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Direct Access

North Carolina
Board of Physical Therapy Examiners

Position on Direct Access in North Carolina

Question:  Does North Carolina allow direct access (practice without the legal requirement of a physician’s referral) and where can I find it in the NC PT Practice Act?

Answer:  North Carolina has had direct access since 1985 when the Practice Act was revised in 1985 by the NC General Assembly.

G.S. 90-270.24-90-270.39


Effective: December 30, 1985

Article 18B Physical Therapy

90-270.24. Definitions.--In this Article, unless the context otherwise requires, the following definitions shall apply:

(4) "Physical therapy"………“Physical therapy does not include the application of roentgen rays or radioactive materials, surgery, manipulation of the spine unless prescribed by a physician licensed to practice medicine in North Carolina, or medical diagnosis of disease.”

90-270.35. Unlawful practice. - Except as otherwise authorized in this act, if any person, firm, or corporation shall:

 (4) Practice physical therapy and fail to refer to a licensed medical doctor or dentist any patient whose medical condition should have, at the time of evaluation or treatment, been determined to be beyond the scope of practice of a physical therapist;

If you have questions regarding direct access in North Carolina, please feel free to contact:

Ben F. Massey, Jr. P.T., Executive Director
NC Board of Physical Therapy Examiners
18 West Colony Place Suite 140
Durham, NC 27705
Phone: 1-919-490-6393
Fax: 1-919-490-5106
Email: contact@ncptboard.org
Web: www.ncptboard.org

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