WSR 10-20-158



(Board of Physical Therapy)

[ Filed October 6, 2010, 10:22 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 09-15-002.

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: Chapter 246-915 WAC, amending the chapter to consider the use of telehealth in the practice of physical therapy.

Hearing Location(s): Department of Health, Town Center Two, 111 Israel Road S.E., Room 158, Tumwater, WA 98501, on November 17, 2010, at 10:15 a.m.

Date of Intended Adoption: November 17, 2010.

Submit Written Comments to: Kris Waidely, Program Manager, P.O. Box 47852, Olympia, WA 98504-7852, web site, fax (360) 236-2901, by November 3, 2010.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Kris Waidely by November 3, 2010, TTY (800) 833-6388 or 711.

Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: Telehealth is within the physical therapy scope of practice. The board of physical therapy (board) developed rules so practitioners are able to clearly tell that telehealth is within their scope of practice. The proposed rule provides the requirements in rule for appropriate physical therapy care via telehealth. The proposed rule provides an alternative way by which a therapist may determine a diagnosis, prognosis, plan of therapeutic intervention, and to assess and document the ongoing effects of intervention.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: The law gives the board authority to adopt rules regarding the standard of practice for physical therapy in Washington state. The proposed rules clarify that telehealth is within the scope of practice for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants when performed under the same standard of care requirements that exist when treating a patient in person.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 18.74.023 and 18.74.025.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 18.74.023 and 18.74.025.

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

Name of Proponent: Department of Health, Board of Physical Therapy, P.O. Box 47852, Olympia, WA 98504-7852, governmental.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Kris Waidely, Program Manager, P.O. Box 47852, Olympia, WA 98504-7852, (360) 236-4847.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. The proposed rule would not impose more than minor costs on businesses in an industry.

A cost-benefit analysis is not required under RCW 34.05.328. RCW 34.05.328 (5)(a) exempts rules that, by definition, are not significant legislative rules. By definition this rule qualifies under RCW 34.05.328 (5)(c)(ii) as an "interpretative rule."

October 6, 2010

Lisa A. Hodgson

Executive Director


WAC 246-915-187   Use of telehealth in the practice of physical therapy.   (1) Licensed physical therapists and physical therapist assistants may provide physical therapy via telehealth following all requirements for standard of care, including those defined in chapters 18.74 RCW and 246-915 WAC.

(2) The physical therapist or physical therapist assistant must identify in the clinical record that the physical therapy occurred via telehealth.

(3) The definitions in this subsection apply throughout this section unless the context clearly requires otherwise:

(a) Telehealth means providing physical therapy via electronic communication where the physical therapist or physical therapist assistant and the patient are not at the same physical location.

(b) Electronic communication means the use of interactive, secure multimedia equipment that includes, at a minimum, audio and video equipment permitting two-way, real time interactive communication between the physical therapist or the physical therapist assistant and the patient.


Washington State Code Reviser's Office