Tuesday, April 8, 2008

A press release from the American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons discusses a bill that would allow them to refer patients to physical therapy. Currently only osteopathic (DO's) and allopathic (MD's) doctors may "oversee" (read: sign the ok for) physical therapy.

Oral & Maxillofacial surgeons and other dentist make the case that they routinely treat patients that would benefit from PT, therefore having the ability to do so would be beneficial:

As Congressmen Pascrell and Cantor noted in sponsoring the bill, because a dentist or OMS cannot directly refer patients for physical therapy, they must refer patients to an allopathic or osteopathic physician to establish a therapy plan. In his statement of introduction on the floor of the House of Representatives, Pascrell stated, Such consultation has proven to be inefficient, unnecessary and cumbersome, and it ultimately delays patient treatment and the continuum of care.

I agree. But I'll take it one step further. It is just as "inefficient, unnecessary and cumbersome" for patients to have to go to their MD, DO, DDS in the first place for neuromusculoskeletal rehab. True full direct access to physical therapist - the experts in neuromusculoskeletal conservative care - would greatly decrease time to recovery and the extraneous costs of medications and excessive imaging associated with going to multiple physicians before getting to see a physical therapist.

Jason L. Harris


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