Legislation introduced on December 8 by Sen Susan Collins (R-ME) would add physical therapists (PTs) and occupational therapists (OTs) to the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship, which currently offers tuition assistance for physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, optometrists, psychologists, physician assistants, pharmacists, and veterinarians serving in the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
Collins had proposed the addition of PTs and OTs to the scholarship program in an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012. In talking points on the amendment, which was not considered due to time limitation on debate, she said that data provided by the Department of Defense indicates there is a shortage of both PTs and OTs in the Air Force and the Navy—in active duty, reserve, civilian, and contractor positions. Collins called the inclusion of PTs and OTs an "important insurance policy against a shortfall of these medical professionals who help our wounded warriors return to living full and independent lives."
APTA is awaiting word on how the bill (S 1976) is expected to move through the legislative process.