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  • Don't Stop Believin': Multistate Licensure Compact Set to Begin in 2018

    The possibility that physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) could one day gain practice privileges in multiple states without having to obtain multiple state licenses is now a reality. This week, Washington signed on to the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact (PTLC), bringing the number of participating states to 10, the magic number of states needed to officially establish the system. Next up, actual implementation and an ongoing press for more states to join.

    On April 25, Washington Gov Jan Inslee signed the bill that added Washington to Arizona, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, and Utah as states that have agreed to join a system that will allow PTs and PTAs to apply for privilege to practice in any of the participating states without having to be licensed in each state. It's a milestone for the physical therapy profession that opens the door for increased mobility.

    The PTLC is based on the establishment of a commission—a governing body comprising representatives from every state that participates in the compact—that oversees rules, applications, and the issuing of privileges to practice in other participating states. Once the system is up and running, PTs and PTAs will be able to select the additional participating states in which they'd like to practice and apply for privileges, all while maintaining licensure in only their "home" state (for a more in-depth look at the system, check out this 2016 PT in Motion magazine article).

    Compact arrangements exist in a few other professions, but it was the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) that got the ball rolling for PTs and PTAs. APTA joined FSBPT in a collaborative effort to work out a system that would both protect the public and make sense for the profession. Once the architecture of the system was created, it was time to build the compact through work with individual state APTA chapters, state licensing boards, and the legislatures themselves.

    The hurdle? A minimum of 10 states were necessary to establish the commission and get the ball rolling. Last year, Oregon, Arizona, Tennessee and Missouri adopted PTLC legislation. This year, the addition of 6 more states brought that number to 10. And away we go.

    The waiting is the hardest part
    But hold on: Washington's adoption on PTLC doesn't mean PTs and PTAs can now start practicing in compact states, says Angela Shuman, APTA's director of state affairs.

    "Right now, it's important to understand that nothing has changed in terms of practicing across state lines for anybody, even after Washington," Shuman said. "To participate in the compact, PTs and PTAs will need to apply for privileges with the Physical Therapy Compact Commission, but that commission hasn't been established yet."

    Shuman explained that after the commission is established, with each participating state naming a member, it must create rules for how the system will operate, including establishing fees. At the same time, logistical and technological issues will need to be resolved. These elements probably won't be in place until the first half of 2018, according to Shuman.

    "Until then, it's business as usual," Shuman said. "If you want to work in another state, you have to apply for a license."

    You can't always get what you want
    Even after the commission is up and running, PTs and PTAs should be aware that the compact may not be for everyone.

    "There will be strict criteria for participation in the compact," Shuman said. Among the requirements:

    • The applicant can have no limitation from any state on a license to practice.
    • No adverse licensing board action can have been taken against the applicant for at least 2 years prior to the application.
    • The applicant must meet any jurisprudence requirements (typically an additional examination) that may be required by a compact state for which privileges are requested.
    • The participant must report any adverse regulatory board action from a nonparticipating state within 30 days of the action being taken.

    Don't stop thinkin' about tomorrow
    While the addition of Washington into the PTLC was a landmark event, it’s just the beginning. The ultimate goal of the PTLC is to gain participation from every state, making it possible for PTs and PTAs to gain practice privileges anywhere in US, all while holding only 1 license. According to Shuman, compact legislation is still pending in a few states this year, with the possibility of more states taking on the legislation in 2018.

    "Now that the compact can become operational, we're hoping this inspires even more APTA state chapters to advocate for compact legislation," Shuman said. "Staff at APTA national can help with this effort, and we now have a track record from 10 states to help guide us in the advocacy process." Shuman urges anyone interested in pursuing compact legislation to contact the APTA state affairs staff.

    Want to keep up with what's happening at the state level? Check out APTA's State Legislative Tracker, an interactive map that allows you to select a topic and track legislative status. To learn more about the issues and find out how you can help, visit the association's state advocacy webpage.

