What is direct access?

For Physical Therapy, direct access is the ability to see a physical therapist for an evaluation without a referral from a physician or health care provider. Washington is a direct-access state, meaning our state law allows this direct-to-care process. In fact, every state now allows direct access of some form for physical therapy evaluation and treatment! 

Why does direct access matter to me?

Having the freedom to go directly to a physical therapist for care can have several benefits for you!

Save Time

Let’s be honest; we are all busier than ever! Direct access can eliminate steps to get the care you need. Time spent waiting to see a provider and the time lost from work or school to make that appointment is valuable. When you are able to schedule directly with your physical therapist, there is no need for multiple appointments to get there. While at times, initial care with your primary care provider is warranted, other times all signs point to PT! 

Save Money

While avoiding unnecessary appointments saves time, it also saves money. While narrowing your appointments down in itself reduces cost; seeing a physical therapist for treatment over other testing and treatments can save cost on its own. Studies show physical therapy saved patients over 19% cost over treatments starting with injections and over 50-75% cost over treatments starting with surgery! Additionally, getting treatment sooner, can lead to faster results! Note: It is important to check your insurance plan for specific requirements for reimbursement which may be plan dependent!

Avoid Medication

Getting appropriate treatment from a physical therapist faster reduces the need for opioid medication for pain management. Decreasing prescription of such medications, reduces risk of opioid abuse. Physical therapy has been shown to improve pain and function greater than prescription medications. While doctor prescribed opioid medications can be appropriate at times for decreasing pain levels, physical therapy works to treat the problem causing the pain. 

Get Relief!

Getting care quickly after injury can reduce the injury healing timeline and avoid a persisting, chronic condition! Start living your best life and return to the things you love sooner!


Start your physical therapy journey today at Elite Physical Therapy!