WSR 04-20-070



(Board of Physical Therapy)

[ Filed October 4, 2004, 12:45 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 04-07-174.

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: WAC 246-915-105 Approved physical therapist programs, physical therapist assistants are not regulated in Washington but it is estimated that there are five hundred physical therapist assistants providing services to Washington citizens. In view of the fact that a physical therapist assistant may treat up to four patients per hour, it is plausible that as many as sixteen thousand patients per day receive physical therapy services from a physical therapist assistant in Washington. The costs associated with inadequate, negligent or incompetent physical therapy care by a poorly trained physical therapist assistant carry the potential for unnecessary treatments, prolonged treatments, extended recuperation periods, serious or life-threatening health risks, unnecessary physical discomfort, and added financial burdens to patients, insurance companies and state and federal health care funds. The proposed rule establishes minimum education standards that have been proven to be consistent with the functions and services that fall within the physical therapy scope of practice in this state.

Hearing Location(s): Department of Health, 310 Israel Road S.E., Room 152, Tumwater, WA 98501, on November 16, 2004, at 9:30 a.m.

Date of Intended Adoption: November 16, 2004.

Submit Written Comments to: Kris Waidely, Program Manager, 310 Israel Road S.E., Tumwater, WA 98501, e-mail, fax (360) 664-9077, by November 5, 2004.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Kris Waidely, Program Manager, by November 5, 2004, TTY (800) 833-6388 or (360) 236-4847.

Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: RCW 18.74.023(7) authorizes the Board of Physical Therapy to define and specify the education and training requirements of physical therapist assistants and physical therapy aides. Physical therapist assistants are technically educated at the two-year associate degree level. While the supervising physical therapist is trained to provide the examination, evaluation, diagnosis, prognosis and treatment plan, physical therapist assistants are considered paraprofessionals who work under the direction and supervision of the physical therapist and are trained to provide physical therapy interventions. Given that physical therapist assistants are not required to work under direct supervision and frequently work in unsupervised settings such as home health and public schools, this rule is necessary to establish that assistants meet minimum educational qualifications in order to protect the public from harm.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: By statute, the board is authorized to define and specify the education and training of physical therapist assistants. Since the board is not authorized to regulate physical therapist assistants, the only alternative is to establish minimum educational standards and require the regulated physical therapist to only utilize individuals who meet this educational standard.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 18.74.023.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 18.74.023.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Name of Proponent: Department of Health, governmental.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Kris Waidely, Program Manager, 310 Israel Road S.E., Tumwater, WA 98501, (360) 236-4847.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. A small business economic impact statement is not required because the cost to implement the proposed rules does not exceed the threshold. The more than minimum cost threshold from "804 Office of Clinics and Other Healthcare Practitioners" is set at $110.00.

A cost-benefit analysis is required under RCW 34.05.328. A preliminary cost-benefit analysis may be obtained by contacting Kris Waidely, P.O. Box 47868, Olympia, WA 98504-7868, phone (360) 236-4847, fax (360) 664-9077, e-mail

August 30, 2004

Kris Waidely

Program Manager


WAC 246-915-105   Approved physical therapist assistant schools.   A board approved physical therapist assistant program shall mean a United States physical therapist assistant education program accredited by the American Physical Therapy Association's Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education or a United States military physical therapy technician program that is substantially equivalent to an accredited United States physical therapist assistant program.


Legislature Code Reviser 


Washington State Code Reviser's Office