Bill would allow patients to seek physical therapy without - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Bill would allow patients to seek physical therapy without referral

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BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

Currently in the state of Louisiana, if you need physical therapy you have to first see a doctor, surgeon, dentist, podiatrist or a chiropractor for a referral.

"We can perform and evaluation and we can determine if physical therapy services are needed," explained physical therapist Cristina Faucheux. "But, we could not provide physical therapy treatment."

According to physical therapist Faucheux, Louisiana has given patients this restricted access to physical therapy for about a decade. 

House Bill 569, that is awaiting review from the Committee on Health and Welfare, would basically cut out the middle man for anyone seeking physical therapy.

"Forty-eight states have some form of patient access of physical therapy services and in Louisiana, since 2003, we've operated under a limited direct access model," she said "What we're seeing is a number of restrictions with that and a number of patient frustration levels. This legislation would just move patients more in line to allow patients to see Physical Therapist without a physicians order."

Faucheux says allowing more direct access could speed up healing time for patients and cut down costs.

"What we're seeing is a delay in patient care and patient frustration. Studies have shown that when patients are able to access services earlier, there is a cost savings involved. Also the episodes of their treatment care are less and the numbers of treatments required are less," said Faucheux.

The bill would not allow physical therapists to practice medicine, and Faucheux says it is routine to do a thorough exam for any indicators that a patient may need a further care from a physician

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