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Direct Access 
Excel Orthopedic And Sports Physical Therapy

Direct Access

Get the care you need today!

Physical therapy is a safe and affordable way to treat hundreds of different diagnoses, and a referral or prescription is not required to begin treatment – this is called Direct Access.


Currently, all 50 states and the state of Connecticut allow patients “direct access” to physical therapy services and programs without the need for a physician prescription or referral. A major advantage to direct access is that patients see a decrease in their out-of-pocket costs by skipping a visit to their general practitioner for a referral. It also means that treatment can get underway faster. Direct access empowers you to take control of your health by choosing the approach that best suits your needs.

Benefits of Direct Access


Direct access laws vary by state. Below is the law in the state of Connecticut:  

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By coming to physical therapy first, you avoid having to pay for a visit to the doctor – which can save you, your insurance company, and the healthcare system money. Oftentimes physical therapy can also reduce the need for alternative treatment methods such as medication, injections, and imaging.


When you’re in pain you want to get relief fast, but sometimes it can take weeks to see the doctor. With Direct Access to physical therapy, you’ll spend less time and effort on scheduling a physician’s visit and begin feeling better faster.

Patient Satisfaction

​Studies have shown that direct access patients report higher satisfaction levels, as opposed to those who had a referral. Even though patients may have received identical treatment, the ability to begin physical therapy faster led to quicker recovery times – this plays a key role in higher satisfaction levels.


You have control over your own health: You know your body better than anyone else. When you’re in pain or have been injured and feel that you could benefit from physical therapy, you should be able to decide where and how to seek treatment and direct access allows you to do just that.

State Of Connecticut Direct Access Law Policy:
Connecticut law allows patients in Connecticut to receive physical therapy treatment from an eligible physical therapist at an outpatient rehabilitation provider (“Provider”) without a referral (“Direct Access Law”), with some restrictions and exceptions, as set forth below.
In Connecticut, physical therapy treatment may be performed by a licensed physical therapist without an oral or written referral by a person licensed in the state of Connecticut to practice medicine and surgery, podiatry, natureopathy, chiropractic or dentistry, or an advanced practice registered nurse licensed to prescribe in accordance with Connecticut General Statutes Section 20-94a or a physician assistant licensed to prescribe in accordance with Connecticut General Statutes Section 20-12d, provided:
- The licensed physical therapist treating the direct access patient was admitted to a bachelor's degree program prior to January 1, 1998, and has practiced physical therapy for at least four (4) out of the most recent six (6) years of his or her clinical practice, or earned a master's degree or higher in physical therapy from an accredited institution of higher education;
- The licensed physical therapist requires any patient receiving such direct access treatment without an oral or written referral to disclose or affirmatively confirm the identity of such patient's primary care pro
vider or health care provider of record to the Provider upon each initial visit for treatment;
- The licensed physical therapist provides information to any patient seeking such direct access treatment regarding the need to consult with such patient's primary care provider or health care provider of record regarding such patient's underlying medical condition if the condition is prolonged, does not improve within a thirty (30) day period, or continues to require ongoing continuous treatment; and
- The licensed physical therapist refers any patient receiving such direct access treatment to an appropriate licensed practitioner of the healing arts if, upon examination or reexamination, the same condition for which the patient sought physical therapy does not demonstrate objective, measurable, functional improvement in a period of thirty (30) consecutive days or at the end of six (6) visits, whichever is earlier.

EXCEPTION 1: If the outpatient rehabilitation therapy treatment requires a Grade V spinal manipulation, such Grade V spinal manipulation treatment requires (i) a written referral from a person licensed in the state of Connecticut to write referrals (as set forth above) and (ii) shall only be performed by a licensed physical therapist who, in addition to the requirements set forth herein, holds a specialist certification in orthopedic physical therapy from the American Physical Therapy Association or proof of completion of forty (40) hours of course work in manual therapy, including Grade V spinal manipulation.

EXCEPTION 2: If the treatment requested from the Provider involves a work/job related injury, such treatment shall only be performed upon the written referral of a person licensed in the state of Connecticut to write referrals (as set forth above).
NOTE: The patient is responsible for any and all costs associated with the direct access treatment session(s) that are due and owing the Provider and not otherwise covered by the patient’s health care plan or insurer.

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