June 1, 2018

Primary Care Physician Referral to Physical Therapy for Musculoskeletal Conditions, 2003–2014

Musculoskeletal conditions are incredibly common, affecting more than half of adults in the United States. Physical therapy (PT) is recommended as an essential component in the treatment of these conditions. However, many primary care physicians (PCPs), who are the first point of contact for those patients seeking treatment for musculoskeletal conditions, are often encouraged to deliver integrated care in ways that may leave out PT.

This article describes a review of the data on PCP referrals to those patients experiencing musculoskeletal conditions between 2003-2014 to compare the rates of referrals to physical therapists to rates of referrals to other kinds of specialty physicians.

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