    2017 0424 - Compact Act Signing News
    Washington Governor Jay Inslee (seated) signs legislation that makes the state the 10th to join the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact. On hand for the signing were, from left: Rep. Nicole Macri, a sponsor of the bill; Melissa Johnson, lobbyist for the Physical Therapy Association of Washington (PTWA); Mark San Souci from the State Liaison Office of the US Department of Defense; Andy Wodka, PT, DPT, MBA; Emilie Jones, PT, DPT; Ross Baker, lobbyist for Virginia Mason Hospital; Heather Cavaness, PTWA staff member.



    • It will be great to see this occur on the east coast as well!!!

      Posted by Jodi Barth on 4/26/2017 10:41 PM

    • Great headers! Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac, Journey You're rockin' my songs!

      Posted by Charles Richardson -> =GR^EM on 4/27/2017 6:38 AM

    • We now have NPI numbers we should be able to apply and do testing for a national number to allow us to practice in all states

      Posted by Annare Loubser on 4/27/2017 8:52 AM

    • What is the criteria with those that are therapists from other countries?

      Posted by Mary Kaye Gorrilla on 4/28/2017 12:14 AM

    • Kudos🙌🏼 to everyone who put this together. I may start supporting the APTA again someday if they continue to demonstrate some usefulness like this.

      Posted by Mike on 4/28/2017 10:05 AM

    • It would be great to get this in the southern states. And , what are the criteria for foreign trained therapists?

      Posted by Beth Awoosanya on 4/28/2017 3:04 PM

    • This is a long time coming!! Come on NJ & PA let's make his happen

      Posted by Pamela Randolph on 4/28/2017 3:48 PM

    • The east coast also need a multi state license. From NY, NJ, PA, MD, DC , VA and WV

      Posted by Ana Quinones on 4/28/2017 5:41 PM

    • Awesome! For someone who travels quite frequently in the sports medicine field, this would be very beneficial. Lets hope it continues to gain momentum with more states involved!

      Posted by Michael Merrick -> BLW]@O on 5/1/2017 4:07 PM

    • That would be very helpful. What do Occupational Therapy Practitioners need to do to get the multi state license enacted?

      Posted by Suzanne Andrews on 5/4/2017 7:31 AM

    • Great job. This has been along time in coming. Hopefully Florida will join.

      Posted by Anne Kenny on 5/14/2017 4:13 PM

    • Can't wait to see what happens with foreign educated PT's even though they are licensed here and practicing for more than 10yrs. I hope the legislation allows this across the board for all PTs.

      Posted by Rashmita Patel on 7/15/2017 7:54 PM

    • What does this mean? "There will be strict criteria for participation in the compact," Shuman said. Among the requirements: "The applicant can have no limitation from any state on a license to practice." Right now my home state in SC. Because that is where my permanent home address is? But I took the board and started in NC. I am licensed in SC NC MS VA and CA soon

      Posted by Anthony Rossetti on 11/7/2017 10:17 PM

    • We're nearing being halfway through 2018 and there have been no updates to the status. No information about establishing rules or any progress on the various obstacles. Where can we get CURRENT information?

      Posted by Susan Connell -> =HW_@J on 5/5/2018 1:25 PM

    • I agree, what is the update on CURRENT information? I just went through 2 months of insanity trying to transfer my PT license from Texas to Ohio. It was ridiculous, and I have a current valid license in Texas with no violations. After this experience, as well as dealing with the Ohio PT board as a whole, I will be keeping my Texas license "just in case". I am appalled at the incompetence of the Ohio PT Board and the fact there is nothing I can do about it, my hands are tied.

      Posted by Robin Kananen -> @KQ]CO on 5/17/2018 8:41 PM

    • Information about the status of the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact can be found at ptcompact.org. This is the website of the Physical Therapy Compact Commission, the entity that is administering the compact in participating states. Once the system is operational, eligible PTs and PTAs in participating states will also be able to purchase compact privileges through this website. A launch date has not yet been set, but is expected sometime this summer.

      Posted by APTA Staff on 5/18/2018 3:36 PM

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