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Florida Physical Therapy Responsibilities

Supervision Definitions

Direct Supervision – Supervision of subordinate personnel performing directed actions, while the licensed supervisor is immediately physically available.

General supervision – Supervision of a physical therapist assistant, other than by direct supervision, whereby the physical therapist is accessible at all times by two-way communication, available, to respond to an inquiry when made and readily available for consultation during the delivery of care, and is within the same geographic location as the physical therapist assistant.

What are the overall responsibilities of the PT and PTA?

Physical therapy is a profession involving skilled practice of patient care. The primary concern of the physical therapist and physical therapist assistant is always the safety, well being, and best interest of the patient who must therefore recognize and carry out services consistent with legal rights and personal dignity of the patient.

Accordingly, it is the responsibility of all physical therapists and physical therapist assistants to:

    • Communicate effectively to the patient the treatment evaluation process and techniques to be used in any procedures before beginning treatment and anytime during the course of the treatment process.
    • Safeguard the confidentiality of information and require written consent from the patient or legally authorized representative prior to releasing information to a third party not involved in the actual care.
    • Avoid acts which blatantly disregard a patient’s modesty and neither suggest nor engage in sexual activities with patients under their care.
    • Neither use nor participate in the use of any form of communication containing false, fraudulent, misleading, deceptive, unfair or sensational statement or claim, nor use bribery in any form, nor use false advertising, nor misrepresentation of services or self, nor engage in other unprofessional conduct, including, but not limited to:
      • Inaccurately recorded, falsified, or altered patient records,
      • Falsely representing or misrepresenting facts on an application for employment,
      • Impersonating or acting as a proxy for an applicant in any examination for certification or registration,
      • Impersonating another certified or registered practitioner or permitting another to use his or her license for the purpose of practicing physical therapy or receiving compensation,
      • Providing false or incorrect information regarding the status of licensure.
    • Not exploit the patient or client for the financial gain of the licensee or a third party.
    • Practice physical therapy with that level of care, skill, and treatment which is recognized by a reasonably prudent similar physical therapy practitioner as being acceptable under similar conditions and circumstances.

Which services can only be performed by a licensed physical therapist?

Physical therapist’s professional responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

    • Interpretation of the practitioner’s referral.
    • Provision of the initial physical therapy assessment of the patient.
    • Initial identification and documentation of precautions, special problems, contraindications.
    • Development of a treatment plan including the long and short term goals.
    • Implementation of or directing implementation of the treatment plan.
    • Direction of appropriate tasks.
    • Reassessment of the patient in reference to goals and, when necessary, modification of the treatment plan.

What are the responsibilities of the PT when delegating?

Physical therapists shall:

    • Be professionally responsible for providing a referring practitioner, or a practitioner of record, with any information which will assist in the determination of an accurate medical diagnosis.
    • Not implement any plan of care that, in the physical therapist’s judgment, is contraindicated. If the plan of care was requested by a referring practitioner, the physical therapist shall immediately notify the referring practitioner that he is not going to follow the request and the reasons for such refusal.
    • Not direct any function or task which requires the skill, knowledge, and judgment of the physical therapist.
    • Assume the responsibility for assessing the patient, identifying the level of acuity of illness, planning the patient’s treatment program, and implementing and directing the program.
    • Hold primary responsibility for physical therapy care rendered under the therapist’s direction and shall be available for consultation at all times.


Fla. Stat. § 486.021

Fla. Admin. Code § 64B17-6.001

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