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.
PHYSICAL THERAPY PRACTICE ACT: NORTH CAROLINA
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