YES, finally….but the benefits will prove worth the time, effort and the wait…. (HB 2639)
A previous blog was written and posted on Feb 21, 2011 in reference to the new physical therapy practice acts. It was stated that the WVPTA and WVBOPT continued to work together with congress to finalize the rules section of the practice acts (House Bill 2639). What a long road it has been ( over 2 years) but we can now say that, YES we have finalized the rules and, YES they were signed by the Governor and , YES they took effect starting on June 16, 2011 here in the great state of WV. The rules came out as initially described on the Feb. 21 blog posting. Please review the blog as archived if needed.
We will see some immediate impact in our profession as supervision of a PTA by a PT was changed to 60% on site supervision versus past 100% on site supervision for care delivered in a hospital or other acute-care center, free-standing, outpatient, or independent practice setting. This may be utilized in order to free a PT up for other sites if specific rules are followed such as: the PTA has 1000 hours experience and documentation of the supervision is producible.
Also new to our governing rules is an emergency situation in which a PTA can be supervised by another PT and the 4:1 ratio of PTA: PT can be exceeded. An emergency situation is defined as serious illness or injury of the therapist or therapist’s family member or death of a family member, which causes the unanticipated absence of the supervising physical therapist. Also, a temporary situation, which causes the absence of the supervising PT up to 1 day and no more than 80 hours per calendar year, would enable the use general supervision instead of onsite-supervision if needed.
These rulings will give us some flexibility in the way we practice. They will assist in the availability of physical therapists to address demands, especially in rural areas. More importantly, they will allow for continued high quality care and safety of the public. It is very important that you read and understand all details of the rules as specific requirements of documentation are necessary. Please visit the websites for the West Virginia Physical Therapy Association at www.wvpta.org or the West Virginia Board of Physical Therapy at http://www.wvbopt.com for complete coverage of these changes and review the entire State Practice Act.