What is Direct Access Physical Therapy?

16 November 2021Physical Therapy

Did you know that in the state of Kansas and now Missouri you can walk into a physical therapists’ office and receive treatment without needing a prescription from your doctor or a surgeon (aka direct access physical therapy)? 

“Why have I never heard of Direct Access physical therapy?”

You may have never heard about this because direct access is relatively new, and some states still don’t allow true direct access, although most allow some form or another. The reality is, many people don’t realize that direct access is an option, but in 2013 the Kansas legislature passed a bill which removed the need for a referral in order for a patient to see a physical therapist, in August 2023 Missouri just passed a similar bill. 

This means you can make an appointment with any physical therapist in the state of Kansas or Missouri and receive treatment, sometimes even the SAME DAY!

Direct Access Physical Therapy in Kansas City

“Why should I go see a physical therapist first?”

To put it simply, direct access means one less hoop for people to jump through before receiving the care they need. Not needing a referral means patients no longer need to wait to see their doctor or pay for an additional visit to a healthcare provider that may simply make a referral to another provider.

By allowing patients to see a PT first, we’ve cut out an unnecessary step and given the patients more control over their own healthcare.

For patients who wish to avoid unnecessary surgeries, or multiple rounds of prescription opiates, direct access to physical therapy offers patients an avenue to try conservative care first, and on their own terms, before resorting to more aggressive or invasive treatment options. All of this means that patients will be able to return to their normal, pain-free lives sooner, and with a few extra of their hard-earned dollars in their pockets. 


Direct Access physical therapy allows you to see a physical therapist without a referral

“But what if I go to PT, and they can’t help me?”

Most problems of musculoskeletal origin can be solved or at least improved with the help of a skilled physical therapist. But don’t worry, physical therapists are trained medical professionals, and can quickly deduce if your problem is one they can help with. If the answer to that question is no, a good therapist will be able to help you decide what the next step in your treatment should be, whether that involves having imaging taken, seeing a specialist, or simply making an appointment with your primary care physician. 

Here at F.I.T., we have connections with some of the best specialists in Kansas City, so you will be in good hands should you need more extensive care than what physical therapy can offer.

The result of all of this is an enhanced healthcare experience for all involved. Not only do patients have more control over their own care, which leads to an increased incentive to give physical therapy a real shot, but it expedites the process of healing. 

Direct access is the way of the future, don't wait any longer, see a physical therapist today and experience the benefits for yourself.


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