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Ohio Physical Therapy Direct Access and Referrals

Is a referral required to provide PT services?

Yes.

No person shall practice physical therapy other than on the prescription of, or the referral of a patient by, a person who is licensed in this or another state to do at least one of the following:

    • Practice medicine and surgery, chiropractic, dentistry, osteopathic medicine and surgery, podiatric medicine and surgery;
    • Practice as a physician assistant;
    • Practice nursing as an advanced practice registered nurse.

Exceptions to the referral requirement?

The prohibition on practicing physical therapy other than on the prescription of, or the referral of a patient by, any of the persons does not apply if either of the following applies to the person:

    • The person holds a master's or doctorate degree from a professional physical therapy program that is accredited by a national physical therapy accreditation agency recognized by the United States department of education.
    • On or before December 31, 2004, the person has completed at least two (2) years of practical experience as a licensed physical therapist.

If a physical therapist evaluates and treats a patient without the prescription of, or the referral of the patient, all of the following apply:

The physical therapist shall, upon consent of the patient, inform the relevant person (A physician, PA, or ANP) of the evaluation not later than five (5) business days after the evaluation is made.

If the physical therapist determines, based on reasonable evidence, that no substantial progress has been made with respect to that patient during the thirty (30) day period immediately following the date of the patient's initial visit with the physical therapist, the physical therapist shall consult with or refer the patient to a prescriber unless either of the following applies:

    • The evaluation, treatment, or services are being provided for fitness, wellness, or prevention purposes.
    • The patient previously was diagnosed with chronic, neuromuscular, or developmental conditions and the evaluation, treatment, or services are being provided for problems or symptoms associated with one or more of those previously diagnosed conditions.

If the physical therapist determines that orthotic devices are necessary to treat the patient, the physical therapist shall be limited to the application of the following orthotic devices:

    • Upper extremity adaptive equipment used to facilitate the activities of daily living;
    • Finger splints;
    • Wrist splints;
    • Prefabricated elastic or fabric abdominal supports with or without metal or plastic reinforcing stays and other prefabricated soft goods requiring minimal fitting;
    • Nontherapeutic accommodative inlays;
    • Shoes that are not manufactured or modified for a particular individual;
    • Prefabricated foot care products;
    • Custom foot orthotics;
    • Durable medical equipment.

If, at any time, the physical therapist has reason to believe that the patient has symptoms or conditions that require treatment or services beyond the scope of practice of a physical therapist, the physical therapist shall refer the patient to a licensed health care practitioner acting within the practitioner's scope of practice.

Which providers can issue the referral?

Physical therapists may provide services to a patient upon a referral from a person who is licensed in this state or any other state to:

    • Practice medicine and surgery,
    • Chiropractic,
    • Dentistry,
    • Osteopathic medicine and surgery,
    • Podiatric medicine and surgery,
    • Physician assistant,
    • Certified registered nurse anesthetist,
    • Clinical nurse specialist,
    • Certified nurse midwife, or
    • Certified nurse practitioner.

To be authorized to prescribe physical therapy or refer a patient to a physical therapist for physical therapy, the referrer must be in good standing with the relevant licensing board in this state or the state in which the person is licensed and must act only within the person's scope of practice.

How can PTs receive referrals?

Physical therapists may directly receive such referrals, by telephone fax, e-mail, or other electronic means. Physical therapists may accept faxed, referrals as an original. The therapist may at anytime require an original written referral from the referring practitioner with a signature for inclusion in the patient's official record.

Physical therapist assistants may also directly receive referrals by telephone, fax, e-mail or other electronic means; however, only the physical therapist shall interpret and perform initial patient evaluations, initial and ongoing treatment plans, periodic re-evaluation of the patient, and adjustment of the treatment plan.

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

A physical therapist is not required to notify the patient's other healthcare practitioner if either of the following apply:

    • The physical therapist is seeing the patient for fitness, wellness, or prevention purposes; or
    • The patient previously was diagnosed with chronic, neuromuscular, or developmental conditions and the physical therapist is seeing the patient for problems or symptoms associated with one or more of those previously diagnosed conditions.

Reference

Ohio Revised Code § 4755.48

Ohio Admin. Code § 4755-29-01


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