Direct Access

A patient-focused approach to care

What is Direct Access?

Direct access is the ability for individuals to see a physical therapist without a physician’s order. In the past, for example, a skier who has a sore back or a hiker who sprained her ankle might have to wait before receiving specialized therapeutic treatment. This is because the usual patient care path is to call a primary care physician for an appointment, wait for that appointment, and then have the physician assess the injury and write the referral for physical therapy.

“The old system was essentially delaying treatment,” said Louie Carder, Director of Rehabilitation Services at AVH. “With direct access, the patient can contact our physical therapy department directly, schedule an appointment and start receiving care within a few days, if not sooner.”

[Pictured: Louie Carder, PT, MSPT assisting a patient with upper extremity mobility.]

Who should consider direct access care?

Those with low back pain, neck pain and minor orthopedic injuries are ideal candidates for direct access physical therapy. If you're unsure if you'd bernefit from direct access physical therapy, please call us at 970.544.1177.

What does the patient care path look like with direct access?

If you have an injury, whether it is new or a long lasting injury, you can call Aspen Valley Hospital’s physical therapy department to make an appointment for an evaluation. The most important piece of information to know is if your insurance covers direct access. If insurance does not cover direct access, a physician referral will be needed.

During the appointment, a direct access certified physical therapist will evaluate and assess the injury. This appointment is followed by development of a treatment plan, then, recovery!

If the you require imaging, the physical therapist will proceed with treatment after imaging is completed or refer you to another provider, dependent upon imaging results. Aspen Valley Hospital is the only hospital or physical therapy clinic in the Roaring Fork Valley that offers image ordering for patients.

It is mandatory to refer patients to an appropriate provider if their condition or injury falls outside the scope of physical therapy care.
Medicare and Medicaid are not accepted for direct access care at this time.


Make an appointment

To learn more about direct access and make an appointment, please call the Rehabilitation Services department at 970.544.1177.

0401 Castle Creek Road
Aspen, CO 81611

Contact AVH