Date of Award
Master of Physical Therapy (MPT)
Insurance, Health, Reimbursement; Physical Therapy
In 2002, North Dakota passed legislation that allowed physical therapists to be directly reimbursed by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota for physical therapy services. The purpose of the study is to determine the effects of direct access with direct reimbursement on physical therapy practice. The survey was sent to 400 licensed physical therapists within Arizona, Maryland, and Minnesota. These states were chosen for their experience in utilizing direct access with direct reimbursement and the geographic location.
The survey consisted of 7 categories addressing demographics, clientele changes, marketing strategies, physical therapist/physician relationship, insurance changes, direct effects on patient care and personal effects on physical therapists. The results were analyzed and frequencies for all respondents were determined. Handwritten comments were recorded within the results in order to obtain understanding of the respective responses.
There were 42 surveys returned for a response rate of 11 %. Twenty-eight were completed and 8 of the completed surveys were used for data analysis. The results of the study indicate there is a consumer demand for direct access with direct reimbursement. Physical therapists stated the top benefits of direct access with direct reimbursement were improved relationships with patients and earlier intervention. Respondents noticed no change regarding their relationship with physicians, insurance coverage, or reimbursement. Marketing strategies were not utilized at this time to promote or educate consumers regarding direct access with direct reimbursement.
Due to the less than expected return rate, the data are limited in demonstrating the effects of direct access with direct reimbursement on physical therapy practice. Handwritten comments indicated lack of knowledge and understanding by physical therapists, consumers, and other health care professionals. Further studies should be completed once direct access with direct reimbursement has become more utilized by the physical therapy profession.
LaFreniere, Heather and Sauvageau, Katie, "The Effect of Direct Access with Direct Reimbursement on Physical Therapy Practice" (2004). Physical Therapy Scholarly Projects. 276.