general public the freedom to choose and benefit from physical therapy first. Whether it is your first time receiving physical therapy or you are simply looking to incorporate sessions of physical therapy for your overall wellness, take advantage of the specialized guidance offered.

Not sure if you would benefit from physical therapy first? Then schedule a screen today for a quick 15-20 minute assessment of an injury, condition or concern. The physical therapist will readily answer any questions and recommend whether they believe physical therapy will be a benefit for you.

Why wait any longer? Call one of our locations today to set up your initial evaluation and begin your journey to better!

Orland Park (708)966-4386               Homer Glen (708) 645-7700


Denniger TR, Cook CE, Chapman CG, McHenry T, Thigpen CA. The influence of patient choice of first provider on costs and outcomes: analysis from a physical therapy registry. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2018; 48(2): 63-71.