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See Us First - Direct Access to Your Physical Therapist

Fast Facts
Patients with lower back pain who saw a physical therapist first had significantly lower costs across almost all settings compared to patients who saw another provider first
- Health Care Cost Institute

For many years the only way to see a Physical Therapist in Virginia was get a referral from a physician. While we continue to work very closely with physicians and other health care practitioners, our patients are now able to seek our help directly without first obtaining a medical referral. This is termed direct access.

When you make the choice to come to Atlantic Physical Therapy under direct access, you will undergo a careful evaluation from our licensed Physical Therapists. We will talk to you about your problem, examine the area of your injury or condition, and then review our recommendations. This can range from simple exercises you can do at home to supervised physical therapy sessions at Atlantic Physical Therapy.

Not all problems require formal physical therapy interventions, and there are some problems that are better suited to other types of physical therapy offices. Through your evaluation we may identify problems that should be evaluated by another specialist, such as an orthopedic surgeon. If that is the case, we will provide you with information on which specialists in your area are recommended for your specific problem.

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Patients are now able to get help directly from Atlantic Physical Therapy without first obtaining a medical referral

Most insurance companies recognize the value and cost savings of allowing you direct access to your Physical Therapist. We will be happy to file your insurance so that you can utilize this benefit. Unfortunately, two federal payers, Tricare and Medicare still require you to see a physician (M.D.) for a referral to physical therapy for it to be paid for as a covered service. If you have Tricare or Medicare, you can request a referral from your physician, or you may also see your Physical Therapist and pay for the service yourself. You may also find it appropriate to send a note to your Representative and Senators Mark Warner and Timothy Kaine to urge them to change Medicare and Tricare access to eliminate the additional cost and inconvenience of a physician visit to allow access to physical therapy.