65th Legislature
2018 Regular Session
Passed Legislature - 2018 Regular Session
State of Washington
65th Legislature
2018 Regular Session
By Representatives Graves, Jinkins, Cody, Macri, Robinson, Riccelli, and Kloba
Read first time 01/09/18. Referred to Committee on Health Care & Wellness.
AN ACT Relating to physical therapist supervision of assistive personnel; and amending RCW 18.74.010 and 18.74.180.
Sec. 1.  RCW 18.74.010 and 2016 c 41 s 16 are each amended to read as follows:
The definitions in this section apply throughout this chapter unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
(1) "Authorized health care practitioner" means and includes licensed physicians, osteopathic physicians, chiropractors, naturopaths, podiatric physicians and surgeons, dentists, and advanced registered nurse practitioners: PROVIDED, HOWEVER, That nothing herein shall be construed as altering the scope of practice of such practitioners as defined in their respective licensure laws.
(2) "Board" means the board of physical therapy created by RCW 18.74.020.
(3) "Close supervision" means that the supervisor has personally diagnosed the condition to be treated and has personally authorized the procedures to be performed. The supervisor is continuously on-site and physically present in the operatory while the procedures are performed and capable of responding immediately in the event of an emergency.
(4) "Department" means the department of health.
(5) "Direct supervision" means the supervisor must (a) be continuously on-site and present in the department or facility where the person being supervised is performing services; (b) be immediately available to assist the person being supervised in the services being performed; and (c) maintain continued involvement in appropriate aspects of each treatment session in which a component of treatment is delegated to assistive personnel or is required to be directly supervised under RCW 18.74.190.
(6) "Indirect supervision" means the supervisor is not on the premises, but has given either written or oral instructions for treatment of the patient and the patient has been examined by the physical therapist at such time as acceptable health care practice requires and consistent with the particular delegated health care task.
(7) "Physical therapist" means a person who meets all the requirements of this chapter and is licensed in this state to practice physical therapy.
(8)(a) "Physical therapist assistant" means a person who meets all the requirements of this chapter and is licensed as a physical therapist assistant and who performs physical therapy procedures and related tasks that have been selected and delegated only by the supervising physical therapist. However, a physical therapist may not delegate sharp debridement to a physical therapist assistant.
(b) "Physical therapy aide" means ((a)) an unlicensed person who ((is involved in direct)) receives ongoing on-the-job training and assists a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant in providing physical therapy patient care and who does not meet the definition of a physical therapist ((or)), physical therapist assistant ((and receives ongoing on-the-job training)), or other assistive personnel. A physical therapy aide may directly assist in the implementation of therapeutic interventions, but may not alter or modify the plan of therapeutic interventions and may not perform any procedure or task which only a physical therapist may perform under this chapter.
(c) "Other assistive personnel" means other trained or educated health care personnel, not defined in (a) or (b) of this subsection, who perform specific designated tasks that are related to physical therapy and within their license, scope of practice, or formal education, under the supervision of a physical therapist, including but not limited to licensed massage therapists, athletic trainers, and exercise physiologists. At the direction of the supervising physical therapist, and if properly credentialed and not prohibited by any other law, other assistive personnel may be identified by the title specific to their license, training, or education.
(9) "Physical therapy" means the care and services provided by or under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist licensed by the state. Except as provided in RCW 18.74.190, the use of Roentgen rays and radium for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes, the use of electricity for surgical purposes, including cauterization, and the use of spinal manipulation, or manipulative mobilization of the spine and its immediate articulations, are not included under the term "physical therapy" as used in this chapter.
(10) "Practice of physical therapy" is based on movement science and means:
(a) Examining, evaluating, and testing individuals with mechanical, physiological, and developmental impairments, functional limitations in movement, and disability or other health and movement-related conditions in order to determine a diagnosis, prognosis, plan of therapeutic intervention, and to assess and document the ongoing effects of intervention;
(b) Alleviating impairments and functional limitations in movement by designing, implementing, and modifying therapeutic interventions that include therapeutic exercise; functional training related to balance, posture, and movement to facilitate self-care and reintegration into home, community, or work; manual therapy including soft tissue and joint mobilization and manipulation; therapeutic massage; assistive, adaptive, protective, and devices related to postural control and mobility except as restricted by (c) of this subsection; airway clearance techniques; physical agents or modalities; mechanical and electrotherapeutic modalities; and patient-related instruction;
(c) Training for, and the evaluation of, the function of a patient wearing an orthosis or prosthesis as defined in RCW 18.200.010. Physical therapists may provide those direct-formed and prefabricated upper limb, knee, and ankle-foot orthoses, but not fracture orthoses except those for hand, wrist, ankle, and foot fractures, and assistive technology devices specified in RCW 18.200.010 as exemptions from the defined scope of licensed orthotic and prosthetic services. It is the intent of the legislature that the unregulated devices specified in RCW 18.200.010 are in the public domain to the extent that they may be provided in common with individuals or other health providers, whether unregulated or regulated under this title, without regard to any scope of practice;
(d) Performing wound care services that are limited to sharp debridement, debridement with other agents, dry dressings, wet dressings, topical agents including enzymes, hydrotherapy, electrical stimulation, ultrasound, and other similar treatments. Physical therapists may not delegate sharp debridement. A physical therapist may perform wound care services only by referral from or after consultation with an authorized health care practitioner;
(e) Reducing the risk of injury, impairment, functional limitation, and disability related to movement, including the promotion and maintenance of fitness, health, and quality of life in all age populations; and
(f) Engaging in administration, consultation, education, and research.
