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New Jersey Physical Therapy Scope of Practice

How does the state define physical therapy?

"Physical therapy" and "physical therapy practice" mean the identification of physical impairment or movement-related functional limitation that occurs as a result of injury or congenital or acquired disability, or other physical dysfunction through examination, evaluation and diagnosis of the physical impairment or movement-related functional limitation and the establishment of a prognosis for the resolution or amelioration thereof, and treatment of the physical impairment or movement-related functional limitation, which shall include, but is not limited to, the alleviation of pain, physical impairment and movement-related functional limitation by therapeutic intervention, including treatment by means of manual therapy techniques and massage, electro-therapeutic modalities, the use of physical agents, mechanical modalities, hydrotherapy, therapeutic exercises with or without assistive devices, neurodevelopmental procedures, joint mobilization, movement-related functional training in self-care, providing assistance in community and work integration or reintegration, providing training in techniques for the prevention of injury, impairment, movement-related functional limitation, or dysfunction, providing consultative, educational, other advisory services, and collaboration with other health care providers in connection with patient care, and such other treatments and functions.

What is the scope practice for PTs?

"Physical therapy and physical therapy practice" mean the identification of physical impairment or movement-related functional limitation that occurs as a result of injury or congenital or acquired disability or other physical dysfunction through examination, evaluation and diagnosis of the physical impairment or movement-related functional limitation and the establishment of a prognosis, which includes the establishment of the plan of care and all interventions, for the resolution or amelioration thereof and treatment of the physical impairment or movement-related functional limitation, which shall include, but is not limited to, the alleviation of pain, physical impairment and movement-related functional limitation by physical therapy intervention, including treatment by means of:

    • Manual therapy techniques and massage;
    • Electro-therapeutic modalities;
    • The use of physical agents, mechanical modalities, hydrotherapy, therapeutic exercises with or without assistive devices;
    • Neurodevelopmental procedures;
    • Joint mobilization;
    • Movement-related functional training in self-care;
    • Providing assistance in community and work integration or reintegration;
    • Providing training in techniques for the prevention of injury, impairment, movement-related functional limitation, or dysfunction;
    • Providing consultative, educational, other advisory services; and
    • Collaboration with other health care providers in connection with patient care.

Diagnostic testing in connection with a physical therapy evaluation

A licensed physical therapist may bill a patient or third party payor for a diagnostic test in connection with a physical therapy evaluation provided:

    • The diagnostic testing is clinically supported and is specific to that individual patient's impairments, functional limitations, or disability;
    • The data sought to be gathered by such tests is relevant to the patient's impairments, functional limitations, and disability, and will provide sufficient information to assist in the development of appropriate interventions, objectives and goals;
    • The appropriate documentation of the analysis of the data acquired from the testing, relevant to the patient impairment, functional limitation and/or disability, is recorded in the patient's record; and
    • Any repeat or subsequent testing shall be for the purpose of substantiating the effectiveness of the physical therapy intervention. Testing intervals shall be determined by the licensed physical therapist and shall be consistent with the patient's diagnosis, disability and impairment.

Services that are expressly prohibited

The following acts and practices shall be among those deemed to be outside the scope of physical therapy and upon proof that a licensee is engaging in such conduct he or she may be subject to disciplinary action:

    • The conducting of a breast examination;
    • The conducting of a pelvic internal examination, except internal evaluation of the pelvic floor musculature;
    • The taking of radiological studies; or
    • The representation of physical therapy treatment to be a cure or remedy for disease or organic condition unrelated to physical disability for which physical therapy services have been sought.

Citations

N.J.S.A. § 45:9-37.13

N.J.A.C. § 13:39A-2.2


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