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Substitute Senate Bill No. 1107

Public Act No. 03-209

AN ACT CONCERNING THE PRACTICE OF PHYSICAL THERAPY.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 20-66 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

As used in this chapter:

(1) "Physical therapist" means a person licensed to practice physical therapy in Connecticut as defined in subdivision (2) of this section;

(2) "Physical therapy" means the evaluation and treatment of any person by the employment of the effective properties of physical measures, the performance of tests and measurements as an aid to evaluation of function and the use of therapeutic exercises and rehabilitative procedures, with or without assistive devices, for the purpose of preventing, correcting or alleviating a physical or mental disability. Physical therapy includes the establishment and modification of physical therapy programs, treatment planning, instruction, wellness care, peer review and consultative services. The term "physical therapy" does not include the use of cauterization or the use of Roentgen rays or radium for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes; [and]

(3) "Physical therapist assistant" means (A) a graduate of a physical therapist assistant program approved by the State Board of Examiners for Physical Therapists, with the consent of the Commissioner of Public Health, (B) a graduate of a United States physical therapy school approved by the State Board of Examiners for Physical Therapists, or (C) a person who has completed twenty years of employment as a physical therapist assistant prior to October 1, 1989; and

(4) "Wellness care" means services related to conditioning, strength training, fitness, workplace ergonomics or injury prevention.

Sec. 2. Section 20-66 of the general statutes, as amended by section 12 of public act 00-226, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective the later of October 1, 2003, or the date notice is published by the Commissioner of Public Health in the Connecticut Law Journal indicating that the licensing of athletic trainers and physical therapist assistants is being implemented by the commissioner):

As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) "Physical therapist" means a person licensed to practice physical therapy in this state;

(2) "Physical therapy" means the evaluation and treatment of any person by the employment of the effective properties of physical measures, the performance of tests and measurements as an aid to evaluation of function and the use of therapeutic exercises and rehabilitative procedures, with or without assistive devices, for the purpose of preventing, correcting or alleviating a physical or mental disability. "Physical therapy" includes the establishment and modification of physical therapy programs, treatment planning, instruction, wellness care, peer review and consultative services, but does not include the use of cauterization or the use of Roentgen rays or radium for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes;

(3) "Physical therapist assistant" means a person licensed to assist in the practice of physical therapy in this state under the supervision of a physical therapist. For purposes of this subdivision and subdivision (2) of subsection (a) of section 20-73, as amended by this act, "supervision" means the overseeing of or the participation in the work of a physical therapist assistant by a licensed physical therapist, including, but not limited to: (A) Continuous availability of direct communication between the physical therapist assistant and a licensed physical therapist; (B) availability of a licensed physical therapist on a regularly scheduled basis to (i) review the practice of the physical therapist assistant, and (ii) support the physical therapist assistant in the performance of the physical therapist assistant's services; and (C) a predetermined plan for emergency situations, including the designation of an alternate licensed physical therapist in the absence of the regular licensed physical therapist; [and]

(4) "Assist in the practice of physical therapy" means the treatment of any person by the employment of the effective properties of physical measures and the use of therapeutic exercises and rehabilitative procedures, with or without assistive devices, for the purpose of preventing, correcting or alleviating a physical or mental disability, but does not include the interpretation of referrals, initial or discharge evaluation or assessment, or determination or modification of treatment or discharge plans; and

(5) "Wellness care" means services related to conditioning, strength training, fitness, workplace ergonomics or injury prevention.

Sec. 3. Section 20-73 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2003):

(a) (1) No person may practice as a physical therapist unless licensed pursuant to this chapter. No person may use the term "Registered Physical Therapist", "Licensed Physical Therapist" or "Physical Therapist" or the letters "R. P. T. ", "L. P. T. " or any other letters, words or insignia indicating or implying licensure as a physical therapist in this state unless the person is so licensed.

(2) The treatment of human ailments by physical therapy shall only be performed by a person licensed under the provisions of this chapter as a physical therapist upon the oral or written referral of a person licensed in this state or in a bordering state having licensing requirements meeting the approval of the appropriate examining board in this state to practice medicine and surgery, podiatry, natureopathy, chiropractic or dentistry, or an advanced practice registered nurse licensed to prescribe in accordance with section 20-94a or a physician assistant licensed to prescribe in accordance with section 20-12d. Nothing in this section shall prevent a physical therapist from providing wellness care within the scope of physical therapy practice to asymptomatic persons without a referral. Nothing in this section shall require an employer or insurer to pay for such wellness care.

(3) Any person who violates the provisions of this section or who obtains or attempts to obtain licensure as a physical therapist by any wilful misrepresentation or any fraudulent representation shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. A physical therapist or dentist who violates the provisions of this section shall be subject to licensure revocation in the same manner as is provided under section 19a-17, or in the case of a healing arts practitioner, section 20-45. For purposes of this section each instance of patient contact or consultation in violation of any provision of this section shall constitute a separate offense. Failure to renew a license in a timely manner shall not constitute a violation for the purposes of this section.

