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Direct Access Law Offers Myriad of Patient Benefits

In 2014, a new law went into effect in California that allowed patients direct access to physical therapists in the state. In the past, a prescription from a medical doctor was required to obtain physical therapy treatment, often resulting in delayed treatment and higher medical costs. This new law gives patients the option to visit a physical therapist without additional appointments, tests and drugs.

About AB 1000

Assembly Bill 1000 was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown on October7, 2013. The law, also known as Direct Access, gives physical therapists in the state the right to provide assessments and treatments to patients directly, without requiring them to go through the patient’s physician first. In the past, physical therapists were only allowed to administer treatment and even wellness services with a physician diagnosis and prescription.

Patient Benefits

Direct Access offers a number of benefits to physical therapy patients:

  • Saves time and money on initial doctor visits and prescription medication
  • Provides for faster treatment, which could lead to better outcomes for some patients
  • Leads to faster recovery times and less time off work for some patients
  • Empowers patients to take control of their own healthcare decisions
  • Keeps overall healthcare costs down by eliminating extraneous physician visits

As the public becomes more educated about their own health and wellness, they are better equipped to determine whether conditions are best handled by an M.D., chiropractor, acupuncturist or physical therapist. However, until Direct Access went into effect, physical therapy was the only discipline that required a prescription for treatment. Now, California joins 48 other states and the District of Columbia in offering residents of the state the ability to make their own healthcare choices.

If you would like to schedule a free consultation or evaluation with a Doctor of Physical Therapy, contact us today at 949.861.8600 or by email at

In Motion O.C.