More needs to be done to care for the physical therapy workforce.
Physical therapy is recognized as an essential health care service, yet PTs and PTAs are often excluded from state and federal programs that would incentivize individuals from pursuing careers in the field through student loan debt relief or assistance in defraying the cost of education.
Why It Matters
The need for care from PTs and PTAs is rising, but education costs are high. In order to expand the physical therapy workforce to meet this need, more needs to be done to relieve the financial pressures faced by the profession.
APTA supports legislation, such as the Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act, that allows PTs and PTAs to access federal student loan debt forgiveness program and other incentives to pursue a career in physical therapy.
Two important pieces of legislation have been introduced that could have significant impact on the physical therapy workforce.
The Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act (H.R. 3759/S. 2676) would allow physical therapists to participate in the National Health Service Corps Loan Repayment Program, helping to ensure that individuals in rural and underserved areas have access to needed care.
The Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act (H.R. 3320/S. 1679) would provide scholarships and stipends to accredited higher education programs to recruit qualified individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, to pursue education in physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, respiratory therapy, and audiology.
Aug 12, 2021 / Position Paper
Jul 15, 2021 / Position Paper
Additional Education and Workforce Legislation Advocacy Content
Oct 15, 2021 / News
The 2021 APTA Flash Action Strategy begins with a virtual event, followed by a two-day effort to support a proposed federal grants program.
Oct 12, 2021 / News
Retooling the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program opens up the possibility of greater participation — including for some PTs and PTAs.
May 21, 2021 / News
APTA-supported bipartisan legislation would help 5 health care professions, including physical therapy, increase student diversity.
Nov 25, 2020 / Perspective
OSHA has stepped up its enforcement efforts.
Jul 8, 2020 / Review
Researchers compared the percentage of program graduates of color with several institution characteristics — and found challenges.
Jun 15, 2020 / Roundup
An emergency regulatory relief order is an opportunity to share our ideas on making lasting change at several federal agencies.
Jun 10, 2020 / News
The 2020 APTA House of Delegates made important decisions — and demonstrated its adaptability.
Jun 4, 2020 / News
The new report says that education debt limits life choices of PTs and PTAs, and describes potential costs as a "deterrent to promising students." But there may be ways to ease the burdens.
Dec 31, 2019 / Review
A limited study finds high debt-to-income ratios among PTs -- higher than newly minted family medicine physicians and veterinarians.
Jul 10, 2019 / News
A bill seeks to provide $5 million per year in scholarships and stipends aimed at increasing diversity.