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Georgia PT Direct Access and Referrals 

Is a referral required to provide PT services?

After twenty-one (21) days or eight (8) visits, a PT must refer to either a physician or a dentist (if applicable).

The PT 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.

The PT must hold doctorate in physical therapy or equivalent degree from an accredited institution plus two (2) years of clinical practice experience and

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

Exceptions to the referral requirement?

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 (9) 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.

Preventative Services

A licensed physical therapist or a licensed physical therapist assistant under the supervision of an appropriately licensed physical therapist may perform Preventative services that are not considered "implementing a program of physical therapy treatment without consultation."

“Preventative services" is defined as the use of physical therapy knowledge and skills by a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant to provide education or activities in a wellness or community setting for the purpose of injury prevention, reduction of stress and or the promotion of fitness, but does not include administration of physical therapy treatment.

When does a PT have to refer a patient to a physician?

After twenty-one (21) days or eight (8) visits, a PT must refer to either a physician or a dentist (if applicable).

A PT may not perform dry needling on a patient without consulting a physician or physician assistant.

Reference

Ga. Code Ann. § 43‐33‐18

Ga. Comp. R. & Regs. R. 490-10-.01


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