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The analysis of any legal or medical billing is dependent on numerous specific facts — including the factual situations present related to the patients, the practice, the professionals and the medical services and advice. Additionally, laws and regulations and insurance and payer policies are subject to change. The information that has been accurate previously can be particularly dependent on changes in time or circumstances. The information contained in this web site is intended as general information only. It is not intended to serve as medical, health, legal or financial advice or as a substitute for professional advice of a medical coding professional, healthcare consultant, physician or medical professional, legal counsel, accountant or financial advisor. If you have a question about a specific matter, you should contact a professional advisor directly. CPT copyright American Medical Association. All rights reserved. CPT is a registered trademark of the American Medical Association.

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California Physical Therapy

Welcome to our California Physical Therapy FAQs.  We've combined the state laws, board rules, and statements to create a clear guide on the rules that must be followed by PTs and PTAs in California. 

FAQs

Continuing Education

    • How many continuing education hours are required during a reporting period?
    • Can CE credits be carried over into the next reporting period?
    • Are there any specific courses that must be taken?
    • What types of activities can be used for the continuing education requirements?
    • What type of approval is needed for the courses?
    • What are the reporting requirements?
    • Waivers and audits 

Scope of Practice

  • How is physical therapy defined in California?
  • What is included in the practice of physical therapy?
  • What is specifically excluded from the practice?
  • Are there any special training requirements?
  • Can PTs practice wound debridement?
  • Does California allow PTs to remove staples and sutures?

Electromyography Certification

  • Certification and Application Requirement
  • Requirements for Kinesiological Electromyography Certification
  • Requirements for Electroneuromyography Authorization
  • Suspension or Revocation of Certificates
  • Electromyography Reports

Topical Medications

  • Administration of Medications
  • Authorization and Protocols Required
  • Authorized Topical Medications

Direct Access and Referrals 

  • Is a referral required to provide PT services?
  • Do I have to give my patient specific notice?
  • Are there situations where the above conditions do not have to be met?
  • When does a PT have to refer a patient to a physician?

Assistants

  • Definition of a PTA
  • What activities are expressly prohibited?
  • Can a PTA perform a functional capacity evaluation?
  • What are the responsibilities of the PT when delegating to a PTA?
  • What type of therapist supervision is required?
  • Can an assistant be supervised by a physical therapy student or graduate?
  • Who is the therapist of record?
  • What is the ratio between supervising PTs and PTAs?
  • What must a PTA document?
  • Required designation for assistants
  • Can PTAs serve in leadership roles?

Aides

  • What can an aide do?
  • What is an aide expressly prohibited from doing?
  • What are the responsibilities of the PT when delegating to an aide?
  • What type of supervision is required?
  • Can an aide be supervised by a physical therapy student or graduate?
  • What is the ratio between supervising PTs and aides?
  • Identification requirements for aides
  • Can athletic trainers be utilized as aides?

PT and PTA Students

  • Can students practice in a clinical setting?
  • What kind of supervision is required for student physical therapists?
  • What kind of supervision is required for student PTAs?
  • How must students identify themselves?

PT and PTA Graduates 

  • Who is eligible for a temporary permit?
  • What type of supervision is required for a physical therapist license applicant?
  • Documentation requirements for the PT graduate/applicant
  • Documentation requirements for the supervising PT
  • Supervision requirements for a PTA license applicant
  • Documentation requirements for the PTA license applicant
  • Responsibilities of the supervising PT
  • Duration of the permit

Documentation Requirements

  • What are a therapist’s documentation responsibilities?
  • What are a therapy assistant’s documentation responsibilities?
  • When does a therapist need to reassess the patient?
  • How long do I need to maintain patient records?

Advertising

  • Can I advertise my practice?
  • What is considered to be a false or misleading statement?
  • What is required if I advertise my prices?
  • What may be included in my advertisement?

Identification and Notifications 

  • Individual Identification
  • Use of the prefix “Dr.”
  • Notification to Patients
  • Notice of Information Changes
    Unprofessional Conduct
    • Violations related to supervision
    • Violations related to records
    • Violations related to sexual misconduct
    • Requirement to report a conviction or license action
    • Prohibited contract provisions
    • When required to report to the board


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