| 15 March 2012

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FPTA, laying the foundation for Advocacy!

FPTA, laying the foundation for Advocacy!
by Tad P. Fisher, FPTA CEO

With the close of the 2012 Legislative Session, the FPTA elevated the knowledge of the practice of physical therapy and its value to the state’s healthcare delivery system. Inside 60 days of the legislative session, your fellow member colleagues, PT & PTA students, and leadership communicated a consistent message about why physical therapy is important to the health of Floridians. More importantly, we validated that there is a growing shortage of physical therapists and physical therapists assistants needed to fulfill Florida’s health care workforce requirements.

With the passage of HB 799 & SB 1228 as one bill authorizing the Board of Physical Therapy to issue temporary license to eligible student applicants, we have provided a mechanism for keeping our “home grown” PT and PTA students in Florida. More importantly, through advocacy we laid the foundation to elevate the importance of physical therapy as an essential patient centered primary care access point, preventing further problems affecting patients’ limited mobility as a result of impairment in the musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular/pulmonary or integumentary systems.
(See box for details on HB 799)

The passage of HB 799 & SB 1228 served to bridge physical therapy issues that emerged in the highly volatile debate on PIP. Here again, public policy makers’ understanding the value and nature of the specialty was limited. However, as FPTA members, students, and leadership communicated one-on-one with lawmakers and their aides, the education of decision makers increased about why physical therapy is so important across the entire spectrum of health. As the debate raged on behind the scenes, more and more lawmakers began to see why physical therapy needed to be included as a subsequent covered benefit. Physical therapy matters, especially for accident victims, and for helping injured parties recover quality of life through less costly procedures and admissions.

Many other issues surfaced throughout the 2012 Legislative Session, and the FPTA stepped forward to convey a united message about the importance of the vital specialty of physical therapy. This advocacy awakened a sleeping giant in our membership. Those who participated, daily in many cases, understand the importance of being a “Key Contact” and ambassador for the profession.

This one point in FPTA history cannot end here.  In fact it’s just a baby step toward a much broader expansion of what needs to be done to make the FPTA and its members a recognized expert on healthcare delivery in Florida. Physical therapy is important to the day-to-day management of patients with chronic conditions. The physical therapy story needs to be told time and again to solidify its role as an essential provider of healthcare services and advocate for the patients they serve.

Soon FPTA will be rolling out a public policy advocacy campaign through its “Key Contact” member program. Physical therapists, physical therapists assistants, and our students in training can all serve as key contacts. You simply need to be a member of FPTA, share a unified message about the value and relevance of the profession, and engage in quality communications with our elected officials at all levels of public service. Eric Chaconas, Chair, FPTA Government Affairs Committee, is leading the way along with members and students serving on the Committee.

As important, the Florida Physical Therapy PAC leads by generating member support for political action through campaign contributions and political advocacy. If you can’t find the time to serve as a spokesperson please consider donating to the FPT-PAC. Revenues raised for political action go a long way toward ensuring that friends of physical therapy return to help our specialty again and again in public policy debate. Join today – FPT-PAC.

Finally, to all FPTA members, faculty leaders, practice managers, students, and leaders, thank you for your participation as advocates for the profession. And, a very special thanks to our sponsors Representative Tom Goodson, (R-Titusville), and Senator Bill Montford, (D-Tallahassee). As you can see, Advocacy Works!  For the first time in over a decade the FPTA launched a public policy agenda through legislation and succeeded.

This is just a first step, and there is much more to come as the FPTA grows not only its membership but also its presence in determining Florida health public policy. Our organization is as strong as our members make it. The more physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and physical therapy students engage as members, the louder our voice will get.

Let’s keep working together to show Floridians and health care policy makers that physical therapy is united in demonstrating better outcomes for patients and cost effective physical therapy practice management. Join us as we fight together for physical therapy!

Tad P. Fisher

Physical Therapy Temporary License: HB 799 by Rep. Goodson (SB 1228 by Sen. Montford) creates s. 486.0715, F.S., to allow the Board of Physical Therapy Practice to issue a temporary PT permit to an applicant who:
• Completes an application on a form approved by the department;
• Meets all eligibility requirements for licensure under ch. 456, F.S., s. 486.031, F.S., and related rules, except that  passage of a national examination approved by the board is not required;
• Submits an application for licensure under s. 486.041, F.S.;
• Demonstrates proof of malpractice insurance; ans
• Submits documentation, under rules adopted by the board, verifying that he or she will practice under the direct supervision of a licensed PT meeting certain conditions.A temporary permit is nonrenewable and is valid until the board grants a license. A temporary permit becomes void if a permittee does not pass such an examination within 6 months of graduation from a department-approved training program. Supervising PTs must have been licensed in this state for at least 6 months before the supervision period begins, may only supervise one permittee at a time, and must cosign all patient records produced by a permittee.HB 799 creates s. 486.1065, F.S., to provide identical provisions for issuance of temporary PTA permits. Applicants must meet eligibility requirements for licensure under s. 486.102, F.S., rather than s. 486.031, F.S., and must submit an application for licensure under s. 486.103, F.S., rather than s. 486.041, F.S.The bill also amends s. 486.151, F.S., to prevent permittees from being prosecuted for unlicensed practice and prohibit certain acts related to fraudulent obtainment or use of temporary permits and provides an effective date of June 1, 2012.


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