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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. At what point you are required to obtain a prescription is determined by your insurance policy, and the direct access laws in your state.

Please see below for more information about the insurance benefit requirements, and Direct Access laws where you live:

General Information

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 info@theoriginway.com. You can also bring a physical copy in to your appointment.

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)

What should my prescription have on it?

Your prescription should include...

  • 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. The doctor 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".
  • Clearly state that it is for “physical therapy” services
  • The doctor's signature, and date the order was signed (electronically or physically).

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.

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. 

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 therapyPT.
  • 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 prescription 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 Benefit Requirement

If your insurance requires a prescription, you will need to have that prescription on file at the time of your first visit so we can continue to schedule your follow-up visits.

How do I know if I need a prescription for insurance benefits?

  • If you'd like to know whether your insurance requires a prescription right away, please call the member services line on your insurance card and ask whether your physical therapy benefits require a prescription.
  • As a courtesy, we will verify your benefits approximately two days days before your evaluation, and send you an email with the details of your policy and whether a prescription is required for benefits. This requirement will be outlined in your benefits email as “Prescription Required for Benefits”.

When do I need to submit a prescription if required for insurance benefits?

  • If your insurance requires a prescription for physical therapy benefits, we will need this after your first appointment so that we can schedule follow-up appointments. If we do not have a prescription by then, we will not be able to see you for additional visits until a valid prescription is received. We highly encourage that you bring a prescription to your first appointment so there is no impact to your care.

Direct Access Laws

State laws require us to have a prescription on file for your visit per even if not required by your insurance. Each state has its own unique laws. 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. See below for more information specific to your state.

When do I need to get a prescription?

  • California: we can see you for 45 days or for 12 visits from your first appointment before we need a prescription.
  • New York: we can see you for 30 days or for 10 visits from your first appointment, whichever comes first, before we need a prescription
  • Texas: we need a prescription within 10 days of your first appointment
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