Utah Legislation Includes Dry Needling in the PT Scope of Practice

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ALEXANDRIA, VA, April 1, 2014 — On April 1, Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert signed into law HB 367. The legislation amends the Utah physical therapy statute to specifically add dry needling to the physical therapist scope of practice.

"We are pleased that the Utah Chapter took this legislative action to ensure that physical therapists in the state are able to legally provide the full range interventions within the physical therapist scope of practice," said APTA President Paul A. Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS. "This is a step in the right direction to ensure that all patients have access to the care they need from their physical therapists."

Dry needling is a skilled intervention that uses a thin filiform needle to penetrate the skin and stimulate underlying myofascial trigger points and muscular and connective tissues for the management of neuromusculoskeletal pain and movement impairments. It is recognized as being part of the legal scope of practice for physical therapists in a majority of US jurisdictions.

The legislation was sought by the Utah Physical Therapy Association (Utah Chapter) after the Utah Attorney General issued an opinion in December 2013 that dry needling was not within the legal scope of practice for physical therapists.

"We had great support from local therapists that made it very helpful working through the issues that came up with the acupuncturists, chiropractors, and physicians. In addition, our lobbyist did an amazing job; this effort would not have happened without his experience, contacts, and the respect he has on the hill," said Curtis Jolley, PT, MOMT, president of the Utah Physical Therapy Association. "It was a great team effort and win for the practice of physical therapy in the state of Utah."

HB 367 includes language requiring that a physical therapist has held a license to practice for at least 2 years. The legislation also outlines additional education and training requirements a physical therapist must meet to perform dry needling.

The Utah Physical Therapy Association is a local chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association representing more than 800 members.

The American Physical Therapy Association represents more than 88,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy nationwide. Learn more about conditions physical therapists can treat, and find a physical therapist in your area at www.MoveForwardPT.com. Consumers are encouraged to follow us on Twitter (@MoveForwardPT) and Facebook.