Legislation that would provide for direct access to physical therapy services for patients in Alabama took a step forward yesterday when the state’s Senate Health Committee voted 5-2 to accept amendments to Senate Bill 361 that were proposed by the Alabama Chapter.
Yesterday's vote in the Senate Health Committee was bolstered by a recent PT Legislative Day & Rally hosted by the Alabama Chapter to lobby in support of SB 361 and the House's version of direct access legislation, HB 202. Approximately 300 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy converged on the Alabama state legislature in Montgomery on April 26 to rally in support of direct access for the state's residents. The day started off with the chapter's Legislative Chair Emmett Parker, PT, MS, ATC, and former chapter President Dave Morris, PT, PhD, providing registrants with advocacy training on direct access, tips on how to meet with their state legislators, and information about their scheduled appointments. Attendees then met with their statehouse representatives and state senators. Many of the physical therapy students explained to their legislators that they would potentially leave the state following graduation given that Alabama is 1 of only 2 states left that has no form of direct access. Following the legislative visits, attendees gathered for a rally in support of the legislation where they heard from Rep Ed Henry, sponsor of HB 202.
APTA awarded the Alabama Chapter a 2011 direct access grant to assist with this year's efforts and provided staff assistance for the rally.