Do I Need a Referral to Get Physical Therapy?

In 2015 direct access to a physical therapist became possible in Michigan. Direct access means that a person does not need a referral from their primary care physician to get physical therapy. Michigan law dictates that a person may be seen without a referral for 10 visits or 21 days, whichever comes first. If the patient still needs physical therapy after this time period a referral is required to continue care. Whether you have a referral or not, Owens Physical Therapy sends a detailed note to your physician letting them that you are seeing a physical therapist and how the issue will be addressed. As long as the physician signs this document, it may be substituted for a referral.

Unfortunately, in Michigan not every health insurance company has agreed to pay for physical therapy services provided without a referral. Some insurance companies still require a referral for payment, despite the direct access provided for in the law. We continue to advocate for more insurance companies to follow the lead and allow direct access to a physical therapist. Not requiring a referral makes it easier and faster to get the physical therapy care you need, especially for immediate, acute injuries. Your physical therapist has been trained to determine whether your problem is treatable with physical therapy or whether a visit to the physician is more appropriate. If you have more specific questions about your insurance and referral requirements, do not hesitate to ask!