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PROPOSED RULEMAKING

STATE BOARD OF PHYSICAL THERAPY

[ 49 PA. CODE CH. 40 ]

Continuing Education Providers

[39 Pa.B. 5435]
[Saturday, September 19, 2009]

 The State Board of Physical Therapy (Board) proposes to amend § 40.63 (relating to continuing education) to read as set forth in Annex A.

Effective date

 The amendment will be effective upon publication of the final-form rulemaking in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Statutory Authority

 The amendment is authorized under sections 3(a) and 9(c) of the Physical Therapy Practice Act (act) (63 P. S. §§ 1303(a) and 1309(c)).

Background and Need for the Amendment

 Section 9(a) of the act generally prohibits a physical therapist from treating human ailments by physical therapy except upon referral by a physician. However, under section 9(b) of the act, a physical therapist who meets certain qualifications may receive from the Board a certificate of authority to practice physical therapy without the required referral (often known as direct access). Under section 9(c)(1) of the act, a certificateholder shall complete a minimum amount of continuing education in each biennial renewal cycle to maintain direct access certification. The Board previously promulgated § 40.63 to set standards of continuing education for a direct access certificate holder.

 Under § 40.63(d), a sponsor shall apply to the Board and obtain approval for each course or program of continuing education for the direct access certificate holder to receive credit that will satisfy the continuing education requirement. To avoid the need to apply for approval and review applications from providers that the Board knows currently meet the standards for approved continuing education courses, the Board proposes to preapprove those sponsors without requiring an application or specific review by the Board. Additionally, § 40.63(d) does not currently set a time in which the sponsor shall apply for approval. The Board proposes to require a continuing education sponsor to apply for approval at least 60 days in advance of the course presentation so that the Board would have adequate time to review the application and to permit a sponsor to request a waiver of that time limitation for good cause shown. Finally, because a given course might be offered multiple times, the Board proposes to explicitly indicate through its regulations that approval of a course is good for multiple offerings of that course throughout the year.

Description of the Proposed Amendments

 The proposed rulemaking would first amend § 40.63(d)(1) and (3) to refer to approval status of the continuing education course, not the sponsor as the current regulation incorrectly refers. To provide the Board with adequate time in which to review the application, § 40.63(d)(3) would be amended to require that an application for course approval be submitted at least 60 days prior to the date the continuing education course is due to take place. Proposed § 40.63(d)(5) would be added to provide that a sponsor who is unable to apply at least 60 days in advance may request a waiver setting forth the reasons why the 60-day requirement could not be met. The Board may grant the waiver and review the application, if possible, within less than 60 days. Also, proposed § 40.63(d)(6) would be added to provide that course approval is valid for 1 year. The sponsor may offer other presentations of that course throughout the year, so long as they are indicated on the application.

 Proposed § 40.63(h) would be added to provide for preapproval of sponsors whom the Board has determined meet the standards for approved courses and programs. Courses that otherwise meet all requirements for required continuing education would be approved when offered by the American Physical Therapy Association and its components, the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) and graduate education programs accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). It should be noted that the Board is a constituent member of FSBPT and that in § 40.11 (relating to license by examination; requirements for examination) the Board requires applicants to be graduates of physical therapy programs accredited by CAPTE. However, CAPTE accredits only entry-level programs—those awarding up through a Master's Degree. To the extent they otherwise meet all requirements for required continuing education, courses offered by postentry level doctorate of physical therapy programs in institutions accredited by the regional accrediting organization recognized by the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions on behalf of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, would also be preapproved.

Fiscal Impact and Paperwork Requirements

 The proposed amendment will have no adverse fiscal impact on the Commonwealth or its political subdivisions. The amendment will impose no additional paperwork requirements upon the Commonwealth, political subdivisions or the private sector.

Sunset Date

 The Board continuously monitors the effectiveness of its regulations. Therefore, no sunset date has been assigned.

Regulatory Review

 Under section 5(a) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5(a)), on September 2, 2009, the Board submitted a copy of this proposed rulemaking and a copy of a Regulatory Analysis Form to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) and to the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee and the House Professional Licensure Committee (Committees). A copy of this material is available to the public upon request.

 Under section 5(g) of the Regulatory Review Act, IRRC may convey comments, recommendations or objections to the proposed rulemaking within 30 days of the close of the public comment period. The comments, recommendations or objections shall specify the regulatory review criteria which have not been met. The Regulatory Review Act specifies detailed procedures for review, prior to final publication of the rulemaking, by the Board, the General Assembly and the Governor of comments, recommendations or objections raised.

Public Comment

 Interested persons are invited to submit written comments, suggestions or objections regarding this proposed rulemaking to Regulatory Unit Counsel, Department of State, P. O. Box 2649, Harrisburg, PA 17105-2649, or st-physical@state.pa.us, within 30 days following publication of this proposed rulemaking in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Reference No. 16A-6513 (continuing education providers), when submitting comments.

JAMES L. CLAHANE, PT, 
Chairperson

Fiscal Note: 16A-6513. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.

Annex A

TITLE 49. PROFESSIONAL AND VOCATIONAL STANDARDS

PART I. DEPARTMENT OF STATE

Subpart A. PROFESSIONAL AND OCCUPATIONAL AFFAIRS

CHAPTER 40. STATE BOARD OF PHYSICAL THERAPY

Subchapter A. PHYSICAL THERAPISTS

PRACTICE WITHOUT PHYSICIAN REFERRAL

§ 40.63. Continuing education.

*  *  *  *  *

 (d) Approved [sponsors; acceptable] courses and programs.

 (1) Courses and programs [provided by Board-approved sponsors] approved by the Board will be accepted as satisfying the continuing education requirement. It is the responsibility of the certificateholder to ascertain the approval status of the [sponsor] course before undertaking a continuing education activity.

*  *  *  *  *

 (3) Sponsors of physical therapy continuing education seeking Board approval of individual courses shall submit an application at least 60 days prior to the date the continuing education course is due to take place, on forms provided by the Board and pay the required fee. The applicant will be notified of approval or disapproval in writing. Notifications of disapproval will set forth reasons. The Board will not approve a [sponsor] course unless [it] the sponsor:

*  *  *  *  *

(5) A sponsor seeking approval who is unable to submit the application at least 60 days prior to the date the course is given, may request a waiver in writing setting forth the reasons why the 60-day requirement could not be met.

(6) Approval of a course will be valid for 1 year after approval. In the event that the sponsor is scheduling multiple courses, the sponsor shall indicate on the application each date the course is to be given.

*  *  *  *  *

(h) Preapproved sponsors. In addition to sponsors whose specific courses and programs are approved, the Board finds the following entities have currently met the standards for approved courses and programs. Accordingly, courses that otherwise meet all requirements for required continuing education are approved when offered by the following sponsors:

(1) The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and its components.

(2) The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) and its jurisdictions.

(3) Graduate education programs accredited by The Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).

(4) Postentry level doctorate of physical therapy programs in an academic institution accredited by a regional accrediting organization recognized by the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions on behalf of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 09-1720. Filed for public inspection September 18, 2009, 9:00 a.m.]



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