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Arizona Physical Therapy Assistants

Arizona’s Definition of a PTA

"Physical therapist assistant" means a person who meets the requirements of this chapter for certification and who performs physical therapy procedures and related tasks that have been selected and delegated by the supervising physical therapist.

Which services are PTAs allowed to practice?

Physical therapy procedures and related tasks that have been selected and delegated by the supervising physical therapist.

Are there specific services that PTAs are prohibited from practicing?

Services that are the sole responsibility of the PT.

What type of supervision is required?

General supervision.

"General supervision" means that the supervising physical therapist is on call and is readily available via telecommunications when the physical therapist assistant is providing treatment interventions

“Readily available,” as used in the definition of “general supervision” prescribed under A.R.S. § 32-2001, means a supervising physical therapist is able to respond within 15 minutes to a communication from a physical therapist assistant providing a selected treatment intervention under general supervision.

“On call,” as used in the definition of “general supervision” prescribed under A.R.S. § 32-2001, means a supervising physical therapist is able to go to the location at which and on the same day that a physical therapist assistant provides a selected treatment intervention if the physical therapist, after consultation with the physical therapist assistant, determines that going to the location is in the best interest of the patient.

Responsibilities of the physical therapist before delegating to an assistant?

Before delegating performance of a selected treatment intervention to a physical therapist assistant working under general supervision, the supervising physical therapist shall ensure that the physical therapist assistant:

    • Is certified, and
    • Has completed at least 2,000 hours of experience as a physical therapist assistant working with patients under onsite supervision.

What are the assistant’s documentation responsibilities?

A physical therapist assistant who provides a selected treatment intervention under general supervision shall document in the patient record:

    • The name and license number of the supervising physical therapist;
    • The name of the patient to whom the selected treatment intervention is provided;
    • The date on which the selected treatment intervention is provided;
    • The selected treatment intervention provided; and
    • Whether the physical therapist assistant consulted with the supervising physical therapist during the course of the selected treatment intervention and if so, the subject of the consultation and any decision made.

Does the supervising physical therapist need to co-sign documentation created by the PTA?

A physical therapist assistant must document care provided but may do so without the co-signature of the supervising physical therapist. 

What is the ratio between supervising PTs and PTAs?

A physical therapist shall not supervise more than three (3) assistive personnel at any time. If a physical therapist supervises three assistive personnel, the physical therapist shall ensure that:

    • At least one (1) of the assistive personnel is a physical therapist assistant,
    • No more than two (2) of the assistive personnel are physical therapist assistants performing selected treatment interventions under general supervision, and
    • Assistive personnel other than a physical therapist assistant perform a physical therapy task only under the onsite supervision of a physical therapist.

Required designation for assistants

A physical therapist assistant shall use the designation “P.T.A.” immediately following the physical therapist assistant’s name to denote certification.

References

A.R.S. § 32-2001

A.R.S. § 32-2043

A.A.C. R4-24-101

A.A.C. R4-24-302

A.A.C. R4-24-303

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