Direct access to physical therapists has become state law
BATON ROUGE - Gov. John Bel Edwards has agreed to let patients have direct access to physical therapists without needing a doctor's referral.
The governor's office said Tuesday that Edwards had signed the bill that does away with a current requirement that patients obtain a referral from a licensed doctor to see a physical therapist.
The change, sponsored by Republican Sen. Fred Mills, takes effect immediately.
Supporters say the measure was aimed at improving access for patients.
Opponents, including several medical organizations, say without a doctor's visit, therapists could potentially miss other health problems.
Under the bill, if the patient fails to show "measurable or functional" improvement within 30 calendar days, the therapist has to refer the patient to another health care provider.
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