Direct Access is your Friend with Caveats

How Direct Access helps people recover from injury faster

In 2013 Governor Brown signed a law giving Californians the ability to access physical therapy without a referral from their physician. The law was designed to help people find relief from pain or injury without having to jump through hoops to begin healing. Direct Access aims at streamlining the recovery process, but like many things in Healthcare there are some gray areas.

  1. 12 Visits*

Yes, you get twelve visits, but the caveat is only if you do them within 45 days. Direct Access gives you exactly that – Direct Access to a physical therapist. The caveat was designed so that your physician is still involved at some point. If you need treatment beyond the 12 visits (or after 45 days), you must see your physician so they are involved in your plan of care.

We like to view this requirement as a holistic care approach.

  1. You don’t need a referral*

Well, in most cases you won’t need a referral, and if your insurance company is compliant with California State laws, then you shouldn’t need a referral for Direct Access. But, if your insurance company is out of state or has any gray areas in the bylaws then you may be required to get a referral from your physician.

Think of this one as you probably won’t need a referral.

  1. Continuing Care*

So, you walked into Performance Physical Therapy and met the team. You made coffee before your visits, got to know the staff and found yourself enjoying the time you spent there so much that you forgot, momentarily, that you were even injured. You see noticeable improvement, but maybe you want to continue building your strength. Well, if you have come for 12 visits or are beyond the 45 days then it’s time for that holistic care we discussed in the first caveat. Your doctor must be involved in your care beyond those 12 visits (or 45 days, whichever comes first). If you don’t have a physician you see routinely, keep in mind that you can see a physician at your local Urgent Care.

Direct Access has given people in our community the power they need to get care quickly, which is a huge benefit to the healing process. And, just like a good friend, healthcare caveats will pop into your life when you least expect them. The caveats discussed aren’t that big of a deal because they were designed with overall good intentions. The real problem is that most folks don’t know about Direct Access at all, so when the time is right, do your friends and family a solid favor by sharing the knowledge!

Performance Physical Therapy has four locations in the Sacramento region: Roseville, Rancho Cordova, Folsom and East Sacramento. To find out more about our services, staff and the culture at Performance Physical Therapy visit

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