With the addition of Hawaii, 46 states now give patients the ability to get an evaluation from physical therapists without having to get a referral from their doctor.
Patients in Hawaii now can be evaluated and treated by physical therapists without first having to obtain a physician referral. With the passage of new State Board of Physical Therapy regulations last month, Hawaii becomes the 46th state to achieve direct access. On November 9, 2010, the Hawaii Board of Physical Therapy hosted a public hearing on the proposed board regulations that would remove the current referral requirement and provide Hawaii with unrestricted direct access. The governor's public hearing was the culmination of more than 9 years of work by the Hawaii Board of Physical Therapy, the Hawaii Chapter, and APTA State Government Affairs. Members of the Hawaii Chapter attended the public hearing to show their support and provide testimony on proposed regulations. The regulations passed the Board unanimously and were approved by outgoing Gov Linda Lingle on December 3. The Board received 98 written comments on the proposed regulations during the public comment period. All 98 comments were in support of the proposed regulations and the result of an action alert that the Hawaii Chapter and APTA sent to the chapter membership. There were no written comments in opposition to the proposed regulations. Go to APTA's Moving Forward blog to read testimony from the governor's hearing given by Betsy Kendall-McCreary, the daughter of Florence Kendall, PT.