Direct Access to Physical Therapy is Now the Law in Texas

Cassie Lackey, SporTherapy CEO

This change is a win-win for everyone, and we are more than excited to be able to impact our patients lives with fewer barriers.

As one of the last two states in the country to pass direct access legislation for physical therapy, Texas may be late to the game, but starting September 1, Texans can visit a physical therapist for treatment without a physician’s referral.

Texas’ new Direct Access bill, HB 29, allows patients to bypass long wait times and costly and unnecessary visits to a physician and go directly to a physical therapist (PT) to get the care they need.

Texas is the 49th state to pass direct access legislation, and Fort Worth’s leading physical therapy provider, SporTherapy, calls the new law long overdue and a welcome change for patients and providers.

“This change is a win-win for everyone, and we are more than excited to be able to impact our patients lives with fewer barriers,” said Cassie Lackey, CEO of SporTherapy, the Fort Worth area’s leading physical therapy provider. “It will benefit the patient by allowing quicker access to physical therapist services, which has been proven to substantially lower costs, lower prescription meds use, and improve the outcome and speed of the patient’s recovery, getting them back to their normal daily activities sooner and maybe better than before.”

According to a study by Health Services Research, total health care costs for patients who had early access to physical therapy were less than half the total costs paid by those who waited three months to a year to visit a PT.

Many conditions can be successfully treated through a combination of hands-on treatment and exercise a physical therapist provides. Physical therapists are also highly trained in identifying conditions that might need further evaluation or medical treatment and can include primary care physicians when needed.

The new law does have guidelines and restrictions* for direct access PT treatment which includes:

  • Treatment without a referral for up to ten (10) consecutive business days for a physical therapist with a doctoral degree in physical therapy or who has completed a minimum of thirty (30) continuing competence activities in the area of differential diagnosis.
  • A PT with a doctoral degree in physical therapy who has completed a residency or fellowship can treat for up to fifteen (15) consecutive business days without a referral.
  • To treat without a referral the PT must have been licensed to practice physical therapy for at least one (1) year and must be covered by professional liability insurance.
  • Before treatment can exceed the authorized number of days, a referral must be obtained from a qualified healthcare practitioner.

*HB 29 amends provisions of Section 453.301, Occupations Code (PT Practice Act).

SporTherapy takes pride in 100 percent of their therapists having advanced physical therapy degrees at either the Master’s or Doctorate level who can treat everything from back and spine pain to workplace injuries, headaches and balance issues.

About SporTherapy:
Founded in 1989, SporTherapy is a physical therapist owned and operated provider of rehabilitation services that emphasizes hands-on care, active exercise, outstanding communication with patients and their medical providers. SporTherapy is also passionate about supporting causes in the communities they serve, including the YMCA, Communities in Schools – Adopt A Family, and the Lackey Scholarship through Texas Tech University. Over the last 29 years, SporTherapy has made it a priority to earn the trust of many local physicians, becoming their top choice to meet their patients’ and families’ physical therapy needs. To learn more, visit

About Confluent Health:
Confluent Health is a Louisville, Kentucky-based private equity holding company focused on creating a healthcare system that recognizes physical and occupational therapy providers as the Best First Choice for preventing and managing musculoskeletal and movement disorders. Confluent Health offers the following management services: evidence-based practice, patient loyalty, regulatory assurance, marketing and branding, clinic operations, hiring and retention, strategy, accounting and finance, and customer service to BreakThrough Physical Therapy, the Evidence In Motion family of companies, Fit For Work, Pappas Physical Therapy, Physical Therapy Central, ProActive Physical Therapy Specialists, ProRehab Physical Therapy, Redbud Physical Therapy, RET Physical Therapy Group, SporTherapy, and Texas Physical Therapy Specialists. Together, these companies share a common ownership team and are committed to developing a learning, purpose, and coaching culture.

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