SAN DIEGO, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 05/06/13 -- Mahir Reiss, a San Diego-based physical therapist, is speaking out on new legislation that would change the way physical therapy operates in the state of Louisiana. Currently, an individual who is interested in receiving physical therapy must first get a referral from a doctor, podiatrist, surgeon, chiropractor, or dentist before having the ability to seek treatment from a physical therapist. However, a new bill that is awaiting review from the Committee on Health and Welfare would eliminate this step and allow a person to seek treatment right away.
As it stands now, a person who visits a physical therapist without a referral is able to get an evaluation, but cannot actually receive treatment. This is often frustrating for potential physical therapy patients. The new piece of legislation would cut out the middleman for those in need of treatment.
Cristina Faucheux, a physical therapist, comments on this stating, "Forty-eight states have some form of patient access of physical therapy services and in Louisiana, since 2003, we've operated under a limited direct access model." She notes, "What we're seeing is a number of restrictions with that and a number of patient frustration levels. This legislation would just move patients more in line to allow patients to see a physical therapist without a physician's order."
Mahir Reiss comments on this stating, "This piece of legislation is extraordinarily important, both for physical therapists and potential patients. The longer an individual must delay physical therapy sessions, the longer they will have to suffer with pain. A delay in treatment also increases the difficulty of the situation, making it more likely that the patient will become unable to experience a full recovery. It is no wonder that individuals are feeling frustrated about these rules."
Faucheux agrees with these statements explaining, "What we're seeing is a delay in patient care and patient frustration. Studies have shown that when patients are able to access services earlier, there is a cost savings involved. Also the episodes of their treatment care are less and the numbers of treatments required are less."
The bill would not grant physical therapists the ability to practice medicine. Though it would make it easier to get access to physical therapy, Faucheux explains that it is still advisable for a patient to see a physician before starting physical therapy sessions in order to verify that there is no need for other types of care prior to beginning the work.
Mahir Reiss states, "Hopefully this bill passes, as it would make it much easier for patients to get to work tackling their chronic pain. While it is wise to seek guidance from a physician, it would also be ideal for patients to be able to move along in the process even if they cannot get in to see a doctor right away." Mahir Reiss explains that the frustration that patients may feel when they cannot get into physical therapy right away will only worsen the stress caused by chronic pain.
Mahir Reiss is a physical therapy professional who owns his own practice in San Diego, California. The practice, Reiss and Westwood Physical Therapy, serves professional athletes, children, and elderly individuals. Alongside a massage therapist and a nutritionist, Dr. Reiss works to help get clients back to their ideal level of daily activity, whether that is running in a marathon or chasing after grandchildren in the park.
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