Achieving direct access had long been a major initiative for APTA. In October 2009, the association hosted and led the International Summit on Direct Access and Advanced Scope of Practice in Physical Therapy, a conference that was organized to investigate advanced models of physical therapist practice both in the United States and internationally. The event took place at Maryland’s National Harbor and was cosponsored by APTA, the Canadian Physiotherapy Association, and the World Confederation for Physical therapy. It included participants from more than 20 countries.
The goal was to learn from and leverage international partnerships and strategies on advancing physical therapist practice, including primary care models in physical therapy. Conference speakers presented research, best-practice models for direct access and advanced/extended scope of practice, and international perspectives on policy and leadership in physical therapy.
PTs from around the world heard that direct access to a physical therapist is proven to be safe and results in improved health outcomes, more timely care, higher patient satisfaction, and lower costs for all health systems, whether public or private.