New Texas Law Offers Patients Direct Access to Physical Therapy Starting September 1

Texas Physical Therapy Specialists hails new law as a big win for patient choice in healthcare

AUSTIN, Texas – (September 1, 2019) – As of September 1, Texans can visit a physical therapist for treatment without a physician’s referral. Texas’ new Direct Access bill, HB 29, has been signed by Governor Greg Abbott and goes into effect September 1, 2019, making Texas the 49th state to pass direct access legislation.

Until now, Texas physical therapists have been able to evaluate but not treat patients without a doctor’s order. This new law removes that barrier, allowing patients to bypass long wait times and costly and unnecessary visits to a physician and go directly to a physical therapist (PT) to get the care they need.

Texas Physical Therapy Specialists (TexPTS), with 30 physical therapy clinics across the state, hails the new law as a long-overdue change to the way Texas patients can access care.

“We have been working to give our patients more power and greater choice in managing their health for a long time, so the physical therapy community is thrilled the legislature is doing the right thing by making direct access to physical therapists the law. We know that patients who see a PT as a first point of care will have an 89 percent lower probability of being prescribed an opioid as opposed to those who don’t see a physical therapist early or delay treatment,” said David Browder, CEO of Texas Physical Therapy Specialists.

The new law means no more long waits and unnecessary out-of-pocket expenses at a doctor’s office just to get a referral to go to a PT who will then diagnose and treat your condition. According to a study by Health Services Research, total health care costs for patients who had early access to physical therapy were less than half the total costs paid by those who waited three months to a year to visit a PT.

There are stipulations to the law, so patients should ask their local physical therapist for more details on what is covered and not covered under the new bill. Below are some highlights:

HB 29 amends provisions of Section 453.301, Occupations Code (PT Practice Act) that includes:

  • Treatment without a referral for up to ten (10) consecutive business days for a physical therapist with a doctoral degree in physical therapy or who has completed a minimum of thirty (30) continuing competence activities in the area of differential diagnosis.
  • Additionally, a PT with a doctoral degree in physical therapy who has completed a residency or fellowship can treat for up to fifteen (15) consecutive business days without a referral.
  • Stipulations on treatment without a referral are the PT must have been licensed to practice physical therapy for at least one (1) year and must be covered by professional liability insurance.
  • Before treatment can exceed the authorized number of days, a referral must be obtained from a qualified healthcare practitioner.

Early physical therapy helps patients feel better sooner and reduces the odds of needing surgery, pain meds, or imaging. With HB 29 in effect, TexPTS looks forward to being the best first choice for patients in Texas.

About Texas Physical Therapy Specialists (TexPTS):

Texas Physical Therapy Specialists is a locally owned private physical therapy practice with locations throughout central Texas: Austin, Bulverde, Cibolo, Central Texas, Dallas, Georgetown, Hill County, Liberty Hill, Live Oak, Randolph Air Force Base, New Braunfels, Parmer/Pflugerville, Round Rock, San Antonio, San Marcos, Schertz, Selma, Spring Branch, and Universal City. Our clinicians have a have a wide range of clinical expertise in manual physical therapy, spine care and rehabilitation, general orthopedic conditions and rehabilitation, sports specific injuries, workplace injuries, metabolic conditions, and more. Since the company began in 2004,TexPTS has been voted Top 50 Places to Work in San Antonio three times by their own employees, the Best Private Physical Therapy Practice in the U.S. by their peers in the American Physical Therapy Association, and has appeared on the Inc. 500/5000 lists three times. For more information visit or the TexPTS Facebook page.

About Confluent Health:

Confluent Health is a Louisville, Kentucky-based private equity holding company focused on creating a healthcare system that recognizes physical and occupational therapy providers as the Best First Choice for preventing and managing musculoskeletal and movement disorders. Confluent Health offers the following management services: evidence-based practice, patient loyalty, regulatory assurance, marketing and branding, clinic operations, hiring and retention, strategy, accounting and finance, and customer service to BreakThrough Physical Therapy, the Evidence In Motion family of companies, Fit For Work, Pappas Physical Therapy, Physical Therapy Central, ProActive Physical Therapy Specialists, ProRehab Physical Therapy, Redbud Physical Therapy, RET Physical Therapy Group, SporTherapy, and Texas Physical Therapy Specialists.  Together, these companies share a common ownership team and are committed to developing a learning, purpose, and coaching culture.

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