2006 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare
By: Senator(s) Nunnelee, Dearing, Burton, Thomas, Lee (35th), Morgan
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTIONS 73-23-35 AND 73-23-59, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE A LICENSED PHYSICAL THERAPIST TO EXAMINE AND TREAT PERSONS WITH A PREVIOUS DIAGNOSIS AND REFERRAL BY A LICENSED PHYSICIAN OR PRACTITIONER WITHOUT ANOTHER REFERRAL UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS; TO AUTHORIZE A LICENSED PHYSICAL THERAPIST TO EXAMINE AND TREAT PERSONS WITHOUT SUCH A PREVIOUS DIAGNOSIS AND REFERRAL UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS; TO AMEND SECTION 73-23-33, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO AUTHORIZE LICENSED PHYSICAL THERAPISTS TO SUPERVISE UP TO FOUR PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANTS; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 73-23-35, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
73-23-35. (1) It shall be unlawful for any person, corporation or association to, in any manner, represent himself or itself as a physical therapist, a physical therapist assistant or someone who provides physical therapy services, or use in connection with his or its name the words or letters physiotherapist, registered physical therapist, R.P.T., licensed physical therapist assistant, L.P.T.A., or any other letters, words, abbreviations or insignia, indicating or implying that he or it is a physical therapist, a physical therapist assistant or provides physical therapy services, without a valid existing license as a physical therapist or as a physical therapist assistant, as the case may be, issued to him or it pursuant to this chapter. It shall be unlawful to employ an unlicensed physical therapist or physical therapist assistant to provide physical therapy services.
(2) The board shall aid the state's attorneys of the various counties in the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter and the prosecution of any violations thereof. In addition to the criminal penalties provided by this chapter, the civil remedy of injunction shall be available to restrain and enjoin violations of any provisions of this chapter without proof of actual damages sustained by any person.
(3) Nothing in this chapter shall prevent a physical therapist, whose license is in good standing, from examining and treating (a) any person with a previous diagnosis or prior referral by a person licensed as a physician, dentist, osteopath, chiropractor, nurse practitioner or a podiatrist whose license is in good standing; or (b) any person with a chronic illness that has been previously diagnosed by a person licensed as a physician, dentist, osteopath, chiropractor, nurse practitioner or a podiatrist whose license is in good standing.
(4) A physical therapist may perform physical therapy services without referral when related to conditioning, education or other activities in a wellness setting for the purpose of injury prevention, reduction of stress or promotion of fitness.
(5) A physical therapist may treat a person without a previous diagnosis without a referral if all of the following are met:
(a) The physical therapist holds a master's or doctorate degree from a professional physical therapy program that is accredited by a national accreditation agency recognized by the United States Department of Education and by the Mississippi Board of Physical Therapy or the person has completed at least two (2) years of practical experience as a licensed physical therapist.
(b) The physical therapist shall, upon consent of the patient, inform the patient's physician, dentist, osteopath, chiropractor, nurse practitioner or podiatrist, of the evaluation not later than five (5) business days after the evaluation is made.
(c) A physical therapist shall refer to a patient's physician, dentist, osteopath, chiropractor, nurse practitioner or a podiatrist whose license is in good standing any person whose condition, for which physical therapy services are rendered pursuant to this subsection, has not been documented to be progressing toward documented treatment goals after fourteen (14) visits or thirty (30) days, whichever shall come first.
(d) A physical therapist shall refer a client to appropriate health care practitioners if the physical therapist has reasonable cause to believe symptoms or conditions are present that require services beyond the scope of practice of the physical therapist.
SECTION 2. Section 73-23-59, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
73-23-59. (1) Licensees subject to this chapter shall conduct their activities, services and practice in accordance with this chapter and any rules promulgated pursuant hereto. Licensees may be subject to the exercise of the disciplinary sanction enumerated in Section 73-23-64 if the board finds that a licensee is guilty of any of the following:
(a) Negligence in the practice or performance of professional services or activities;
(b) Engaging in dishonorable, unethical or unprofessional conduct of a character likely to deceive, defraud or harm the public in the course of professional services or activities;
(c) Perpetrating or cooperating in fraud or material deception in obtaining or renewing a license or attempting the same;
(d) Being convicted of any crime which has a substantial relationship to the licensee's activities and services or an essential element of which is misstatement, fraud or dishonesty;
(e) Being convicted of any crime which is a felony under the laws of this state or the United States;
(f) Engaging in or permitting the performance of unacceptable services personally or by others working under the licensee's supervision due to the licensee's deliberate or negligent act or acts or failure to act, regardless of whether actual damage or damages to the public is established;
(g) Continued practice although the licensee has become unfit to practice as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant due to: (i) failure to keep abreast of current professional theory or practice; or (ii) physical or mental disability; the entry of an order or judgment by a court of competent jurisdiction that a licensee is in need of mental treatment or is incompetent shall constitute mental disability; or (iii) addiction or severe dependency upon alcohol or other drugs which may endanger the public by impairing the licensee's ability to practice;
(h) Having disciplinary action taken against the licensee's license in another state;
(i) Making differential, detrimental treatment against any person because of race, color, creed, sex, religion or national origin;
(j) Engaging in lewd conduct in connection with professional services or activities;
(k) Engaging in false or misleading advertising;
(l) Contracting, assisting or permitting unlicensed persons to perform services for which a license is required under this chapter;
(m) Violation of any probation requirements placed on a license by the board;
(n) Revealing confidential information except as may be required by law;
(o) Failing to inform clients of the fact that the client no longer needs the services or professional assistance of the licensee;
(p) Charging excessive or unreasonable fees or engaging in unreasonable collection practices;
(q) For treating or attempting to treat ailments or other health conditions of human beings other than by physical therapy as authorized by this chapter;
(r) Except as authorized in Section 73-23-35(3)(4) and (5), for applying or offering to apply physical therapy, exclusive of initial evaluation or screening and exclusive of education or consultation for the prevention of physical and mental disability within the scope of physical therapy, other than upon the referral of a licensed physician, dentist, osteopath, podiatrist, chiropractor or nurse practitioner; or for acting as a physical therapist assistant other than under the direct, on-site supervision of a licensed physical therapist;
(s) Violations of the current codes of conduct for physical therapists and physical therapy assistants adopted by the American Physical Therapy Association;
(t) Violations of any rules or regulations promulgated pursuant to this chapter.
