A Senate-approved bill that would allow patients to see physical therapists without a doctor’s referral also has the support of the House as it nears final passage.

West Monroe Representative Frank Hoffman opposes the legislation. He says patients should see a doctor before seeing physical therapists, because doctors have more medial training.

“He would not be an expert to do those things, but he would have training, and of course the training is good for physical therapists, but nothing like doctors’ training,” Hoffman said.

Under the current law, patients must get a diagnosis from a doctor before seeing a PT. Hoffman says if physical therapists missed something in a patient’s diagnosis, they could seriously hurt that person, even paralyze them.

“That wouldn’t be a normal situation, but if it happened just once out of a thousand, that’s a real problem,” Hoffman said.

Ville Platte Representative Harvey LeBas is the House sponsor of the bill. He says Louisiana is one of only 7 states with this kind of law. He says because of this, PT grads are leaving Louisiana.

“We are currently losing approximately 20% of our recent graduates to other states,” LeBas said.

LeBas says physical therapists have the necessary training to see patients and take care of them.

“Let’s use them. They’re trained. They’re treated and know how to handle people, and they know how to recognize the disease states,” LeBas said.

The measure passed in the lower chamber on a 65-33 vote and heads back to the Senate for concurrence on House language.