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Physical Therapist

Posted by Pauline on 5/24/04 at 16:18 (151130)

I've had a lot of physical therapy for various reasons and each and every time have had some success with treatment.

Personally I'd like to see the scope of physical therapist changed so that patients could visit them without seeing a physician first.

This may sound strange, but recently when my back went out I of course went to the doctor, got my RX for physical therapy and was up and running in 2 weeks time.

The next time it happened I would have much prefered just to call the physical therapist and had rapid relief as to wait to get into the doctors office get the RX and on to the physical therapist for the same treatment again.

I think these are highly trained individuals who can provide some immediate pain reduction or relief and have the knowledge to know when a patient needs to be seen by a physician so why not allow people to visit a physical therapist without an RX first?

I'd love to hear other views on this topic because I believe physical therapist are required to have a masters degree in their field, yet we as patients are so restricted when it comes to seeing one.

Re: Physical Therapist

Dorothy on 5/24/04 at 16:24 (151131)

Pauline ~ I do not have any data to support this, but I don't think that a PT has to have a Masters, at least not everywhere. I have been to PTs who were great, knowledgable, creative thinkers, smart, compassionate and tough, on top of the latest information and open-minded. And I have been to another kind. I agree with you completely about being able to self-refer to a PT, but then I think we should be able to make an appointment with whomever we choose to. This business of the physician as Glorious Gatekeeper is absurd, patronizing, infantilizing nonsense and does not serve patients/citizens well... but then, that isn't who it is supposed to serve well, is it? I'm with you on the subject, in case I wasn't clear.

Re: Physical Therapist

Pauline on 5/24/04 at 16:45 (151134)

First things first, hope you're seeing some improvement in your hives.

Now to the subject matter. Your use of the word Gatekeeper is interesting and also reminds me of patients who need referrals for every bit of medical care outside of the PCP.

This would drive me nuts and I'm certain it does nasty things to patients that have to endure this treatment.

I remember sitting in an Orthopedic Surgeons Office when a mother came in with a 6 year old child. Now the child had been treated for a broken arm and apparently had this return appt. to finally remove the cast.

One would think that cast removal would be consider part of the total treatment package, but no she was yelled at across the room that she needed a referral to have the cast removed. I was embarrassed for her. She didn't need this type of treatment nor did her child need to be led to believe that her mother had done something wrong.

When it comes to physical therapy I think it's like everything else you have to shop around, but I do think we should have more access to having them treat us without a Dr. RX. They can get you in faster, begin treatment and if needed refer you to a physicians office. Personally I think they know their limitations quite well.

Re: Physical Therapist

Dorothy on 5/24/04 at 17:00 (151137)

Hear! Hear!

Re: Physical Therapist

Ed Davis, DPM on 5/24/04 at 17:27 (151142)

I beleive there are some states that allow that.
One thing to consider is that physical therapists are not always trained to diagnose and, as such, must be at least provided with a diagnosis from a physician. I think that a 'safe' compromise is that a patient should be able to self refer to a PT provided they have a diagnosis in hand.

Re: Physical Therapist

Pam S. on 5/26/04 at 00:33 (151259)

I have had quite alot of physical therapy thru the years on my feet. I also had very good experiences with PT's and I agree they are highly trained professionals. Yes, you get better so much faster if you can get into a PT quickly. If you know one practice well, sometimes they will take you when you have a problem and just call the dr. for an order and you can see the doctor for a follow up later. I have done that.

My current PT is working on her Doctorate. She says new regulations will require that PT's have a doctorate. All I have seen have a masters. It is great to have a knowledgeable PT in your life!!!! They are constanly in classes to keep their license. take care, pam

Re: Physical Therapist

Jane on 5/26/04 at 10:09 (151283)


Check the home office of the physical therapist group you saw and through them see if you can just return for further visits without going back to the PCP. Your initial referral from you PCP dr. sometimes gives you that open door. It may only be a very nominal fee (as $50.00/month) for several visits. Hope this helps.