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Do you need a prescription to be seen at Origin? The short answer is yes.

It is a legal requirement that you have a prescription on file while seeing a licensed physical therapist in the United States.

Pro tip: it's best to get one ASAP so you don't have to think about it.

Not obtaining a prescription will eventually impact your access to care and/or insurance coverage. This is determined by whether a prescription is required by your insurance policy, and the direct access laws in your state. Please see below for more information:

General FAQ

1. How do I get a prescription?

  • To obtain a prescription, please schedule a visit with your primary care doctor, OBGYN, or other doctor familiar with what's brought you to PT.
  • The prescription can be faxed to 310-479-2329 or You can also bring a physical copy in to your appointment.

2. Who can write a prescription?


  • M.D. (Doctor)
  • D.O. (Osteopath)
  • D.P.M. (Podiatrist)


  • M.D. (Doctor)
  • D.O. (Osteopath)
  • D.P.M. (Podiatrist)
  • D.D.S. (Dentist)
  • D.C. (Chiropractor)
  • NP/APRN/ACNS (Nurse Practitioner)
  • P.A. (Physicians Assistant)

New York

  • M.D. (Doctor)
  • D.O. (Osteopath)
  • D.P.M. (Podiatrist)
  • D.D.S. (Dentist)
  • NP (Nurse Practitioner)
  • CNM/CM (Midwife)

3. What should my prescription have on it?

  • At least two pieces of your identifying information (full name and date of birth are generally best).
  • Orders from the doctor around diagnosis, frequency and duration of treatment. Your doctor can provide a frequency and duration for care if they have something in mind (example: "treat 1x per week for 6 weeks") or they can specifically state "at the discretion of the PT" or "PRN".
  • Clear statement that the prescription is for “physical therapy”
  • The doctor's signature, and date the order was signed (electronically or physically, no stamps).

4. If I'm a returning patient with an old prescription on file, do I need to get another one?

Yes, if your insurance requires a prescription you will need to obtain a new prescription each time you're coming back to Origin for a new evaluation.

5. I have a referral but I don't have a prescription, is that OK?

Your referral can be used to satisfy prescription requirements, so long as the referral includes all the required components of a prescription (see #3).

6. What is the difference between a prescription and a referral?


  • You can think of a prescription as your doctor signing off on the care plan you're receiving at physical therapy.
  • It's exchanged between a doctor, and the extended provider their patient is seeing and is a legal requirement to see a licensed PT in the US.
  • Some insurance policies also require a referral to be on file.


  • You can think of a referral as your doctor asking your insurance company for permission to send you to an extended provider.
  • While prescriptions are a legal requirement, referrals are an insurance requirement in order to have coverage for visits with a physical therapist.
  • If your insurance requires a referral (most common for HMO policies), your doctor must send a referral order to your insurance company, AND your insurance company must approve the referral before you come to Origin.
  • If the above does not occur before your first visit with Origin, you will not have insurance coverage for your visits.

Insurance Requirement FAQ

1. Can you tell me whether my insurance requires a prescription?

As a courtesy, we will verify your benefits approximately two days days before your evaluation. At that time, we'll send you an email with the details of your policy, as well as whether a prescription is required for benefits. This requirement will be outlined in the email as “Prescription Required for Benefits”.

2. When do I need to submit a prescription if it's required by my insurance?

We highly encourage that you bring a prescription to your first appointment so there is no impact to your care. If your insurance denies your claim due to a missing prescription, you may be responsible for the full cost of your visit.

Direct Access FAQ

1. What are direct access laws?

You're legally required to have a prescription on file in order to see a licensed Physical Therapist in the US. However, some states have enacted "direct access" laws, which create a little wiggle room for that legal requirement. Direct access laws allow you to see a PT for a certain amount of time before obtaining a prescription.

2. When do I need a prescription under direct access?

Each state has different direct access requirements. Please find your state below:

  • California: After 45 days, or 12 visits from your first appointment (whichever comes first)
  • New York: After 30 days, or 10 visits from your first appointment (whichever comes first)
  • Texas: Within 10 days of your first appointment

3. What happens if I don't get a prescription before my direct access runs out?

If you have not been able to obtain a prescription from your doctor before the direct access cutoff, you will not be able to schedule additional visits with your PT.

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