Dry needling is now included in the scope of practice for licensed physical therapists (PTs) in Utah thanks to legislation signed into law by Utah Governor Gary R. Herbert on April 1.
"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, in an APTA press release. "This is a step in the right direction to ensure that all patients have access to the care they need from their physical therapists."
The change was initiated after a December 2013 Utah Attorney General opinion that dry needling was not within the legal scope of practice for PTs. The Utah Chapter of APTA pushed for the legislation in what chapter President Curtis Jolley, PT, MOMT, described as "a great team effort and win for the practice of physical therapy in the state of Utah."
The new law requires PTs to meet additional education and training requirements for the intervention, and restricts the activity to PTs who have been licensed for 2 or more years.
Making an ethical decision or evaluating the ethics of a colleague's action requires careful consideration of facts and circumstances that can vary dramatically from one situation to the next. It can be a complicated process for any practitioner, particularly when opinions on ethics can differ, but familiarity with ethical decision-making can help—that's the thinking behind a reorganized APTA members-only offering that collects all of PT in Motion's "Ethics in Practice" articles into one easy-to-access webpage.
The articles, a regular column of the monthly APTA member magazine and written by Nancy R. Kirsch, PT, DPT, PhD, tackle current and complex ethical issues as they appear in real-world practice. APTA's webpage organizes the articles by topic as well as by their relationship to provisions in the Code of Ethics for the Physical Therapist and Standards of Ethical Conduct for the Physical Therapist Assistant. The page also includes links to articles that guide readers through an ethical decision-making process.
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