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Florida Physical Therapy Supervision of Assistants

Definition of a PTA

“Physical therapist assistant” means a person who is licensed as a PTA in Florida and can perform patient-related activities, including the use of physical agents, whose license is in good standing, and whose activities are performed under the direction of a physical therapist.

Responsibilities of the PTA

Physical Therapist Assistant Responsibilities. Physical therapist assistants shall:

    • Not initiate or change treatment without the prior assessment and approval of the physical therapist.
    • Not provide services to a patient who is an inpatient in a hospital or who is in the acute phase of injury or illness unless the physical therapist is readily and physically available to provide consultation.
    • Not carry out treatment procedures detrimental to the patient or for which the assistant is not qualified.
    • Report all untoward patient responses or change in medical status to the physical therapist.
    • Refer inquiries regarding patient prognosis to the physical therapist.
    • Discontinue immediately any treatment procedures which in the assistant’s judgment appear to be harmful to the patient and shall report them to the physical therapist.
    • When participating in student programs, ensure that the academic programs are accredited or in candidacy by the appropriate accrediting agency recognized by statute, and that the physical therapist assistant provides direct supervision when students are performing patient care activities.

What type of supervision is required?

General supervision of a physical therapist, does not require onsite supervision by a physical therapist: Patient-related activities performed by a physical therapist assistant for a board-certified orthopedic physician or physiatrist licensed pursuant to chapter 458 (physician) or chapter 459 (osteopath) or a practitioner licensed under chapter 460 (chiropractor).

Onsite supervision: Patient-related activities performed for all other health care practitioners licensed under chapter 458 (physician) or chapter 459 (osteopath) and those patient-related activities performed for practitioners licensed under chapter 461 (podiatrist) or chapter 466 (dentist).

Accessibility of an offsite PT

During the delivery of physical therapy care by the physical therapist assistant to patients who are not inpatients in a hospital, or who are not in the acute phase of injury or illness, the physical therapist shall be accessible at all times by telecommunication and shall be within the same geographic location as the assistant.

Supervision of PTAs in a hospital setting

During an acute phase of injury or illness, or while the patient is an inpatient in a hospital, the physical therapist shall be readily and physically available for consultation to the physical therapist assistant.


Fla. Stat. § 486.021

Fla. Admin. Code § 64B17-6.001

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