On August 16, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (R) signed House Bill 4643, which allows consumers to pursue and begin physical therapy (PT) services without a doctor’s referral while still ensuring professional medical oversight safeguards. The law, effective immediately, permits physical therapists to evaluate clients and determine a treatment plan without first having to submit a diagnosis for a healthcare professional’s approval, speeding the path to relief and healing. The reductions of prescriptions for pain medication and healthcare costs have been cited as two additional benefits of the new law.
Under the legislation, a physical therapist providing services without a referral from a healthcare professional must notify the patient’s treating healthcare professional within 5 business days that the patient is receiving PT. This does not apply to those seeking PT for general, non-injury-related fitness or wellness.