Multistate Licensure Compact
You’re a Physical Therapist running a thriving practice in Arizona and while you’re happy, you want to help patients who live in nearby states but getting a license to each state means more time and cost. You then receive notice that your Arizona PT/PTA license can be used to practice in several nearby states. This is the very scenario that is playing out right now in Arizona and several other states!
On April 25, Washington Governor Jan Inslee signed the bill that added Washington to Arizona, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, and Utah as states that have agreed to join a system that will allow PTs and PTAs to apply for privilege to practice in any of the participating states without having to be licensed in each state. It’s a major milestone for the physical therapy profession that opens new opportunities to physical therapists.
With more and more mobile physical therapy businesses popping up, driving to patients across state lines could yield an entirely new niche for physical therapists, but, not so fast…
According to Angela Shuman, APTA’s director of state affairs, the PT licensure contract (PTLC) adoption by the state of Washington doesn’t mean PTs and PTAs can now start practicing in compact states.
“Right now, it’s important to understand that nothing has changed in terms of practicing across state lines for anybody, even after Washington,” Shuman said. “To participate in the compact, PTs and PTAs will need to apply for privileges with the Physical Therapy Compact Commission, but that commission hasn’t been established yet.”
Shuman explained that after the commission is established, with each participating state naming a member, it must create rules for how the system will operate, including establishing fees. At the same time, logistical and technological issues will need to be resolved. These elements probably won’t be in place until the first half of 2018, according to Shuman. Nevertheless, the compact is moving in the right direction to allow more flexibility for Physical Therapists.
The Multistate Licensure Compact Has Some Tough Guidelines
Even after the commission is up and running, PTs and PTAs will have to meet certain other criteria, including:
- The applicant can not have limitations from any state on a license to practice.
- No board action can have been taken against the applicant for at least 2 years prior to the application for multistate licensure.
- Applicant must meet any jurisprudence requirements (typically an additional examination) that may be required by a compact state.
- The participant must report any adverse regulatory board action from a nonparticipating state within 30 days of the action being taken.
So while there are many reasons to get excited about a multistate licensure compact, it’s still premature and more work needs to be done. However, what’s has taken place among the first 10 states may set a precedence for future compacts to exist or more states to join the existing compact, which will certainly pave the way for greater physical therapist mobility and patient choice.