On January 1st 2015, every state in the United States will have a law that allows patient direct access to physical therapy, an important milestone for the rehabilitation industry.
On July 1st 2014, Michigan was the last state to pass provisions for direct access for physical therapy services with the signing of Senate Bill 690. The law allows patients to access physical therapy services without a physician referral. Patients can now directly seek advice and treatment from physical therapists for injuries and conditions allowed under the State’s Physical Therapy Practice Act.
Removing the unnecessary delay in therapy caused by this mandatory referral decreases the patient’s healthcare costs and time spent in pain. With direct access to physical therapy, patients can receive care sooner. The law allows a patient to see a PT for up to 21 days or 10 visits without a prescription. Another section of SB 690 allows for uncapped direct access to injury prevention and fitness improvement therapy. This law brings both patients and physical therapists an exciting opportunity: patients win by having more access and choice and PTs can expand their customer base.
How can your clinic take advantage of the new laws? It all starts with patient education, and helping them understand how the law can positively influence their overall health. The next step is reaching the community you serve through messaging. A strong marketing plan to “get the message out” will help organize your efforts to educate about direct access and why your clinic is different. Digital presence can be a cost effective method to jump start your efforts to help your clinic stand out. It is important to have a strong digital presence so patients seeking therapy on their own do not overlook your practice. Check out our 6 Step Strategic Marketing Plan blog to freshen up your marketing skills.