Direct Access In New Jersey: Did You Know?
With Direct Access In New Jersey you can see a Physical Therapist without a prescription from the doctor.
Traditionally, physician-centered care starts with an initial visit to your primary care physician with potential follow-up with diagnostic testing, referral to other healthcare providers such as orthopedists, medication prescriptions and then to a Physical Therapist (PT). While at times this process may be appropriate, it can also lead to increased costs to patients both in time, money and overall well-being.
For many musculoskeletal-related issues, early access to physical therapy can streamline the above process, helping patients with their meaningful goals and activities with potentially reduced costs and time. For instance, there is some wonderful evidence to suggest that early access to physical therapy following an acute episode of low back pain may not only reduce pain and disability but also healthcare utilization/costs and opioid prescription/use compared to a more traditional route. While there might be some fear/concerns, the human body has an incredible capacity to heal and typically responds well to movement. You are more resilient than you think.
With that being said, here in New Jersey, patients can seek the services from a PT without a referral or prescription from a physician (this may depend on your insurance plan so we encourage you to contact your insurance provider for more details).
Here’s how it works:
- Typically, patients can be treated by a PT for 30 days without a referral or prescription from a physician.
- Should patients not make progress or are making progress but need/want to continue with PT services, the PT will inform and refer the patient to a licensed healthcare provider (typically primary care physician)
- Physical Therapists have extensive training in recognizing when patients may not be appropriate for PT with follow-up to another healthcare provider warranted.
Following up on point #3 and in general, here at Jersey Physical Therapy, our PTs offer free screenings to advise on direct access or answer any questions related to an injury or health concern.
We’re here for you, where we will work as a collaborative team, to help achieve your goals. So, let’s make moves and get you where you want to be!
Give us a call at one of our offices:
- Princeton/Plainsboro: (609) 785-5386
- South Brunswick: (732) 297-0032
- Milltown/East Brunswick: (732) 418-7033
1. Arnold et al, 2019. The Effect of Timing of Physical Therapy for Acute Low Back Pain on Health Services Utilization: A Systematic Review, Arch Phys Med Rehabil, 100(7):1324-1338.
2. Retrieved from: https://www.apta.org/advocacy/issues/direct-access-advocacy/direct-access-by-state