(11) "Secretary" means the secretary of health.
(12) "Sharp debridement" means the removal of devitalized tissue from a wound with scissors, scalpel, and tweezers without anesthesia. "Sharp debridement" does not mean surgical debridement. A physical therapist may perform sharp debridement, to include the use of a scalpel, only upon showing evidence of adequate education and training as established by rule. Until the rules are established, but no later than July 1, 2006, physical therapists licensed under this chapter who perform sharp debridement as of July 24, 2005, shall submit to the secretary an affidavit that includes evidence of adequate education and training in sharp debridement, including the use of a scalpel.
(13) "Spinal manipulation" includes spinal manipulation, spinal manipulative therapy, high velocity thrust maneuvers, and grade five mobilization of the spine and its immediate articulations.
(14) Words importing the masculine gender may be applied to females.
Sec. 2.  RCW 18.74.180 and 2013 c 280 s 2 are each amended to read as follows:
A physical therapist is professionally and legally responsible for patient care given by assistive personnel under his or her supervision. If a physical therapist fails to adequately supervise patient care given by assistive personnel, the board may take disciplinary action against the physical therapist.
(1) Regardless of the setting in which physical therapy services are provided, only the licensed physical therapist may perform the following responsibilities:
(a) Interpretation of referrals;
(b) Initial examination, problem identification, and diagnosis for physical therapy;
(c) Development or modification of a plan of care that is based on the initial examination and includes the goals for physical therapy intervention;
(d) Determination of which tasks require the expertise and decision-making capacity of the physical therapist and must be personally rendered by the physical therapist, and which tasks may be delegated;
(e) Assurance of the qualifications of all assistive personnel to perform assigned tasks through written documentation of their education or training that is maintained and available at all times;
(f) Delegation and instruction of the services to be rendered by the physical therapist, physical therapist assistant, other assistive personnel, or physical therapy aide including, but not limited to, specific tasks or procedures, precautions, special problems, and contraindicated procedures;
(g) Timely review of documentation, reexamination of the patient, and revision of the plan of care when indicated;
(h) Establishment of a discharge plan.
(2) If patient care is given by a physical therapist assistant, or other assistive personnel, supervision by the physical therapist requires that the patient reevaluation is performed:
(a) ((Every fifth visit, or if treatment is performed more than five times per week, reevaluation must be performed at least once a week;)) The later of every fifth visit or every thirty days if a physical therapist has not treated the patient for any of the five visits or within the thirty days;
(b) When there is any change in the patient's condition not consistent with planned progress or treatment goals.
(3) Supervision of assistive personnel means:
(a) Physical therapist assistants may function under direct or indirect supervision;
(b) Physical therapy aides must function under direct supervision at all times. Other assistive personnel must function under direct supervision when treating a patient under a physical therapy plan of care;
(c)(i) ((The physical therapist may supervise a total of two assistive personnel at any one time.)) Except as provided in (c)(ii) of this subsection, at any one time, the physical therapist may supervise up to a total of three assistive personnel, who may be physical therapist assistants, other assistive personnel, or physical therapy aides. If the physical therapist is supervising the maximum of three assistive personnel at any one time, no more than one of the assistive personnel may be a physical therapy aide. The physical therapist has the sole discretion, based on the physical therapist's clinical judgment, to determine whether to utilize assistive personnel to provide services to a patient.
(ii) A physical therapist working in a nursing home as defined in RCW 18.51.010 or in the public schools as defined in RCW 28A.150.010, may supervise a total of only two assistive personnel at any one time.
(iii) In addition to the ((two)) assistive personnel authorized in (c)(i) and (ii) of this subsection, the physical therapist may supervise a total of two persons who are pursuing a course of study leading to a degree as a physical therapist or a physical therapist assistant.
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