Do you need a referral for physical therapy in Missouri?

Do You Need a Referral for Physical Therapy

Do you want to make a physical therapy appointment, but you don’t have a referral from a physician? Depending on what state you live in, you can. Direct access laws allow you to begin physical therapy sessions without waiting for a health care provider’s approval. As a result, you can save both time and money before starting physical therapy treatment.

Forms of direct access exist in all 50 states, but the laws differ depending on the state you live in. Three different types of direct access laws exist across the country. They each indicate the restriction level when accessing physical therapy. Those laws are categorized as:

  • Direct access.
  • Provisional direct access.
  • Limited direct access.

Do you need a referral for physical therapy in Missouri?

Missouri is one of three states with limited direct access. This means that only certain patients, and only under specific circumstances, can go to physical therapy without a referral. In Missouri, physical therapists can:

  1. Provide educational resources to people who don’t have symptoms or a physician referral.
    This means that physical therapy clinics can offer wellness programs, screening services and consultations to people who do not have a referral from their health care provider.
  2. Treat patients without a referral if they have a recurring self-limited injury.
    A self-limited injury refers to a condition that can resolve on its own over time, such as a torn muscle or fractured bone. This injury must have happened within one year of the patient’s initial physical therapy treatment. Their diagnosis must have also been made by an approved health care provider. In addition, the physical therapist must contact the patient’s physician to verify information within seven days of intake.

So, do you need a referral for physical therapy in Missouri? The short answer is yes — the only time you don’t is when you and your physical therapist are in the above situations. These are the only instances in which a patient can receive physical therapy treatment without a referral in Missouri.

As of February 2022, however, the Missouri House has passed a bill that changes Missouri’s limited direct access status to direct access. This would mean that patients could seek out physical therapy without a prescription and without limitations like the ones above. This bill is still being considered by Missouri’s Senate.

Excel SPT can help you know if you need a referral for physical therapy

If you live in Missouri and are concerned about accessing physical therapy, we can help. Contact our team today and let our team at Excel Sports & Physical Therapy know what services you’re looking for and whether you have to acquire a referral. Ask us for information or to schedule an initial appointment.