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Statewide campaign touts benefits of physical therapy

A physical therapy association on Thursday launched a website and digital campaign to promote the benefits of physical therapy, including to help in recovery from COVID-19.

The website PTforMe.org lists a wide range of conditions - from cancer to incontinence to pelvic organ prolapse to COVID-19 recovery - that can benefit from physical therapy.

“The goal of PT for Me is to educate the public, educate the community that they can seek out a physical therapist to help with all these other issues as well as general wellness and prevention of injuries and disease,” Florida Physical Therapy Association president Jamie Dyson told The News Service of Florida.

Another part of the campaign touts that patients can be treated by physical therapists for 30 days without physician referrals, under state law.

While a goal of the website is to educate the public about the 30-day direct access law, Dyson said the association would prefer patients not face such a limit.

“Again, our goal, of course, is for unrestricted direct access. It’s been a work in progress over the years,” said Dyson, a physical therapist who works at Central Florida Regional Hospital. “We’ll eventually get to unrestricted direct access.”

Florida Medical Association general counsel Jeff Scott said Thursday his physicians’ group “has no significant” issues with the physical therapy website or the efforts to educate the public about the care physical therapists provide. However, Scott said the FMA would oppose any effort to expand direct access to physical therapists beyond the current 30-day limit.

Dyson, meanwhile, said early intervention by physical therapists helps improve the health of patients and can help reduce health care costs.

The group in 2018 also launched the website PTforPain.org to promote physical therapy as an alternative to opioids. Since its launch, that website has garnered more than 35,000 unique visitors, according to the association.