Illinois Now Allows You To Get Physical Therapy Without a Prescription

On August 16, 2018 Illinois passed a law eliminating the need for you to have a prescription before being able to receive treatment from a physical therapist. Now all patients in Illinois can go directly to any Illinois-licensed physical therapist for evaluation and treatment. Why? Similar to 45 other states with some variation of direct access, Illinois recognizes that the ability to be seen by a physical therapist and receive treatment immediately can have substantial affects on lowering your healthcare costs and curbing opioid addiction.

Before this law was passed, many Illinois residents with injuries, pain or ailments would have to see their primary care physician first. They would then refer you to a specialist such as an orthopedic physician who may order costly imaging such as X-Rays, MRIs or CT scans and eventually prescribe you physical therapy or pain medication. This process could cost you thousands and take weeks to complete all while you are in pain.

Seeing a physical therapist first can eliminate the need for unnecessary medication, surgery or extensive imaging tests – including X-Rays, MRIs and CT scans. And if you do need to see a specialist, our therapists will refer you to the right healthcare professionals. This ensures that you receive the quality care you need, right from the very beginning.

A recent study published by Health Services Research concluded from 150,000 patients tracked, patients who received treatment from a physical therapist first experienced lower out-of-pocket, pharmacy, and outpatient costs after 1 year and reduced their likelihood of receiving an opioid prescription by 87% compared with patients who never visited a physical therapist. The study also concluded that these patients also realized a 28% lower probability of having costly imaging services (e.g. x-ray, MRI) and 15% lower odds of making a visit to an emergency room.

Now, as an Illinois resident, you have the ability to choose to receive treatment immediately and not have to wait to start reducing your pain and returning to the lifestyle you choose. “AccuCare Physical Therapy believes this is an important step which helps all Illinois residents realize the value physical therapy provides as an initial, cost-effective first choice for treating many muscular-skeletal related pain, ailments and injuries.”

Consumers should note that the new Illinois law gives health plans the discretion to allow direct access to physical therapy, but it is not required. Limitations remain for some healthcare policies, including Medicare and Medicaid.


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