Michigan Passes Legislation to License PTAs

ALEXANDRIA, VA, June 25, 2009 – Michigan Gov Jennifer M. Granholm signed SB 151 into law today, requiring physical therapist assistants (PTAs) to obtain state licensure. Michigan is the 42nd jurisdiction to license PTAs. Thirty-nine other states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico license PTAs; 8 other states regulate PTAs through certification or registration, says the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).

PTAs provide physical therapy services under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist (PT). Licensure for PTAs guarantees that they will have the necessary education and training, and promotes the highest degree of public protection.

"Our efforts to ensure that physical therapy patients will receive the highest quality care from PTAs have paid off," said Michigan Physical Therapy Association President Jake Jakubiak Kovacek, PT. "We're grateful that our lawmakers recognized the importance of this legislation for patient protection and passed SB 151 in its original form."

"The American Physical Therapy Association applauds the Michigan Chapter for its diligence in seeing SB 151 through the legislative process," said APTA President R. Scott Ward, PT, PhD. "Physical therapist assistants are vital contributors of physical therapy services. This licensure provides needed recognition and regulation of their efforts."

The Physical Therapy Board of Licensure and the Michigan Department of Community Health will move forward with the process of promulgating administrative rules, creating a limited license, and distributing the limited license to qualified PTAs by December 31.

The new law also adds term protection for "physiotherapy" and "DPT," and establishes a continuing education requirement as a condition for PT and PTA licensure renewal.

Physical therapists are highly-educated, licensed health care professionals who can help patients reduce pain and improve or restore mobility – in many cases without expensive surgery or the side effects of prescription medications. APTA represents more than 72,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy nationwide. Its purpose is to improve the health and quality of life of individuals through the advancement of physical therapist practice, education, and research. In most states, patients can make an appointment directly with a physical therapist, without a physician referral. Learn more about conditions physical therapists can treat and find a physical therapist in your area at www.moveforwardpt.com.