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Indiana Physical Therapy Assistants

Definition of a PTA

"Physical therapist's assistant" means a person who is registered by the committee to assist in the practice of physical therapy under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist or under the direct supervision of a physician by performing those assigned physical therapy procedures.

What are PTAs allowed to do?

Administering treatment through the use of physical, chemical, or other properties of heat or cold, light, water, electricity, massage, mechanical devices, and therapeutic exercise, which includes all types of physical rehabilitative techniques and procedures.

What activities are expressly prohibited?

Performing and interpreting tests and measurements of neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, cardiac, and pulmonary functions as a part of treatment, interpretation of physician referrals, initial patient evaluation, initial and ongoing treatment planning, periodic reevaluation of the patient, and adjustment of the treatment plan.

Planning initial and subsequent treatment programs on the basis of test findings and within the orders of a referring practitioner who is licensed to practice medicine, osteopathic medicine, dentistry, podiatry, or chiropractic.

What type of therapist supervision is required?

It is unlawful for the person to act as a physical therapist's assistant other than under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist who is in responsible charge of a patient or under the direct supervision of a physician.

"Direct supervision" means that the supervising physical therapist or physician at all times shall be available and under all circumstances shall be absolutely responsible for the direction and the actions of the person supervised when services are performed by the physical therapist's assistant.  With respect to the supervision of physical therapist's assistants unless the supervising physical therapist or physician is on the premises to provide constant supervision, the physical therapist's assistant shall consult with the supervising physical therapist or physician at least once each working day to review all patients' treatments. The supervising physical therapist or physician shall examine each patient not less than:

  • Every fourteen (14) days for inpatients in either a hospital or comprehensive rehabilitation facility;
  • The earlier of every ninety (90) days or six (6) physical therapy visits for patients in a facility for the mentally retarded (MR) and developmentally disabled (DD) and school system patients; and
  • The earlier of every thirty (30) days or every fifteen (15) physical therapy visits for all other patients; to review the patients' treatment and progress.

A consultation between a supervising physical therapist or a physician and the physical therapist's assistant may be in person, by telephone, or by a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), so long as there is interactive communication concerning patient care.

What is the ratio between supervising PTs and PTAs?

If this daily consultation is not face-to-face, the physical therapist or physician may not supervise more than the equivalent of three (3) full-time physical therapist's assistants.

Citation

IC 25-27-1-2

844 IAC 6-1-2



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