Tennessee is one of 26 states that allow direct patient access to PT with some provisions. Treatment may be administered through direct access physical therapy in Tennessee with the following provisions:
With the patient’s consent, the PT must inform the patient's healthcare provider of the physical therapy care plan no later than five business days after the PT evaluation.
If the patient seeks direct access physical therapy in Tennessee for a problem that has already been addressed by his or her physician within the past 12 months, the PT does not need patient consent to inform the physician.
If the patient doesn’t have a primary physician, then the PT must suggest a physician from a list of available providers and inform the patient of the following limitations:
If no substantial progress has been made within 15 calendar days or six visits—whichever occurs first—after the patient's initial visit, the physical therapist shall refer the patient to a licensed physician.
If the patient was previously diagnosed with chronic, neuromuscular, or developmental conditions, and the patient sought physical therapy in Tennessee for problems or symptoms associated with at least one those conditions, then this provision does not apply.
If the patient returns to PT with the same complaint within a 90-day timeframe, starting on the last treatment date, then the PT must immediately refer the patient to the appropriate healthcare provider.
If the patient's physician has not been notified that the patient sought direct access to physical therapy in Tennessee, the therapy services must not continue beyond 30 days immediately following the date of the patient's first visit.
It is considered unprofessional conduct for a PT to knowingly provide direct access physical therapy services in Tennessee when a patient:
Has reached the 15-day and six-visit limit; or
Has reached the 30-day limit.
Direct Access lets you self-refer for physical therapy. No prescription required.