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New York Occupational Therapy Assistants

Practice of an OTA

Practice as an occupational therapy assistant shall include the providing of occupational therapy and client related services under the direction and supervision of an occupational therapist or licensed physician in accordance with the commissioner's regulations.

What are OTAs allowed to do?

Client related activities shall mean:

    • Contributing to the evaluation of a client by gathering data, reporting observations and implementing assessments delegated by the supervising occupational therapist or licensed physician;
    • Consulting with the supervising occupational therapist or licensed physician in order to assist him or her in making determinations related to the treatment plan, modification of client programs or termination of a client's treatment;
    • The utilization of a program of purposeful activities, a treatment program, and/or consultation with the client, family, caregiver, or other health care or education providers, in keeping with the treatment plan and under the direction of the supervising occupational therapist or licensed physician;
    • The use of treatment modalities and techniques that are based on approaches taught in an occupational therapy assistant educational program registered by the department or accredited by a national accreditation agency which is satisfactory to the department, and that the occupational therapy assistant has demonstrated to the occupational therapist or licensed physician that he or she is competent to use; or
    • The immediate suspension of any treatment intervention that appears harmful to the client and immediate notification of the occupational therapist or licensed physician.

What activities are expressly prohibited?

Since occupational therapy assistants as a rule have not demonstrated competence to perform patient/client evaluations, they may not be delegated to do so without having demonstrated competence and/or without supervision.

What type of therapist supervision is required?

Direction and supervision means that the occupational therapist or licensed physician:

    • Initiates, directs and participates in the initial evaluation, interprets the evaluation data, and develops the occupational therapy services plan with input from the occupational therapy assistant;
    • Participates, on a regular basis, in the delivery of occupational therapy services;
    • Is responsible for determining the need for continuing, modifying, or discontinuing occupational therapy services, after considering any reports by the occupational therapy assistant of any changes in the condition of the client that would require a change in the treatment plan;
    • Takes into consideration information provided about the client's responses to and communications during occupational therapy services; and
    • Is available for consultation with the occupational therapy assistant in a timely manner, taking into consideration the practice setting, the condition of the client and the occupational therapy services being provided.

Consistent with the requirements of this section, the determination of the level and type of supervision shall be based on the ability level and experience of the occupational therapy assistant providing the delegated occupational therapy services, the complexity of client needs, the setting in which the occupational therapy assistant is providing the services, and consultation with the occupational therapy assistant.

Written Supervision Plan

A written supervision plan, acceptable to the occupational therapist or licensed physician providing direction and supervision, shall be required for each occupational therapy assistant providing services. The written supervision plan shall specify the names, professions and other credentials of the persons participating in the supervisory process, the frequency of formal supervisory contacts, the methods (e.g., in-person, by telephone) and types (e.g., review of charts, discussion with occupational therapy assistant) of supervision, the content areas to be addressed, how written treatment notes and reports will be reviewed, including, but not limited to, whether such notes and reports will be initialed or co-signed by the supervisor, and how professional development will be fostered.

Documentation of supervision shall include the date and content of each formal supervisory contact as identified in the written supervision plan and evidence of the review of all treatment notes, reports and assessments.

The supervision plan shall require that the occupational therapist or licensed physician be notified whenever there is a clinically significant change in the condition or performance of the client, so that an appropriate supervisory action can take place.

What is the ratio between supervising OTs and OTAs?

In no event shall the occupational therapist or licensed physician supervise more than five (5) occupational therapy assistants, or its full time equivalent, provided that the total number of occupational therapy assistants being supervised by a single occupational therapist or licensed physician shall not exceed ten (10).


NYCCR §7902-a

NY EDN Law 156 §76.6

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