; charset=UTF-8" /> Can you see a physical therapist in Kansas - SSOR

Can you see a physical therapist in Kansas without a physician referral? YES!

Patient Self-Referral/Direct Access

Why This Law is Great News for the Consumer

As of July 1, 2013, a new law was passed in Kansas given the citizens of Kansas the ability to see a physical therapist without a physician referral.  Prior to this, you needed to get authorization from a doctor first.  So, if you are playing basketball over the weekend and sprained your ankle or maybe you have some neck achiness at the end of the work day, you needed to see a doctor first who would then write you a script for physical therapy.  Now, you don’t have to do that.
This new law most importantly improves your access to healthcare and gives you more choices on who you can see.  Imagine if you had to go to the doctor first before you could say, see the dentist or eye doctor.  What if you’re hurting and the doctor can’t get you in for 2 weeks to see him/her and you want some relief of your pain?  With this new law, the consumer is able to choose who they want to see.
Another reason why this law is beneficial to the consumer is that it will likely reduce costs.  Seeing a physical therapist first may save you from unnecessary co-pays at a physician’s office.  Further, MRI’s, surgeries, and medications are expensive.  Many times and for many reasons, people get diagnostic tests or medications that they may not need and in some cases get surgeries that may not help them.  A recent report showed that patients are having more medications and more back surgeries, but the outcomes are worse.  The only consistent benefit for chronic low back pain is physical therapy.  Other recent studies have shown that surgery is no better for than physical therapy for meniscus tears and cervical radiculopathy.  Physical therapy is the more conservative approach.  Additionally, a recent article found that physicians who own MRI machines order these services more often.  This is not to say that surgery can’t help you or shouldn’t be the first choice for you or that all physicians are “crooked” – it just means that in many cases, physical therapy is the less invasive and less costly intervention.  The consumer should have the choice about who they want to see.
Third, the new law enables the consumer to see the musculoskeletal experts – physical therapists – without barriers to treatment. Most physical therapists spend anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour evaluating you and educating you about your condition, as well as providing exercises for you.  Physical therapists are graduating with Doctor of Physical Therapy degrees and have approximately 8 years of schooling to do so.  As a result, people leave physical therapy offices with a better understanding of their condition and a solid plan for improvement and reducing pain.
For the skeptics out there, there are built in protections for the consumer.  This new law requires that the physical therapist send the patient back to their physician if there isn’t documented improvement in 10 visits or 15 business days, whichever comes first.  Secondly, there are many states that have had similar versions of this law in place for several years.  If these laws were harming the consumer, laws would be repealed and malpractice insurance would be higher.  Overwhelmingly, this is not the case in the states that have had these laws for years.  Physical therapists are competent medical practitioners who can help people reduce pain and improve function.  Furthermore, physical therapists are trained to recognize when a patient presents with a condition that is not musculoskeletal in nature.  Our job is not to diagnose the condition but to send the patient on to the appropriate provider.
Health care is a collaborative effort between the patient, the physician, and the patient’s physical therapist – this law will not change that at all.  It will simply provide an opportunity for patients to get care from the provider of their choice.  Give the physical therapists at SSOR a call to help you with your needs so we can help you reduce pain and improve function at (913) 904-1128.