PTA Legislative Issues

High Co-Pay Senate/Assembly Bill, Workers Compensation, and Title Protection

See following link for updates on these vital and important topics affecting the profession of physical therapy:

New York Physical Therapy Association - Legislative Information

Mandatory Continuing Education

On July 8, 2008, the Governor (Patterson) signed into law a bill that required mandatory education for Physical Therapists and Physical Therapist Assistants licensed/certified in New York State.

The law is described in detail on the New York State Department of Education web site†. A few key elements are the following:

  • 36 hours of continuing education are required over each registration period (3 years)
  • The law became effective on September 1, 2009; CEUs taken before September 1, 2009 CANNOT be used to meet the requirement. For those that have renewal dates from January 1, 2010 to October 1, 2012, there will be a proration schedule of 1/2 credit hour per month. Refer to chart† on NYSED web site. Licensees whose registration is due to be renewed on or after October 1, 2012, must complete 1.0 hour of continuing education for each month of the Registration Period.
  • New graduate physical therapists and physical therapist assistants will NOT have to meet this requirement during their first 3 year license/certification timeframe.

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Two Bill Extensions of NYS Practice Act Affecting PTAs Become Law
With Sunset Clauses Continuing (see expiration repeal dates below)

Two physical therapist assistant extender bills were signed into law:

Chapter 258

  • Extends the provisions of Chapter 534 of the Laws of 1993 relating to physical therapist assistants to provide services in home care settings for an additional four years until June 30, 2018. These services are allowed when the supervising physical therapist establishes a program of care for a patient, has an initial joint visit with the patient and the PTA, periodically evaluates and treats such patient and provides a final evaluation to determine if the treatment plan should be terminated.

Chapter 252

  • Extends the provisions of Chapter 20 of the Laws of 1998 relating to physical therapist assistant services in elementary and secondary schools for an additional 5 years until June 30, 2020. This law allows physical therapist assistants to provide therapy services in public and private primary and secondary schools for preschoolers.

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Legislative and Practice Links (NYS Education Department)

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Limited Permit Rules Regarding Graduating PTAs

Effective February 9, 2003, limited permits may be issued to physical therapist assistants; the fee is $50. Limited permits for physical therapist assistants are valid for 6 months. An application for a limited permit (Form 5) must be filed with or after submitting an Application for Licensure (Form 1 and $103 fee). A limited permit cannot be issued until all required documents are received, including Form 2 from the college acknowledging that the student has completed all academic and clinical components of the program and is a student in good standing. Only upon documented approval of the limited permit (issuance of limited permit number by New York State), is the graduating PTA able to begin employment as a PTA. The limited permit issued is good for 6 months only. A PTA graduate may apply for and receive confirmation of a second limited permit which is also for 6 months only, but this second limited permit is only approved if the graduate has already taken and failed the National Physical Therapy Examination for PTAs or has already applied to take the NPTE. Therefore a graduating PTA student may only work for up to a total of one year on limited permits. The issuance of a second 6-month term limited permit is NOT automatic. Do not let first permit expire if planning to request a second limited permit.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Only Physical Therapist graduates have a 90 day exemption immediately following graduation, assuming they have abided by several rules. This exemption does NOT apply to physical therapist assistant graduates.

The Department may issue limited permits to an applicant for licensure which authorize the practice of physical therapy under the on-site supervision of a New York State licensed and currently registered physical therapist. On-site supervision means that the supervising physical therapist is in the same facility and readily available to the permittee.

An applicant receiving a limited permit is restricted to employment in a public hospital, an incorporated hospital or clinic, a licensed proprietary hospital, a licensed nursing home, a public health agency, a recognized public or non-public school setting, the office of a licensed physical therapist, or in the civil service of New York State or a political subdivision in New York State.

PTA graduates must obtain a new permit if they change employment after a limited permit is issued. In other words, with each prospective employer, a new Form 5 needs to be submitted to the Office of the Professions. A new Form 5 would also need to be submitted if the graduate continues to work in the same facility but have a different supervisor. A new fee is not required for another permit issued as a result of a change in employment or change of supervisor in the same facility.

It is important for all PTA graduates working under a limited permit to remember that until they obtain their official certification, they must sign documents/charts with their signature followed by ", PTA-limited permittee".

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Information from Office of the Professions

Identification Badges

Currently, Regents Rules define as unprofessional conduct the failure to wear a badge when a licensee is “an employee or operator of a hospital, clinic, group practice or multi-professional facility, registered pharmacy or at a commercial establishment offering health care services to the public.”

National Physical Therapy Licensing Exam Violations/Punishment

Board of Regents annul four physical therapists’ registrations The Board of Regents annulled the registrations of four physical therapists licensed in New York when the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) invalidated the individuals’ test scores on the licensing examination. These individuals may not practice as licensed physical therapists until they meet all requirements for licensure. The FSBPT invalidated the candidates’ examination scores after a lengthy investigation into the apparent trafficking of recalled examination questions by Philippine exam preparation centers late last year. FSBPT received copies of test preparation materials provided to student customers of the centers, which confirmed the use of live test questions from past National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE). Possession of examination questions could be a violation of federal copyright laws and provide an unfair advantage to certain individuals attempting the examination.

In an effort to assess the potential effects of using recalled test items, FSBPT retained Caveon to conduct a comprehensive forensic analysis of all NPTE test results occurring from March 1, 2005 through June 5, 2007. This analysis examined the performances of all candidates on 23,512 test administrations to determine whether or not candidates with prior access to recalled test items received an undue advantage on the licensing examination. Caveon’s forensic analysis established that at least 20 individuals did, in fact, benefit unfairly from advance access to recalled test items so that the FSBPT Board of Directors invalidated these candidates test scores. Affected candidates will be afforded the opportunity to re-take the NPTE, at no cost to them, one time over the course of the next 12 months. These candidates are able at any time during or after the expiration of this 12-month period to re-take the NPTE at their own expense, subject to FSBPT’s existing exam policies and procedures.

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Medicaid Requirement: Graduation from a CAPTE Accredited Program, No Equivalency

Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) has reported, "CMS would expect providers to be graduates of physical therapy programs accredited by CAPTE (Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education), and if applicable, licensed by the State. Equivalency rulings are not valid for physical therapist qualifications." This interpretation means most foreign educated physical therapists licensed in New York State are unable to provide treatment and be reimbursed by Medicaid. Note, there are only two foreign programs accredited by CAPTE, one in Scotland and one in Canada.

Due to a posting on the State Education Department's Medicaid web site, many think that because an equivalency is used for licensure, this same equivalency is applied for Medicaid. This is not the case. There is no equivalency for Medicaid reimbursement eligibility for those who graduated from a non-CAPTE accredited education program. The New York Physical Therapy Association is challenging this ruling as it will limit who can provide care, especially to those populations in need (ie. children in school settings).

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