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Accessing Physical Therapy with Direct Access

You may choose your own physical therapist - it’s Virginia Law!


What is Direct Access, and why is it so important?

Direct Access refers to a provision under Virginia state law* that allows patients direct access to a physical therapist without a referral from a physician or other health care practitioner.

Additionally, under the law, patients can be evaluated and provided up to 60 days of medically necessary treatment without a referral from a doctor.

*As of April 15th, 2015, the code of Virginia 54.1-3482 and 54.1-3482 (referred to as Direct Access) became law.

NOTE: as of July 1, 2023, laws will change under the provisions of SB 1005 and HB 2359.


Direct Access means that I can go straight to a physical therapist without having to go to my primary care physician or other health provider first?

Yes, exactly. Patients may choose their own physical therapist in Virginia and most states, and may be evaluated by a physical therapist without a physician’s referral. Direct Access allows you to start care sooner and get better faster, saving you time and money.


Will my health insurance pay for physical therapy I participate in via Direct Access?

Most insurance carriers allow and reimburse payments for Direct Access. However, your insurance company may still require a visit or referral from your primary care physician, or may limit your access to preferred providers only. Contact PT@acac to find out what your insurance company requires.

If you carry federal medical benefits (i.e. Medicare, Tricare, or Dept of Veteran’s Affairs) you will not be eligible to participate in Direct Access.

To find out what your insurance policy or health benefits allow re: Direct Access, please contact us:  Contact PT@acac

Our team can verify your individual insurance plan benefits to determine if you are eligible for treatment without a referral.


What happens when my Direct Access benefits run out, and I still want or need to continue with physical therapy?

Please contact PT@acac to learn more about your options for continuing Physical Therapy after the 60-day Direct Access period ends. We’ll investigate your specific situation, and do the best we can to help you make informed decisions about pursuing care with us.


For more information about this law:   https://law.lis.virginia.gov/vacode/54.1-3482/

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