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Texas Physical Therapy Assistants

"Physical therapist assistant" means a person licensed by the board as a physical therapist assistant:

    • Who assists and is supervised by a physical therapist in the practice of physical therapy; and
    • Whose activities require an understanding of physical therapy.

Which services are PTAs allowed to practice?

A PTA may be assigned responsibilities by a supervising PT to:

    • Provide physical therapy services as specified in the physical therapy plan of care which may include but are not limited to:
      • Preparing patients, treatment areas, and equipment;
      • Implementing treatment programs that include therapeutic exercises; gait training and techniques; ADL training techniques; administration of therapeutic heat and cold; administration of ultrasound; administration of therapeutic electric current; administration of ultraviolet; application of traction; performance of intermittent venous compression; application of external bandages, dressings, and support; performance of goniometric measurement;
      • Modifying treatment techniques as indicated in the plan of care;
    • Respond to acute changes in physiological state;
    • Teach other health care providers, patients, and families to perform selected treatment procedures and functional activities; and
    • Identify architectural barriers and report them to the PT.

Can a PTA screen patients?

Yes.  PTAs may screen patients designated by a PT as possible candidates for physical therapy services. Screening entails the collection of uniform information from all patients screened using a predetermined, standardized format. The information collected is delivered to the supervising PT. Only a PT may determine whether further intervention for patients screened is necessary.

Can a PTA modify the plan of care?

A PTA may not alter a plan of care or goals, however a PTA, may modify treatment techniques as indicated in the plan of care.

Are there specific services that PTAs are prohibited from practicing?

The PTA may not:

    • Specify and/or perform definitive (decisive, conclusive, final) evaluative and assessment procedures;
    • Alter a plan of care or goals;
    • Recommend wheelchairs, orthoses, prostheses, other assistive devices, or alterations to architectural barriers to persons;
    • Sign progress notes which design or modify the plan of care.

What type of supervision is required?

A supervising PT is responsible for and will participate in the patient's care.

A supervising PT must be on call and readily available when physical therapy services are being provided.

A PT may assign responsibilities to a PTA to provide physical therapy services, based on the PTA's training, that are within the scope of activities.

The supervising PT must hold documented conferences with the PTA regarding the patient. The PT is responsible for determining the frequency of the conferences consistent with accepted standards of practice.

What are the assistant’s documentation responsibilities?

The PTA must include the name of the supervising PT in his documentation of each

treatment session.

Does the supervising physical therapist need to co-sign documentation created by the PTA?

No.  The PTA must include the name of the supervising PT in his documentation of each treatment session

What is the ratio between supervising PTs and PTAs?

It is the responsibility of each PT and/or PTA to determine the number of PTAs and/or aides he or she can supervise safely.

Required designation for assistants

A licensed physical therapist assistant shall use the title physical therapist assistant or the initials PTA.

Reference

Tex. Occ. Code § 453.001

3 Tex. Admin. Code § 322.1

3 Tex. Admin. Code § 322.2

3 Tex. Admin. Code § 322.3

3 Tex. Admin. Code § 335.1



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