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News & Press: Legislative

Legislation to Make Physical Therapy More Affordable and Faster to Access in TX Clears Major Hurdle

Wednesday, April 15, 2015   (0 Comments)
Posted by: TPTA
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Legislation to Make Physical Therapy More Affordable and Faster to Access in Texas Clears Major Hurdle


With overwhelming support, Patient Access to Physical Therapy Bill, HB 1263, clears Public Health Committee in Texas House of Representatives


Austin, TX – April 15, 2015 – Texans who benefit from physical therapy services received a big victory last night in the Texas Legislature. House Bill 1263 will give patients direct access to physical therapy, was passed by the House Public Health Committee. Early yesterday afternoon the committee had voted down the bill. In an unprecedented turn of events the bill was voted on again after being reintroduced by Rep. Crownover only hours later. The bill passed with a vote of 6-4.  The measure now moves to the House Calendars Committee, where it will need to be voted out to be placed on the House Floor Agenda for a full House of Representatives vote.


Sponsored by Rep. Richard Raymond (D-Laredo), HB 1263 takes a critical step toward eliminating the referral requirement for Texans who choose to seek physical therapy services. There are 46 states that allow patient access to physical therapy without a doctor referral, meaning 200 million Americans have better access to care than Texans.


“There are approximately 200 million people in United States that are receiving better care than Texans, that is unacceptable,” says Paul Hardin, Executive Director/CEO of the Texas Physical Therapy Association (TPTA). “Regardless of how unorthodox the means by which it passed, the decision today on HB 1263 is an important step in allowing Texans to access the care they need in a responsible way.”


Among those testifying in support of HB 1263 in the hearing were an orthopedic surgeon and member of the Texas Medical Association, the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, and the Texas Physical Therapy Association. Testimony included statistics that show direct patient access to physical therapy services is safe in all 46 states that currently allow it, and that it is a more cost effective solution saving money for consumers and insurers in those states.


“HB 1263 is about access and choice for the consumer and I’m hopeful that in this session, these Legislators tell Texans they can have a choice,” said Michael Connors, PT, DPT, OCS and President of Texas Physical Therapy Association (TPTA).  “We still have a lot of work to do but today is a good day for us.”


HB 1263 does not allow physical therapists to practice medicine or treat patients outside their scope of practice. The treatments physical therapists are allowed by the state to administer would not change, and therapists would still be required by law to refer patients to another healthcare professional for conditions requiring treatments outside of physical therapy.


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