To treat or not to treat…without a diagnosis?

I went to USC for my doctorate degree, and while I was there, the president of the CPTA (california PT association) was also one of our teachers in the program.  I was lucky to have someone like that in our program because it kept us all in the loop about the politics surrounding physical therapy in CA.

One of the MAJOR topics of discussion was Direct Access, which basically means seeing patients without a doctor’s diagnosis or referral first.  Some states already have Direct Access, our closest neighbor that has it is Arizona.  Every year, CA PTs are encouraged to contact their legislators to advocate for Direct Access.  Each year we are getting closer, so let’s hope it’ll happen soon!  One of the main opponents to Direct Access is Mary Hayashi.  The reason I bring it all up now is mainly because of a recentnews story involving the lovely Mary Hayashi.  She is heavily funded/supported by the California Medical Association, which hates the CPTA because they think we will kill their patients if they see us before seeing an MD/DO, but in my opinion, it is likely because they don’t want to lose those initial visits…

I’m reminded of this direct access question every time I do a new evaluation where I work.  I used to work in East LA with primarily adult patients, where I would see the diagnosis “low back pain” or simply “pain” and laugh that my poor patients had to waste money to get such a stellar diagnosis.  Now that I work in pediatrics, the diagnoses are different but the story is the same.  Now I just get “developmental delay,” which I think anyone can diagnosis if you see your child isn’t walking at 18 months.

So…this brings me to my next set of questions to you patients, therapists, and other medical professionals out there…
1-What are your thoughts on direct access? Yay or nay?
2-Do you live in a state where you can see a PT without a diagnosis? If so, how was your experience?
3-Do you think, “Forget MDs and PTs! I”ll just go see a chiropractor :)” haha, that’s a discussion for a new day…

Here is a link to the CA PT Association Website if you’d like general info about PT in CA.

Here is a FAQ about Consumer Direct Access in CA.

Phew had to get this post in to meet my resolution of a minimum 2 posts per week!  Well technically it’s Monday, but let’s pretend I finished this on Sunday 🙂

Thanks for reading!

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Categories: PT Politics

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