Each and every day across Louisiana, physicians diagnose the cause of back and neck pain in their patients. We use X-rays, lab work, MRI or CAT scans, and a physical examination to diagnose and prepare a treatment plan. Sometimes, sometimes, I have to inform a patient that the diagnosis is metastatic cancer, a heart condition, a primary bone tumor, a degenerative disk or other serious condition. I am pleased to report that timely and accurate diagnoses have saved many of my patients’ lives!

The proposed legislation would permit physical therapists to treat undiagnosed conditions for as long as six weeks. This is alarming! Physical therapists are not trained to render a medical diagnosis, and they cannot use imaging or lab tests.

The Louisiana Orthopaedic Association and nine health-related professional organizations are strongly opposed to legislation, SB291 and HB623. This legislation is being pushed at the national level by the physical therapy trade association and their state affiliates.

So, what is right for the patient? Our current health system enables patients to see a physical therapist if they have been diagnosed within 90 days. This system keeps the patient care team concept and respects the need for early diagnosis and can save lives. The proposed law eliminates the team concept and early diagnosis.

As a physician, I am greatly concerned that the national physical therapy association has gotten this legislation passed in other states through their lobbying efforts. This legislation is unsafe. Please let your legislators know that you oppose SB291 and HB623 because of patient safety.

Dr. Ricardo Rodriguez

Louisiana Orthopaedic Association

Baton Rouge