New Direct Access legislation puts treatment choices back in patient’s hands
Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital (HGB) offers a complete complement of rehabilitation services, including physical therapy, to meet mid-Michigan’s needs. Recent direct access legislation, effective in 2015, now means patients can go directly to a physical therapist for evaluation and treatment without a physician’s referral.
According to the American Physical Therapy Association, physical therapists are experts in improving mobility and motion, and pain-free movement is crucial to quality of daily life, the ability to earn a living, the ability to pursue favorite leisure activities and more.
HGB’s therapy services are provided in EMPOWER at AL!VE, the hospital’s destination health park, located at 800 West Lawrence in Charlotte, Mich. Call 517-541-5800, option 2, to set up an evaluation with a therapist.
“There are some restrictions attached to this new legislation, but it is still a step in the right direction to provide patients more opportunities to seek physical therapy services,” said Kim Dickinson, director of AL!VE clinical services. “Michigan was the last state to offer direct access for physical therapy.”
After an initial evaluation, the physical therapist may recommend the patient seek further testing coordinated by their primary care physician. Or they may begin a treatment plan focused on preventing or treating injury, and promoting fitness for up to 21 days and/or 10 visits, whichever comes first. A referral is required to continue treatment beyond that time frame.
It is important for patients to check with their insurance providers to ensure they will cover treatment provided under “direct access.” Some providers, like Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network, have already announced they will not initially cover treatment without a referral or prescription. Medicaid also still requires a referral. And Medicare will require a plan of care certified by a physician or mid-level practitioner within 30 days of an initial visit.
“There are some insurance providers that are waiting to see how direct access will work,” Dickinson said. “But this is still a great opportunity for patients to be an even more active participant in their own health care and treatment plans.” Insurance providers Aetna, Cigna, OptumHealth and United Health Care have all indicated they will cover physical therapy treatment without a provider referral under the direct access legislation.
HGB physical therapists treat all types of injuries. Services include an aquatic program, diabetic program, fall prevention, lymphedema therapy, manual therapy, orthopedic surgery rehabilitation, sports injuries, work-related injuries, stroke rehabilitation, women’s health and wound care.
You can visit the Michigan Physical Therapy Associations Web page for more information about direct access in Michigan.
Find more information about HGB services at www.hgbhealth.com. Hayes Green Beach Memorial Hospital has been the community’s choice for health care for more than 80 years. HGB is committed to working together in health to provide quality care and enhance the vitality of the community.