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  • From the House of Delegates: New Consolidated Policy Covers a Host of State Licensure Topics; Includes 2 New Key Positions

    Anyone interested in understanding APTA's approach to ensuring consumer protection in physical therapy through state licensure of physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) can now turn to one resource that, among other positions, advocates for greater licensure portability, supports restricted licenses for PTs in clinical internships, and brings policies up to date with recent House decisions in related areas. The new policy was approved by the APTA House of Delegates at its 2014 session June 9-11 in Charlotte, North Carolina (RC 10-14).

    In what was largely a "modernization project to reduce redundancies," according to APTA Vice President Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD, OCS, the House voted to adopt a policy titled "Consumer Protection Through Licensure of Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants." Essentially, the new policy consolidates positions and policies that existed in 11 separate documents into a single policy that addresses many aspects related to state licensure and regulation. The new resource policy provides APTA’s positions on a variety of state licensure issues including state licensure designations, minimum qualifications and requirements for licensure, protected terms and titles, temporary exemptions to state licensure, and continuing education and continuing competence as a condition for licensure renewal.

    For the most part, the policy incorporates language from existing APTA positions; however, the new document does include 2 new positions that address licensure's reach and portability.

    Specifically, the Consumer Protection document outlines APTA's support for provisional or restricted state licensure for student PTs in clinical internships, as well as for exam-eligible graduates of accredited PT and PTA programs, or individuals who have completed requirements for graduation.

    The new resource also states that APTA supports licensure models that allow for portability, such as an interstate licensure compact for physical therapy.

    Akin to driver's licenses systems, an interstate licensure compact is a legal agreement among participating states that allows for recognition of one state license among multiple states. An interstate licensure compact—achievable only through the adoption of uniform legislation in multiple states—would reduce the requirement for a PT to hold multiple state licenses and would facilitate practice via telehealth. The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) has formed a task force that is investigating what an interstate compact might look like for the physical therapy profession.

    The consumer protection policy adopted by the House also incorporates technical revisions to existing positions to provide for better clarity, as well as language that brings the policy in line with actions taken by this year’s House in other areas (see related PT in Motion News stories on accountability of care and regulatory designation of the PT).

    APTA members can view videos of all open sessions of the 2014 House of Delegates online. Final language for all actions taken by the House will be available by September after the minutes have been approved.

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