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Alabama PT Survey
See Alabama Physical Therapy for more information.
Scope of Practice
How is the practice of Physical Therapy defined in state?
The treatment of a human being by the use of exercise, massage, heat, cold, water, radiant energy, electricity, or sound for the purpose of correcting or alleviating any physical or mental condition or preventing the development of any physical or mental disability, or the performance of neuromuscular-skeletal tests and measurements to determine the existence and extent of body malfunction; provided, that physical therapy shall be practiced only upon the referral of a physician licensed to practice medicine or surgery, a dentist licensed to practice dentistry, a licensed chiropractor, a licensed assistant to a physician acting pursuant to a valid supervisory agreement, or a licensed certified registered nurse practitioner in a collaborative practice agreement with a licensed physician.
Services specifically excluded from the scope of practice
Physical therapy does not include radiology or electrosurgery
Other services addressed by the board or regulations
The Alabama Board of Physical Therapy does not address telehealth.
Is a referral required to provide PT services?
Yes. physical therapy shall be practiced only upon the referral of a physician licensed to practice medicine or surgery, a dentist licensed to practice dentistry, a licensed chiropractor, a licensed assistant to a physician acting pursuant to a valid supervisory agreement, or a licensed certified registered nurse practitioner in a collaborative practice agreement with a licensed physician
Exceptions to the referral requirement?
Without prescription or referral, a licensed physical therapist may perform an initial evaluation or consultation of a screening nature to determine the need for physical therapy and may perform the physical therapy and other services. Implementation of physical therapy shall otherwise be based on the referral of a person licensed to practice medicine, surgery, dentistry, chiropractic, licensed assistant to a physician acting pursuant to a valid supervising agreement, or a licensed certified registered nurse practitioner in a valid collaborative practice agreement with a licensed physician.
The physical therapy and other services which may be performed without prescription or referral, include and are limited to the following:
Responsibilities of the Physical Therapist
The roles and responsibilities of a person licensed by this Board to practice physical therapy in the State of Alabama generally are:
1. To interpret a practitioner’s referral.
2. To perform and document the initial evaluation, as well as the physical therapy plan of care which may include:
3. A Physical Therapist will not be disciplined for accepting a referral from a licensed assistant to a physician acting pursuant to a valid supervisory agreement or a licensed certified registered nurse practitioner in a valid collaborative practice agreement with a licensed physician as long as the physical therapist has a reasonable good faith belief that the assistant to a physician is acting pursuant to a valid supervisory agreement or the nurse practitioner is in a valid collaborative practice agreement with a licensed physician.
4. To identify and document precautions, special problems, contraindications, anticipated progress, and plans for reevaluation.
5. To implement and supervise that program.
6. To select and delegate the appropriate portions of the treatment plan and program.
7. To delegate only those patient care duties to supportive personnel who are qualified under the provisions of these rules to perform such duties.
8. To reevaluate the patient and adjust the treatment plan, perform the final evaluation of the patient and discharge planning.
9. To designate or establish channels of written and oral communication.
10. To maintain adequate records of the case and report to appropriate sources.
11. To direct no more than four licensed physical therapist assistants at one time.
12. To refuse to carry out treatment procedures that they believe to be not in the best interest of the patient.
13. To provide supervision of physical therapist and/or physical therapist assistant students who are on clinical experiences approved by their school as part of their Commission on Accreditation of Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) approved educational program.
Physical Therapy Assistants
Which services are PTAs allowed to practice?
The roles and responsibilities of a person licensed to practice as a physical therapist assistant in the State of Alabama generally are:
Are there specific services that PTAs are prohibited from practicing?
See above for role and responsibilities of the physical therapist.
What type of supervision is required?
Direction means the action of the physical therapist in delegating duties to a physical therapist assistant, maintaining close communication with the physical therapist assistant, and overseeing the physical therapist assistant's activities on a frequent regularly scheduled basis.
Does the supervising physical therapist need to co-sign documentation created by the PTA?
Physical Therapy Aides
What can an aide do?
The roles and responsibilities of physical therapy aides in physical therapy care are to perform patient related support duties that do not require decision making skills of a licensee.
What is an aide expressly prohibited from doing?
What type of supervision is required?
Supervision means the direct onsite overseeing of the performance of assigned or delegated duties or functions.
How many CE hours are required for therapists?
Each physical therapist and physical therapist assistant licensed to practice by this Board shall complete for each compliance period, a minimum of ten (10) hours of continuing education activities.
How long is the continuing education period?
One year. October 1 through September 30 of the next year shall constitute a compliance period.
Due date for CE requirements
Are there any specific course requirements?
Beginning with the compliance period starting October 1, 2015, licensees complete at least two (2) hours of continuing education every fifth year on the topic of Alabama physical therapy jurisprudence, covering both the Practice Act and the Administrative Code. Both PTs and PTAs will be required to fulfill this requirement when renewing their license in years ending in zero (0) or five (5) (i.e., 2020, 2025, 2030, etc.). Individuals licensed without examination shall also complete this expectation within 30 days of initial licensure.
Can extra CE credits be carried over to the next period?
Continuing education hours earned by a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant in excess of ten (10) hours during a compliance period, may be carried forward into the next compliance period; but, no more than ten (10) hours may be carried forward.
How long to CE records need to be maintained?
Ala. Code § 34-24-191
Ala. Code § 34-24-210.1
Ala. Admin. Code §700-X-3-.03
Ala. Admin. Code § 700-X-2-.08