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News: Legislative


Monday, July 24, 2017   (10 Comments)
Posted by: Daniel Klim
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On Friday, July 21, Governor Chris Christie signed into law S1315 which “Revises statutes regarding practice of physical therapy.”  This is the first update to the Practice Act since 2004.

There are numerous updates to the law:

  • By expanding the scope of practice of physical therapists to include: identification of balance disorders; wound debridement and care; utilization review; screening, examination, evaluation, and application of interventions for the promotion, improvement, and maintenance of fitness, health, wellness, and prevention services in populations of all ages exclusively related to physical therapy practice.
  • Identifies wound debridement by a physical therapist, to promote healing, done in conjunction with a physician or podiatric physician.
  • Allow for the direct or general supervision of a physical therapist assistant by a physical therapist. When treatment is being rendered by a physical therapist assistant consistent with the role of a physical therapist assistant, require the licensed physical therapist supervising that assistant to make an onsite visit and actively participate in the treatment of the patient at least every six patient visits or every 14 days, whichever occurs first . . .  

-- Clarify that when supervising a physical therapist assistant in any off-site setting, there must be regularly scheduled and documented conferences or communications between the physical therapist and the physical therapist assistant regarding patients.

  • This bill provides that a person is guilty of a crime of the third degree if the person knowingly does not possess a license to practice physical therapy or knowingly has had such license suspended, revoked or otherwise limited by an order entered by the State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, and he:

-- engages in the practice of physical therapy;

-- exceeds the scope of practice permitted by the board order;

-- holds himself out to the public or any person as being eligible to engage in the practice of physical therapy;

-- engages in any activity for which a license to practice physical therapy is a necessary prerequisite; or

-- practices physical therapy under a false or assumed name or falsely impersonates another person licensed by the board. Under the bill, however, these provisions would not apply to a person practicing physical therapy without a license if that person’s activities are permitted under section 9 of P.L.1983, c.296 (C.45:9-37.19).   

  • Establish continuing professional education and competency requirements for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants meanings “the lifelong process of maintaining and documenting the application of knowledge, skills and behaviors required to function effectively, safely, ethically and legally, through ongoing self-assessment, development, and implementation of a personal learning plan and subsequent reassessment”.
  • Grants student physical therapists and student physical therapist assistants to sit for the National Physical Therapy Examination up to 120 days in advance of their graduation date.
  • Provides title protection for “student physical therapist”, “Student physical therapist assistant”, “DPT”, “SPT,” “SPTA,” and the terms “physical therapy,” and “physiotherapy”.
  • 30 days, the length of time certain persons licensed in another jurisdiction, under certain circumstances, may temporarily perform physical therapy or act as a physical therapist assistant in New Jersey.

APTANJ wishes to thank the Governor for his signature on S1315 as well as all of the sponsors who supported our efforts as we brought this bill from concept to reality over the past few years.  Those sponsors include:

Primary Sponsors

Senator Joseph F. Vitale

Assemblyman Thomas P. Giblin

Assemblyman Benjie E. Wimberly

Assemblyman John F. McKeon

Assemblyman Raj Mukherji

Assemblywoman Shavonda E. Sumter



Senator Jennifer Beck

Assemblywoman Mila M. Jasey

Assemblyman Declan J. O'Scanlon, Jr.

Assemblyman Jack M. Ciattarelli

Senator Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr.

Assemblyman David P. Rible

Assemblywoman Angelica M. Jimenez

The APTANJ also wishes to thank the tireless efforts put in by our General Counsel, Vincent Buttaci, Esq. and lobbyist, Dennis Marco of Hamilton Public Affairs as well as the many members who supported our advocacy efforts by contacting legislators, rallying support and contributing to our political action committee, the PT PLAN.

APTANJ is committed to advocating on behalf of its members, their patients and the PT profession as a whole for the betterment of healthier New Jersey.  We will continue to be the voice of the profession in Trenton and around the state.



Michael D. Mirabueno says...
Posted Saturday, September 9, 2017
How many PTAs can one PT supervise? My boss thinks that he can have one PT to supervise 5 PTAs in one clinic. I said 1 PT per 2 PTA but he doesn't believe it. I work in a Private Orthopedic Outpatient setting. Thank you.
Barbara R. Melinek says...
Posted Tuesday, September 5, 2017
I'm uneasy about cosigning a PTA's note when I am (or was) many miles away; how do I attest to the validity and accuracy when I haven't seen or spoken to either the PTA or the patient?
Haider Rizvi says...
Posted Wednesday, August 23, 2017
@Daniel Klim - It seems that the PT does not have to be physically present when a PTA is treating, but needs to be available via conference/phone and be able to co-sign notes off site? Please clarify. Thanks
Ellen T. Brennan says...
Posted Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Thank you for the clarification on timing. Can you also clarify the changes around Telemedicine for Physical Therapy?
Daniel Klim says...
Posted Thursday, July 27, 2017
@Christian M. Atexide - No, the bill includes the following language regarding educational requirements and refers to the previous scope of practice law, section 25 of P.L.2003, c.18 (C.45:9-20 37.34f); “Establish requirements and standards for continuing professional, education and competency, and approve courses that are eligible to meet these requirements and standards, as provided in section 25 of P.L.2003, c.18 (C.45:9-20 37.34f);” @Ellen T. Brennan - The law will go into effect 180 days after its enactment. The Governor signed the bill on July 21, 2017. It will be Public Law 2017, c121 and we will be reviewing the law and any proposed regulations that may need to be promulgated by the State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners.
Daniel Klim says...
Posted Thursday, July 27, 2017
@James J. Neilan Jr. - In the previous practice act, "Direct supervision" means the presence of the supervising licensed physical therapist on site. Off-site would be considered the opposite. @James C. Pumarada - You must be referring to an earlier draft of the legislation since “intramuscular therapy” was deleted in order to get the legislation passed and signed by the Governor. We are now working on a remedy to deal with the Dry Needling issue separately.
James J. Neilan Jr says...
Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2017
what is considered to be an off-site setting?
James C. Pumarada says...
Posted Tuesday, July 25, 2017
There is a provision in the law that adds for treatment of physical therapy conditions using intramuscular as a modality. Will this allow the use of dry needling by PT and using the prior as verbiage for documentation as a manual therapy technique performed by a therapist ?
Christian M. Atexide says...
Posted Monday, July 24, 2017
Does this statute eliminate the requirement of 30 CEU's every 2 yrs for licensure?
Ellen T. Brennan says...
Posted Monday, July 24, 2017
This is great new for all! Thank you for all of the work that went behind the approval of these important changes. Can you clarify; are these changes effective immediately, or is there a time frame for them to go into effect?

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