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. 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 that allows PTs and PTAs to access federal student loan debt repayment programs and other incentives to pursue a career in physical therapy.
Two important initiatives are expected to be introduced that could have significant impact on the physical therapy workforce.
The Physical Therapist Workforce and Patient Access Act, introduced in the previous Congress, 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. APTA is working with members of Congress in both parties to reintroduce this bill.
The Allied Health Workforce Diversity Act, signed into law at the end of 2022, is a new federal program that will 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. APTA is working to secure the necessary federal funding is appropriated for this program.
Provide your support easily via APTA's Patient Action Center.
Aug 12, 2021 / Position Paper
The inclusion of PTs in the NHSC Loan Repayment Program will help to ensure treatment options are available to underserved communities.
Jul 15, 2021 / Position Paper
By providing colleges and universities funding to attract and retain students from underrepresented and disadvantaged backgrounds, this legislation would boost the number of minorities in the health profession workforce and correct the underrepresentation
Additional Education and Workforce Legislation Advocacy Content
Feb 8, 2023 / News
The association's public policy priorities are aimed at unleashing physical therapy's potential to take on pressing health care challenges.
Dec 20, 2022 / News
The omnibus package provides insufficient relief, but it does include several wins for the profession in other areas.
Sep 20, 2022 / Roundup
Here's the status of APTA-supported legislation on the fee schedule, telehealth, prior authorization, the PTA differential, and more.
Sep 12, 2022 / News
The 2022 APTA Flash Action Strategy is a two-day effort to support the inclusion of PTs in the National Health Services Corps.
Aug 1, 2022 / Roundup
District offices, town halls, maybe a visit to your clinic? Here are some topics worth mentioning.
Jul 5, 2022 / News
In an advocacy win, APTA-supported recommendations aimed at increasing veterans' access to PTs and PTAs are now part of a spending bill.
Mar 18, 2022 / News
The APTA-backed federal legislation would provide scholarships and stipends to increase diversity in physical therapy education programs.
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.