Indiana Governor Mike Pence signed HB1034, which is a new law that grants Indiana residents direct access to evaluation and treatment by a physical therapist without a referral from a physician. The new law takes effect on July 1, 2013. According to a news release from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), the passage of this new law signifies a landmark moment for the PT profession as all 50 states and the District of Columbia now allow patients to be evaluated by a physical therapist without a referral.
The bill permits patients to be evaluated and treated by a physical therapist for 24 calendar days without a referral from a physician or another health care provider. Referrals, however, will continue to be required for sharp debridement and spinal manipulation. After the 24-day period, the PT must obtain a referral from another authorized provider to continue patient treatment. Before the passage of the new law, a referral was required for all physical therapist services.
The bill, which was promoted by the Indiana Chapter of APTA (INAPTA) and ensures a patient's choice with regard to which health care professional to see, has been a long-time goal of APTA, the APTA news release says. APTA President Paul A. Rockar, Jr, PT, DPT, MS, says the group is thrilled that Indiana has become "the latest state to offer patients the choice of direct access to physical therapist services. Ensuring patient access is a cornerstone of APTA's vision and mission."
INAPTA President Shane Sommers, PT, MS, OCS, CSCS, states that the passage of the law is a great victory for physical therapy and patients in the state, and it gives us "great momentum and helps us to advance patient care."