“Move Forward” is more than a slogan regarding the concept that “Physical Therapy Brings Motion to Life.” In Indiana, it is the goal of physical therapists to become acknowledged for the exceptional care that they have been providing to their patients for numerous years. Currently, Indiana is only one of two of the United States that does not allow direct access to PTs, or the ability of any patient to freely choose to see a physical therapist without a referral from a physician or other healthcare professional.
On January 26, 2011, over 500 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and the corresponding students in the profession gathered at the Indiana State House for a monumental event. This event had strong student support. According to APTA’s Vision 2020, “every consumer has the legal right to directly access a physical therapist.” The event in January was designed to promote this vision to the Indiana legislators & voice the concerns of the practicing physical therapists in the state of Indiana. Several students had the opportunity to discuss the direct access issues directly with their corresponding governmental representative and to influence the views of these officials.
The future is undoubtedly uncertain regarding what will happen with direct access for physical therapists in the state of Indiana. But one thing is for sure, physical therapists will only become more rejuvenated about this topic to ensure that the education that they are receiving will be used to the maximum in each and every state—not for to the benefit of the physical therapists, but rather for the benefit of all future patients. PT students are aware of the negative impact on the practice environment and, in another example of Indiana "brain drain," are actively voicing their intention to leave the state of Indiana as they begin their physical therapy careers.
- Chris Rakoczy
2nd Year DPT Student, Krannert School of Physical Therapy