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  • House Adopts Position on PT Responsibility and Accountability

    After many hours of thoughtful discussion and debate, APTA's House of Delegates (House) last week amended the position Physical Therapist Responsibility and Accountability for the Delivery of Care that was first adopted at the 2011 House. The position confirms that physical therapy is provided by, or under the direction and supervision of, a physical therapist (PT). Evaluation remains the complete responsibility of the PT. 

    In its deliberations, the House cited the ways that APTA's Vision 2020 and Standards of Practice for Physical Therapy support the position. However, the House noted that current APTA positions, standards, guidelines, policies, and procedures may be in conflict with the new position as some of them stipulate the use of specific personnel (ie physical therapist assistants and aides) rather than recognize the responsibility and accountability that accompany the independent judgment of contemporary physical therapist practice, which characterizes the autonomous professional. Thus, the position will take effect upon the implementation of necessary initiatives in education, practice, payment, regulation, and research, and adoption of requisite APTA positions, standards, guidelines, policies, and procedures.  

    In discussing this issue, the House also commented on the need for PTs to respond to changes resulting from health care reform, including new models of care that might provide opportunities for PT leadership. Accordingly, APTA will explore practice models that are responsive to the needs of society and adaptable to the changing health care environment. Steps toward the adoption of any new practice models will include:

    • determination of changes needed, including scope and feasibility;
    •  timing and resources required to adopt any and all new models;
    • amendment of requisite APTA positions, standards, guidelines, policies, and procedures;
    • an interim report to the 2013 House and a final report no later than the 2014 House; and
    • approval of any model(s) by the House. [RC-2] 

    Draft language adopted by the 2012 House will be available on the House Community next week. Final language for all actions taken by the June 2012 House will be available by September after the minutes have been approved.  


    • I'm assuming this paves the way for people other than PT's and PTA's to provide physical therapy. How unfortunate that after all the hard work of many people to define physical therapy as a service provided only by PT's and PTA's, this change will water down the profession.

      Posted by Ann Frost on 6/18/2012 12:51 AM

    • Although I do not agree with opening the field up to other providers other than PTs and PTAs I do see this as a chance that hopefully the PTA can advance their education and better establish their role in the profession as the best assisting personnel. This will only happen though if PTAs become more active!

      Posted by Constance Calhoun on 6/20/2012 11:53 AM

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