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Wisconsin PT Direct Access and Referrals

A person may practice physical therapy only upon the written referral of a physician, physician assistant, chiropractor, dentist, podiatrist, or advanced practice nurse prescriber.

Written referral is not required if a physical therapist provides:

    • Services in schools to children with disabilities pursuant to rules promulgated by the department of public instruction;
    • Provides services as part of a home health care agency;
    • Provides services to a patient in a nursing home pursuant to the patient’s plan of care;
    • Provides services related to athletic activities, conditioning, or injury prevention; or
    • Provides services to an individual for a previously diagnosed medical condition after informing the individual’s physician, physician assistant, chiropractor, dentist, podiatrist, or advanced practice nurse prescriber who made the diagnosis.

A written referral is not required to provide the following services, related to the work, home, leisure, recreational and educational environments:

  • Conditioning.
  • Injury prevention and application of biomechanics.
  • Treatment of musculoskeletal injuries with the exception of acute fractures or soft tissue avulsions.

Duty to Refer

A physical therapist shall refer a patient to an appropriate health care practitioner if the physical therapist has reasonable cause to believe that symptoms or conditions are present that require services beyond the scope of the practice of physical therapy.


Wis. Stat. 448.56

Wis. Admin. Code Trans. PT 6.01

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