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New York PT Scope of Practice

How does New York define physical therapy?

Physical therapy is defined as:

    • The evaluation, treatment or prevention of disability, injury, disease, or other condition of health using physical, chemical, and mechanical means including, but not limited to heat, cold, light, air, water, sound, electricity, massage, mobilization, and therapeutic exercise with or without assistive devices, and the performance and interpretation of tests and measurements to assess pathophysiological, pathomechanical, and developmental deficits of human systems to determine treatment, and assist in diagnosis and prognosis.
    • The use of roentgen rays or radium, or the use of electricity for surgical purposes such as cauterization shall not be included in the practice of physical therapy.
    • Such treatment shall be rendered pursuant to a referral which may be directive as to treatment by a licensed physician, dentist, podiatrist, nurse practitioner or licensed midwife, each acting within his or her lawful scope of practice, and in accordance with their diagnosis, except as provided in subdivision d of this section.
    • Such treatment may be rendered by a licensed physical therapist for ten visits or thirty days, whichever shall occur first, without a referral from a physician, dentist, podiatrist, nurse practitioner or licensed midwife provided that:
      • The licensed physical therapist has practiced physical therapy on a full time basis equivalent to not less than three years.
      • Each physical therapist licensed pursuant to this article shall provide written notice to each patient receiving treatment absent a referral from a physician, dentist, podiatrist, nurse practitioner or licensed midwife that physical therapy may not be covered by the patient's health care plan or insurer without such a referral and that such treatment may be a covered expense if rendered pursuant to a referral. The physical therapist shall keep on file with the patient's records a form attesting to the patient's notice of such advice. Such form shall be in duplicate, with one copy to be retained by the patient, signed and dated by both the physical therapist and the patient in such form as prescribed pursuant to regulations promulgated by the commissioner.

Additional Topics Addressed

Medications – Iontophoresis 

Wound Debridement  


N.Y. EDN Law 136 ยง 6731

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