Are you familiar with direct access to physical therapy? We sat down with Erik Norwood, physical therapist and owner of Renew Physical Therapy, and Matt Godofsky, physical therapist and managing partner at the Renew Physical Therapy clinic in Renton to learn about why direct access to physical therapy is important to helping patients quickly and effectively get back to their daily activities after experiencing an injury.

Q. What is direct access, and what does it mean in the healthcare field?

Matt: Direct access is a way for physical therapy to provide services, including evaluation and treatment, without the need for an order or referral from another health care professional in accordance with state law.

Erik: Physical therapists are the musculoskeletal system experts and can assess, rule out any red flags, and quickly treat injuries. With direct access to physical therapy, patients can save time and money by going directly to physical therapy without having to navigate a web of unnecessary referrals and appointments. At Renew Physical Therapy, our job and training is focused on how to get our patients back to the activities they love as quickly as possible.


Q. Why is having direct access important for patients and recovery?

Erik: One example of why direct access is important for patients and recovery is after a minor motor vehicle accident. Typically, the injured parties go home without feeling any severe symptoms, yet wake up the next day in lots of pain. 

Not knowing what to do, they go to the ER. The hospital will see the patient and begin to run many tests that may result in a $3,000 – $6,000 bill. Most personal injury protection health insurance policies are $10,000, which after a visit to the ER, leaves the patient with only half of the policy amount left for ongoing treatment. 

The remaining funds of the patient’s policy is often then used up before the patient is fully recovered, and then finding ways to continue to get treatment covered by health insurance becomes very difficult. 

At Renew Physical Therapy, we encourage you to go to physical therapy first! Our physical therapists know how to screen for serious injuries that need further work and testing. Renew Physical Therapy also has a large referral network necessary for more serious care, and we’ll save you money in the long run by avoiding unnecessary visits to the ER.


Q. How does direct access save time and money?

Matt: As Erik previously mentioned, direct access jump starts the rehabilitation and recovery process to help patients return to their prior level of function. Having direct access to physical therapy can assist in navigation of a complex medical system that requires a multi disciplinary approach for optimal success. Lastly, direct access avoids the potential of unnecessary initial medical services and imaging.


Q. Why does Renew Physical Therapy provide patients with free consultations? What is the benefit of doing so?

Matt: Renew Physical Therapy provides patients with free consultations, injury screens, and balance and fall-risk assessments to identify the need for physical therapy services, and establish a plan of care.


Q. How is direct access at Renew Physical Therapy different from other physical therapy clinics?

Matt: Our physical therapists are well-trained and versed in a large spectrum of musculoskeletal injuries and neurological conditions. Renew Physical Therapy provides one-on-one services that are individualized to help formulate a specific patient treatment plan. Our clinics located in Columbia City, Beacon Hill, and Renton have established relationships with a large network of health care providers that may be indicated for comprehensive care and successful recovery.


If you are experiencing an injury, contact Renew Physical Therapy for a free consultation! We can see you as soon as the next day to start you on your road to recovery.

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