FAQ: Prescriptions for physical therapy

Overview 

Do you need a prescription to be seen at Origin? The short answer is yes.

It is a legal requirement that you have a prescription on file while seeing a licensed physical therapist in the United States. At what point you are required to obtain a prescription is determined by your insurance policy, and the direct access laws in your state. 

Please see below for more about the insurance requirements, and Direct Access laws where you live: 


Insurance 

If your insurance requires a prescription, you will need to have that prescription on file at the time of your first visit.

How do I know if I need a prescription?

  • If you'd like to know whether your insurance requires a prescription right away, please call the member services line on your insurance card and ask whether your physical therapy benefits require a prescription.
  • As a courtesy, we will verify your benefits approximately two days days before your evaluation, and send you an email with the details of your policy and whether a prescription is required 

How do I get a prescription?

  • To obtain a prescription, please schedule a visit with your primary care doctor, OBGYN, or other doctor familiar with what's brought you to PT 
  • The prescription can be faxed to 310-479-2329 or info@theoriginway.com. You can also bring a physical copy in to your appointment. 

Who can write a prescription?

  • Medical Doctors (MD) 
  • Doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO)
  • Podiatrists.

What should my prescription have on it?

Your prescription should include...
  • At least two pieces of your identifying information (full name and date of birth are generally best) 
  • Orders from the doctor. We suggest the orders to be "evaluate and treat", but the doctor can also provide a frequency and duration for care if they have something in mind (example: "treat 1x per week for 6 weeks").
  • The doctor's signature, and date the order was signed. 

If I'm a returning patient with an old prescription on file, do a need to get another one?

  • Yes, if your insurance requires a prescription you will need to obtain a new prescription each time you're coming back to Origin for a new evaluation. 

Direct Access

If your insurance does not require a prescription, you will follow the direct access laws in your state to determine when a prescription is needed.

General info 

How do I get a prescription?

  • To obtain a prescription, please schedule a visit with your primary care doctor, OBGYN, or other doctor familiar with what's brought you to PT 
  • The prescription can be faxed to 310-479-2329 or info@theoriginway.com. You can also bring a physical copy in to your appointment. 

Who can write a prescription?

  • Medical Doctors (MD) 
  • Doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO)
  • Podiatrists

If I'm a returning patient with an old prescription on file, do a need to get another one?

  • Yes, you will eventually need to obtain a new prescription each time you're coming back for an evaluation 
  • The direct access period resets each time you return to Origin for a new evaluation 
  • Read the direct access laws in your state (below) for more information on when a prescription will be required.

What should my prescription have on it?

Your prescription should include...

  • At least two pieces of your identifying information (full name and date of birth are generally best) 
  • Orders from the doctor. We suggest the orders to be "evaluate and treat", but the doctor can also provide a frequency and duration for care if they have something in mind (example: "treat 1x per week for 6 weeks").
  • The doctor's signature, and date the order was signed. 

I have a referral but I don't have a prescription, is that OK?

  • If your insurance plan does not require a prescription, your referral can be used to satisfy the direct access prescription requirements. 
  • If your insurance plan requires a prescription, please read the section above.  

What is the difference between a prescription and a referral?

Prescription

  • You can think of a prescription as your doctor signing off on the care plan you're receiving at PT. 
  • It's exchanged between a doctor, and the extended provider their patient is seeing and is a legal requirement to see a licensed PT in the US. 
  • Some insurance policies also require a prescription to be on file.

Referral

  • You can think of a referral as your doctor asking your insurance company for permission to send you to an extended provider. 
  • While prescriptions are a legal requirement, referrals are an insurance requirement in order to have coverage for visits with a physical therapist. 
  • If your insurance requires a referral (most common for HMO policies) your doctor must send a referral order to your insurance company, AND your insurance company must approve the referral before you come to Origin.
  • If the above does not occur before your first visit with Origin, you will not have insurance coverage for your visits. 

California 

How do I know if I need a prescription?

  • Patients in California are able to be evaluated and treated by a licensed physical therapist without obtaining a physician’s referral under legislation called Direct Access. 
  • Without a prescription, you will be able to see a licensed PT for 12 visits or 45 days (whichever comes first). 
  • If you have not been able to obtain a prescription from your doctor before the direct access cutoff, you will not be able to schedule additional visits with your PT. 

New York 

How do I know if I need a prescription?

  • Patients in New York are able to be evaluated and treated by a licensed physical therapist without obtaining a physician’s referral under legislation called Direct Access. 
  • Without a prescription, you will be able to see a licensed PT for 10 visits or 30 days (whichever comes first). 
  • If you have not been able to obtain a prescription from your doctor before the direct access cutoff, you will not be able to schedule additional visits with your PT.

Texas

How do I know if I need a prescription?

  • Patients in Texas are able to be evaluated and treated by a licensed physical therapist without obtaining a physician’s referral under legislation called Direct Access. 
  • Without a prescription, you will be able to see a licensed PT for 10 days.
  • If you have not been able to obtain a prescription from your doctor before the direct access cutoff, you will not be able to schedule additional visits with your PT.

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