Cut & paste this letter on your letterhead:
The Honorable Pedro Nava
P.O. Box 942849
Sacramento, CA 95814-0035
Dear Assembly Member Nava:
Thank you for your vision and leadership in bringing forward AB 721, the legislation that will allow consumers direct access to physical therapist services. As you know, in California and the rest of the country, our health care system is in crisis. Reforming the health care system by reducing costs and increasing access to health care is one of the Governor and Legislature's top issues. Currently, consumers in 44 states have some form of direct access to physical therapists.
Consumer direct access to physical therapist services eliminates the burden of unnecessary visits, which can cause delays and even denials of services provided by physical therapists. In the states where consumers have direct access to physical therapy services, liability insurers and the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy affirm that direct access does not jeopardize the health, safety or welfare of the patients seeking physical therapists' services without a referral.1
Consumer direct access to physical therapist services will improve access to rehabilitation services for injured workers, frail seniors and young athletes engaged in sports. Allowing consumers the ability to see a physical therapist directly instead of waiting for a physician's appointment and having to pay a co-pay, that may cost as much as $50 a visit, is a common sense approach that will make health care more efficient and less costly for patients and our health care delivery systems. In fact, a 1994 study on the cost effectiveness of consumer direct access to physical therapists found that costs for physical therapy were 123 percent higher when patients were first seen by a physician than when they went to a physical therapist directly. 2
For all the above reasons, I urge your support of consumer direct access to physical therapist services. Thank you again for bringing this bill forward during these insolvent times in healthcare.
1 Health Providers Services Organization, in a March 22, 2001 letter to the American Physical Therapy Association on file.
2 A comparison of resource use and cost in direct access vs. physical referral. Physical Therapy 1997: 77:10-18.