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Georgia Physical Therapy Direct Access

In order to see a patient who has self-referred (direct access) a physical therapist must:

Have a doctorate in physical therapy or equivalent degree from an accredited institution plus two years of clinical practice experience;

A doctorate in physical therapy or equivalent and:

  • Post graduate certification;
  • American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties Board Certification; or
  • Residency or fellowship training; or
  • Five (5) years of clinical practice experience.

Must provide each self-referred patient with a written disclosure that a physical therapy diagnosis is not a medical diagnosis by a physician or based on radiological imaging and that such services might not be covered by the patient's health plan or insurer;

Must refer the patient to a licensed dentist or a licensed physician if at any time the physical therapist has reason to believe that the patient has symptoms or conditions that require treatment beyond the scope of practice of the physical therapist;

Regardless of the patient's condition, if after twenty-one (21) days or eight (8) visits from the initiation of a physical therapy plan of intervention, the physical therapist has not received a referral from the patient's provider.

The day and visit limitations shall not apply

  • In the case of services provided for health promotion, wellness, fitness, or maintenance purposes, in which case the physical therapist shall refer a client seen for health promotion, wellness, fitness, or maintenance purposes to an appropriate individual licensed as a physician or physician assistant if the client exhibits or develops signs and symptoms beyond the scope of practice of the physical therapist;
  • In the case of a patient diagnosed within the previous nine months with a neuromuscular or developmental condition when the evaluation, treatment, or services are being provided for problems or symptoms associated with that previously diagnosed condition; or
  • In the case of a patient diagnosed within the previous 90 days with a chronic musculoskeletal condition and noted by a current relevant document from an appropriate licensed health care provider.


O.C.G.A ยง 43-33-18

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