(b) Each physical [therapy] therapist assistant who is assisting in the practice of physical therapy under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist, as defined in section 20-66, as amended by this act, shall, upon payment of an application fee of twenty-five dollars, register with the Department of Public Health on a form furnished by the department, giving [his] the physical therapist assistant's name in full, [his] the physical therapist assistant's residence and business addresses and such other information as the department requests. Each physical [therapy] therapist assistant shall notify the department in writing [within] no later than thirty days after the date of any change in [his] such name or residence or business addresses. A physical [therapy] therapist assistant shall not practice physical therapy assisting without registering with the department pursuant to this section. The commissioner may, upon receipt of notification and investigation, assess a civil penalty of not more than one hundred dollars against any physical [therapy] therapist assistant who has practiced physical therapy assisting without first registering with [said] the department.

(c) Nothing in this section shall prohibit or limit the ability of a person licensed or certified in a field other than physical therapy from providing wellness care that is within the scope of such person's practice.

Sec. 4. Section 20-73 of the general statutes, as amended by section 15 of public act 00-226, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective the later of October 1, 2003, or the date notice is published by the Commissioner of Public Health in the Connecticut Law Journal indicating that the licensing of athletic trainers and physical therapist assistants is being implemented by the commissioner):

(a) (1) No person may practice as a physical therapist unless licensed pursuant to this chapter. No person may use the term "Registered Physical Therapist", "Licensed Physical Therapist" or "Physical Therapist" or the letters "R. P. T. ", "L. P. T. " or any other letters, words or insignia indicating or implying licensure as a physical therapist in this state unless the person is so licensed.

(2) No person may practice as a physical therapist assistant unless such person is licensed pursuant to this chapter and is under the supervision of a physical therapist licensed pursuant to this chapter. No person may use the term "Registered Physical Therapist Assistant", "Licensed Physical Therapist Assistant" or "Physical Therapist Assistant", or the letters "P. T. A. " to represent or imply the term "Physical Therapist Assistant", or any other letters, words or insignia indicating or implying licensure as a physical therapist assistant in this state unless the person is so licensed.

(b) The treatment of human ailments by physical therapy shall only be performed by a person licensed under the provisions of this chapter as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant upon the oral or written referral of a person licensed in this state, or in a bordering state having licensing requirements meeting the approval of the appropriate examining board in this state, to practice medicine and surgery, podiatry, natureopathy, chiropractic or dentistry, or an advanced practice registered nurse licensed to prescribe in accordance with section 20-94a or a physician assistant licensed to prescribe in accordance with section 20-12d. Nothing in this section shall prevent a physical therapist from providing wellness care within the scope of physical therapy practice to asymptomatic persons without a referral. Nothing in this section shall require an employer or insurer to pay for such wellness care.

(c) Any person who violates the provisions of this section or who obtains or attempts to obtain licensure as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant by any wilful misrepresentation or any fraudulent representation shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. A physical therapist, physical therapist assistant or dentist who violates the provisions of this section shall be subject to licensure revocation in the same manner as is provided under section 19a-17, or in the case of a healing arts practitioner, section 20-45. For purposes of this section each instance of patient contact or consultation in violation of any provision of this section shall constitute a separate offense. Failure to renew a license in a timely manner shall not constitute a violation for the purposes of this section.

(d) Nothing in this section shall prohibit or limit the ability of a person licensed or certified in a field other than physical therapy from providing wellness care that is within the scope of such person's practice.

Sec. 5. (NEW) (Effective October 1, 2003) (a) Each physical therapist licensed pursuant to chapter 376 of the general statutes shall complete a minimum of twenty hours of continuing education during each registration period. For purposes of this section, registration period means the twelve-month period for which a license has been renewed in accordance with section 19a-88 of the general statutes and is current and valid. The continuing education shall be in areas related to the individual's practice.

(b) Each licensee shall obtain a certificate of completion from the provider of continuing education activities for all continuing education hours successfully completed. Each licensee shall maintain such written documentation for a minimum of three years following the license renewal date for which the activity satisfies continuing education requirements. Certificates of completion shall be submitted by the licensee to the Department of Public Health upon the department's request. A licensee who fails to comply with the continuing education requirements may be subject to disciplinary action pursuant to section 20-73a of the general statutes.

(c) The continuing education requirements shall be waived for licensees applying for licensure renewal for the first time. The department may, for a licensee who has a medical disability or illness, grant a waiver of the continuing education requirements for a specific period of time or may grant the licensee an extension of time in which to fulfill the requirements.

Approved July 9, 2003