A physical therapist speaks to a patient over video. People in need of physical therapy could soon have more freedom and flexibility to choose where and how they receive care under a measure led by State Senator Cristina Castro.

“Access to physical therapy can make all the difference for someone recovering from an injury or seeking to relieve chronic pain,” said Castro (D-Elgin). “We also know that telehealth has been a game-changer, helping connect thousands of people to health care providers during and after the pandemic by making it more accessible.”

Castro’s measure would join Illinois with 23 other states that have permanently allowed physical therapists to provide telehealth services. Illinois allowed physical therapists to provide telehealth services during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the state has not passed legislation enabling them to continue this practice.

House Bill 5087 would extend permanent telehealth services to physical therapy while still ensuring people are able to request and receive in-person care when needed. The legislation lays out specified conditions a physical therapist or physical therapy assistant would need to follow in order to provide physical therapy telehealth services.

“If residents can be more easily served through telehealth, with an option to see their providers in-person at any time, they should be able to do so,” Castro said. “This will give patients and physical therapists more freedom and flexibility to chart a care plan that works best for their needs.”

House Bill 5087 passed the Senate Licensed Activities Committee Wednesday.