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New Jersey Physical Therapy Assistants 

Definition of a PTA

"Physical therapist assistant" means a natural person who is licensed pursuant to the provisions of this act and who assists a licensed physical therapist under his direct supervision in accordance with this act and regulations of the board.

What are PTAs allowed to do?

A licensed physical therapist assistant may initiate patient physical therapy treatment consistent with the role of a physical therapist assistant, only at the discretion of, and under the direct supervision of, a licensed physical therapist.

The licensed physical therapist assistant may participate in collecting data for the examination of the patient; however, any interpretation of the data or assessment shall be made by the supervising licensed physical therapist.

What activities are expressly prohibited?

A licensed physical therapist assistant shall not perform a physical therapy examination, evaluation, diagnosis or prognosis, develop a plan of care, modify a plan of care, or independently engage in physical therapy instruction.

What are the responsibilities of the PT when delegating to a PTA?

The supervising licensed physical therapist shall retain responsibility for the physical therapy care of the patient being treated by the licensed physical therapist assistant. The licensed physical therapist assistant shall be responsible for patient care within the limits of his or her scope of practice

The supervising licensed physical therapist shall review the plan of care with the licensed physical therapist assistant:

    • Before a licensed physical therapist assistant provides care to a patient for the first time;
    • Before the licensed physical therapist assistant implements a new or revised plan of care; and
    • On or before the patient's next visit in the event of a change in the designated supervisor.

At least once every thirty (30) days after initial review of a new or revised plan of care with the licensed physical therapist assistant, the supervising licensed physical therapist shall document in the patient record that he or she has reviewed the patient's progress and plan of care with the assistant, including the dates when those reviews took place. Such documentation may be incorporated into progress notes written by the licensed physical therapist and the licensed physical therapist assistant and need not require separate or additional notes.

Change of Supervisor

In the event of a change of the supervising licensed physical therapist, the subsequent supervisor shall assume responsibility for the ongoing supervision of any licensed physical therapist assistant(s) providing care to the patient and shall become the designated supervisor.

Emergency Situations

In an emergency situation which causes the unanticipated absence of the supervising licensed physical therapist, a licensed physical therapist assistant may continue to render services to only those patients for which the licensed physical therapist assistant has previously participated in the intervention for established plans of care not to exceed the regularly scheduled operational hours of that particular day.

What type of therapist supervision is required?

A licensed physical therapist assistant may initiate patient physical therapy treatment consistent with the role of a physical therapist assistant, only at the discretion of, and under the direct supervision of, a licensed physical therapist.

Direct Supervision: The licensed physical therapist supervisor shall be in the same building or, where physical therapy is rendered in several contiguous buildings, in one of the contiguous buildings, while the licensed physical therapist assistant is rendering care. The licensed physical therapist supervisor shall be constantly available through electronic communications for consultation or for recall to the area where the licensed physical therapist assistant is rendering care.

What is the ratio between supervising PTs and PTAs?

The maximum licensed physical therapist to licensed physical therapist assistant ratio shall be one licensed physical therapist to two licensed physical therapist assistants at any one time.

What must a PTA document?

A licensed physical therapist assistant shall document treatments in the patient record. The supervising licensed physical therapist shall review and cosign contemporaneously the licensed physical therapist assistant's entries into the patient record.

Can a PTA document this care without the co-signature of a therapist?

The supervising licensed physical therapist shall review and cosign contemporaneously the licensed physical therapist assistant's entries into the patient record.

PTA Identification

Any person who holds a license as a physical therapist assistant pursuant to this act may use the title "physical therapist assistant," "licensed physical therapist assistant," or the abbreviations "PTA" or "LPTA."

Citations

N.J.S.A. § 45:9-37.13

N.J.S.A. § 45:9-37.20

N.J.S.A. § 45:9-37.31

N.J.A.C. § 13:39A-2.3

N.J.A.C. § 13:39A-7.2


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