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  • Multistate Practice Privileges to Become a Reality in 3 States

    It's on: 2 years after its launch as a concept, the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact (PTLC) is poised to become fully operational in 3 states, allowing physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) licensed in 1 of the states to obtain practice privileges in the other 2. The commission overseeing the compact system expects that over the coming months, the list of participating states will continue to grow as the 21 jurisdictions that have already signed on to the PTLC implement its provisions, and even more states adopt compact legislation. The compact was a project spearheaded by APTA and the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).

    Beginning July 9, PTs and PTAs in Missouri, North Dakota, and Tennessee will be able to purchase the ability to legally practice in any or all of the 3 states. It's the first practical application of a concept that could revolutionize licensure mobility for the physical therapy profession by reducing the need for licensed PTs and PTAs to apply for separate licenses in additional states in which they want to practice. (Editor's note: for a more in-depth look at the system, check out this 2016 PT in Motion magazine article.)

    The road to becoming operational depended on meeting 2 important challenges: convincing state legislatures to change their licensing laws to allow for the compact system, and creating a centralized commission to oversee issuance—as well as denial and suspension—of compact privileges. To set up the Physical Therapy Compact Commission, a critical mass of 10 states needed to change their laws. That target was reached in April 2017, and the commission was established soon after. Its website offers information on the system and an online application for privileges.

    Rather than contacting individual licensing boards, PTs and PTAs must apply for privileges through the ptcompact.org website.

    Twenty-one states have adopted the compact language. In addition to the 3 states flipping the switch on July 9 are Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington, and West Virginia. Compact legislation has been introduced in Pennsylvania and is expected to be introduced in more states during future legislative sessions. The Physical Therapy Compact Commission's website features a map that tracks the status of compact participation.

    The conceptualization of the compact system was a joint effort by APTA and FSBPT, but much of the advocacy for change had to be done by state chapters of APTA, said Angela Shuman, APTA director of state affairs.

    "The launch of the compact is an historic moment for the physical therapy profession, but it never could have happened without the dedication and hard work of the chapters and their members," Shuman said. "APTA is proud that this collaborative effort between APTA, FSBPT, and our state chapters have made this concept a reality. The gains we've made so far have created momentum that will help the program continue to grow."


    • This is a good start, but wouldn’t it be prudent for states that connect get together and make this thing local, then hopefully this should be a national concept, once you pass the test you should be able to practice in any state. Thanks to all who have put in the work to make this happen.

      Posted by Jeremy Foster on 6/23/2018 9:46 AM

    • The wording is wrong. To do the compact your home state of License has to join the compact. If you are Licensed in a compact state but your home state isn’t then you can’t paricipate

      Posted by Theresa Ihlenhake on 6/25/2018 9:34 AM

    • I agree with Jeremy comments 6/23. Once you complete your licensure exam in one state you should be able to practice in any state. Also the fee should include your first year APTA membership.

      Posted by Kevin Lacey PT, DPT on 6/28/2018 3:43 PM

    • Thanks to APTA and other organizations and people who made this happen👍👍👍

      Posted by Fatima Laquindanum on 6/28/2018 4:09 PM

    • Agree with Kevin’s comments above! Fee should include first year of APTA membership. So important and what a great opportunity to promote healthy growth of the APTA.

      Posted by Meredith on 6/29/2018 10:30 AM

    • Hard work from many have moved us forward. Thank those many in the backgrounds. Let's look forward to help society in improving access to PT - My challenge to us is be nimble to 10 states then be 30 states and eventual all states!

      Posted by Alan Lee on 6/29/2018 11:24 PM

    • Does APTA anticipate that these states will now (or soon) have CEU reciprocity so that if a CE course is approved in one state the other (compacted) state's licensing Boards will accept that approval? Just a comment that AOTA and ASHA approve CEUs for their disciplines for most states and APTA currently has no mechanism other than FSBPT which is a very laborious application.

      Posted by Barbara Goldfarb on 7/10/2018 11:43 AM

    • Thanks for the question, Barbara. The compact does not address state continuing education course approval processes; however, individuals with compact privileges will only need to maintain continuing competence/continuing education requirements in states where they hold a license and not where they hold compact privileges.

      Posted by APTA Staff on 7/11/2018 8:31 AM

    • Yes, I agree with Dr. Lee! Thanks to all those in the trenches to get the compact off the ground! A wonderful concept. A win for the profession and those working with sports teams, teaching or travel jobs. We accomplish more together than individually. Thank you to all who brought this to the top of our priorities.

      Posted by Cristina Bracamonte on 9/1/2018 12:30 AM

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