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The American Physical Therapy Association and the National Athletic Trainers' Association took another major step in working together to advance patient care and population health. These efforts began with a joint statement released December 19, 2018, that called for collaboration around legislative efforts, public relations initiatives, and interprofessional practice, among other areas.

Today, APTA and NATA are proud to release a set of policy principles to advance public health and better meet the needs of their patients. The Joint Policy Principles document demonstrates shared language and understanding in support of optimal patient care. This work is the culmination of many collaborative discussions and affirms APTA's and NATA's concerted commitment to public health and patient care.

"APTA appreciates the collaboration with NATA on developing these joint policy principles," said APTA President Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD. "We believe these principles will assist the two professions in our collaborative efforts to meet the overwhelming societal need for better health through exercise and physical activity."

"NATA is proud of our efforts and our pledge to work collaboratively with APTA. The collective approach to developing the joint policy principles exemplifies our commitment to patient access and care. We look forward to our next innovative efforts," said NATA President Tory Lindley, MA, ATC.

APTA and NATA Joint Policy Principles

The American Physical Therapy Association and National Athletic Trainers' Association recognize and respect the value of patient access to essential health services delivered by athletic trainers and physical therapists.

APTA and NATA agree that licensure is the standard for regulation for health care professions. Both organizations commit to support licensure of athletic trainers and physical therapists in all states. APTA and NATA support term and title protection for both professions.

APTA and NATA agree that the delivery of patient care should be consistent with state laws. The preferred standard for the delivery of care by athletic trainers is under the direction of or in consultation with a licensed physician and defined in state law.

APTA and NATA agree that each profession's licensure and scope of practice should be based on their education from an accredited program, training, and passage of an examination for licensure. Neither profession claims ownership of a treatment intervention, modality, setting, or patient population. No professional should perform services outside their own individual education and training.

APTA and NATA commit to collaboration and joint efforts to promote quality care across health care, including legislative efforts, public relations initiatives, and interprofessional practice.

APTA and NATA will promote and encourage leadership and participation of both athletic trainers and physical therapists in initiatives that advance sports health and safety.

The American Physical Therapy Association is an individual membership professional organization representing 100,000-member physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students of physical therapy. APTA seeks to transform society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience.

The National Athletic Trainers' Association is the professional membership association for athletic trainers. Founded in 1950, the NATA has grown to more than 45,000 members worldwide today. The mission of the NATA is to represent, engage, and foster the continued growth and development of the athletic training profession and ATs as unique health care providers.

Watch a recording of APTA President Sharon L. Dunn, PT, PhD, and NATA President Tory Lindley, MA, ATC, discuss the organizations’ work to advance patient care and population health through Joint Policy Principles.


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