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Michigan patients no longer required to be referred by doctors to physical therapists

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LANSING (WKZO) -- Governor Rick Snyder this week signed legislation that will change state law to no longer require that all patients of physical therapists be referred to them by a physician. Michigan was the only state to still require that a doctor refer all patients to the therapists, something which critics said made it more time consuming and costly for patients to get adequate help with physical injuries.

Julie Rogers, a Kalamazoo County Commissioner and physical therapist at Borgess Woodbridge in Portage, was on hand as the governor signed the new law this week. She tells us that it was mostly stubbornness that stopped lawmakers from approving such a change. She thanks legislation sponsor State Representative Margaret O'Brien for introducing it.

"Whenever legislators have a personal story, it makes a huge difference, and kudos to State Representative Margaret O'Brien who really was a champion for our bill," Rogers told WKZO. "She had a personal experience where she did not get physical therapy for an injury, and she was very upset about that and very driven because of her personal experience."

Rogers also notes that state lawmakers who previously had blocked such a change in the law from being approved are now no longer a factor in Lansing. The new law takes effect on January first.

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