(2) The board may order a licensee to submit to a reasonable physical or mental examination if the licensee's physical or mental capacity to practice safely is at issue in a disciplinary proceeding.
(3) Failure to comply with a board order to submit to a physical or mental examination shall render a licensee subject to the summary suspension procedures described in Section 73-23-64.
(4) In addition to the reasons specified in subsection (1) of this section, the board shall be authorized to suspend the license of any licensee for being out of compliance with an order for support, as defined in Section 93-11-153. The procedure for suspension of a license for being out of compliance with an order for support, and the procedure for the reissuance or reinstatement of a license suspended for that purpose, and the payment of any fees for the reissuance or reinstatement of a license suspended for that purpose, shall be governed by Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163, as the case may be. If there is any conflict between any provision of Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163 and any provision of this chapter, the provisions of Section 93-11-157 or 93-11-163, as the case may be, shall control.
SECTION 3. Section 73-23-33, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
73-23-33. As used in this chapter unless the context or subject matter otherwise requires:
(a) "Physical therapy" or "physiotherapy," which terms are deemed identical and interchangeable, means the art and science of a health specialty concerned with the prevention of disability, and the physical rehabilitation for congenital or acquired physical or mental disabilities, resulting from or secondary to injury or disease. The "practice of physical therapy" means the practice of the health specialty and encompasses physical therapy evaluation, treatment planning, treatment administration, instruction and consultative services, including:
(i) Performing and interpreting tests and measurements as an aid to physical therapy treatment, for the purpose of correcting or alleviating any physical condition and to prevent the development of any physical or mental disability within the scope of physical therapy; and the performance of neuromuscular-skeletal tests and measurements as an aid in diagnosis, evaluation or determination of the existence of and the extent of any body malfunction;
(ii) Planning initial and subsequent treatment programs, on the basis of test findings; and
(iii) Administering treatment by therapeutic exercise, neurodevelopmental procedures, therapeutic massage, mechanical devices and therapeutic agents which employ the physical, chemical and other properties of air, water, heat, cold, electricity, sound and radiant energy for the purpose of correcting or alleviating any physical condition or preventing the development of any physical or mental disability. The use of roentgen rays and radium for any purpose, and the use of electricity for surgical purposes including cauterization, are not part of physical therapy;
(b) "Physical therapist" means a person licensed in this state to practice physical therapy as defined in this chapter, and whose license is in good standing;
(c) "Physical therapist assistant" means a health care worker who assists a physical therapist in the provision of physical therapy under the direct, on-site supervision of the physical therapist. The physical therapist assistant may perform physical therapy procedures and related tasks that have been selected and delegated by the supervising physical therapist, but shall not perform the following physical therapy activities: interpretation of referrals; physical therapy initial evaluation and reevaluation; identification, determination or modification of plans of care (including goals and treatment programs); final discharge assessment/evaluation or establishment of the discharge plan; or therapeutic techniques beyond the skill and knowledge of the physical therapist assistant;
(d) "Referral" means the written or oral designation of physical therapy services by a doctor of medicine, dentistry, osteopathy, podiatry or chiropractic, or by a nurse practitioner, holding a license in good standing; and the instruction therefor may be as detailed or as general as the doctor or nurse practitioner in his or her sound discretion deems necessary in the particular case;
(e) "Board" means the State Board of Physical Therapy established in Section 73-23-41;
(f) "Direct, on-site supervision" means face-to-face oversight by a licensed physical therapist at regular intervals, as prescribed in regulations adopted by the board, of the services provided to a patient by a licensed physical therapist assistant.
(g) "Direct supervision" means face-to-face oversight at regular intervals of a physical therapist issued a temporary license under Section 73-23-53(1) by a licensed physical therapist. Such direct supervision shall be in accordance with the regulations adopted by the board; provided, however, that a licensed physical therapist shall be authorized to have direct supervision over not more than four (4) physical therapist assistants at one (1) time.
SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2006.