Athletico Applauds Illinois for Providing Patients with Direct Access to Physical Therapy
Chicago, IL – August 16, 2018 – Today Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed into law a bill that eliminates the requirement for patients to obtain a doctor’s prescription prior to seeking treatment from a licensed physical therapist. As a result, Illinois patients will have direct access to physical therapy treatment immediately.
Gov. Rauner signed the legislation at a ceremony at the State Capitol. Members of the Illinois Physical Therapy Association, including Athletico physical therapists and Athletico vice president of clinical operations Kevin Richardson, were on hand to celebrate the milestone.
“We would like to thank the governor, the legislature and the Illinois Physical Therapy Association for providing Illinois patients with the freedom to directly seek physical therapy treatment,” said Athletico CEO Mark Kaufman. “Removing the physician-referral requirement will give patients an opportunity to begin the treatment process sooner, and it will save them money. In addition, it will free up appointment times for medical doctors to see patients needing advanced medical treatment. This is ultimately a win for Illinois residents and the entire medical community.”
The measure is expected to reduce the need for unnecessary X-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds and opioid prescriptions. According to a recent BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina study, direct access to physical therapy led to a 31-percent reduction in total health care costs, 80-percent decrease in patient out-of-pocket costs and a 90-percent reduction in opioid use. A Health Services Research study also noted 27 percent of patients who visited a physical therapist directly for outpatient care had fewer visits and lower overall costs.
Illinois became the 45th state to allow patients to seek treatment from a physical therapist without a prescription or physician referral. Under the Illinois law, a physical therapist must refer a patient to a health care professional if they do not demonstrate measurable or functional improvement after 10 visits or 15 business days, whichever occurs first.
Athletico has more than 240 clinics across Illinois and all will immediately be able to accept patients without a prescription. Athletico clinics also offer free assessments where patients meet with a physical therapist to learn about treatment options. Patients interested in scheduling an appointment or free assessment can learn more by visiting Athletico.com.
About Athletico Physical Therapy
Athletico Physical Therapy provides the highest quality orthopedic rehabilitation services to communities, employers and athletes in over 425 locations throughout eleven states with more than 4500 employees. Athletico is committed to our patients and referring physicians through our patient-centric focus, positive work environment, attention to quality and high standard of care. Athletico measures patient outcomes and satisfaction and is dedicated to continuous improvement. Athletico was named #1 Workplace in Chicago, “Best Physical Therapy Practice in the Nation” by ADVANCE magazine, Top Workplace in the Nation and has been recognized as a leader in employee volunteering and charitable giving. Our services include physical and occupational/hand therapy, workers’ compensation, women’s health therapy, concussion management and athletic training. For more information, or to schedule a free assessment, please visit www.athletico.com and follow us on Twitter at @athletico.