With the passage of new State Board of Physical Therapy regulations, Hawaii becomes the 46th state to achieve direct access, says the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), Alexandria, Va.

While direct access laws vary from state to state, with some states having more limitations, patients in Hawaii will have unrestricted access to physical therapist services without first having to obtain a physician referral.

"After more than 10 years of hard work, we are elated that the rules have finally been passed," said Ann Frost, PT, president of the Hawaii Chapter of APTA. "Many people contributed to this process by serving on the State Board of Physical Therapy, attending Board meetings, attending the hearing, and educating the public and the physical therapy community about these much-needed updates."

In addition to removing the physician referral requirement, the new regulations make other improvements and revisions to the practice of physical therapy. The regulations were signed December 3, by outgoing Gov Linda Lingle and went into effect December 9.

The Hawaii Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association (HAPTA) is a nonprofit professional organization serving more than 200 member physical therapists and physical therapist assistants.

[Source: APTA]