According to a report by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), a new law in Ore. has eliminated the 60-day time restriction tied to physical therapy treatment provided without a physician referral. Signed into law by Governor John Kitzhaber on May 9, the legislation now grants unrestricted patient access to physical therapy services.
Paul A. Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS, president of APTA, declares that this is a significant achievement for the state of Ore. and that the "law removes an arbitrary time limit that was an unwarranted and unnecessary barrier to the continuum of treatment by a physical therapist." The original patient direct access law was introduced in 1993 and imposed a 30-day time limit for treatment without a physician referral.
The time limit was later extended to 60 days in 2007. However, with the passage of HB2684, the restrictions are completely removed that prevented patients from receiving unrestricted treatment from a physical therapist. The legislation will take effect on January 1, 2014.
Chris Murphy, PT, president of the Oregon Physical Therapy Association (OPTA), states "Removal of the unnecessary restriction on access to a physical therapist is a welcome improvement for our patients and aligns perfectly with the goals of health care reform to foster improved collaborative care with each professional working at the top of his or her scope of practice."