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Tennessee Jurisprudence

Tennessee Jurisprudence
Calista Kelly, PT, DPT, Cert. MDT, CEEAA
July 24, 2018

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Learning ObjectivesThe learning objectives for this course are as follows:The participant will be able to explain how to access the most recent TN Physical Therapy Practice Act The participant will be able to identify at least two statues that affect the practice of physical therapy in TennesseeThe participant will be able to describe the role of regulations on the practice of physical therapy in TennesseeThe participant will be able to explain the role of the attorney general in publishing opinions affecting the practice of physical therapy in TennesseeThe participant will be able to describe the role of the Board of Physical Therapy in the practice of physical therapy in TennesseeIntroductionIt is important to note that laws and rules, as well as standards and policies, can change at any time.  It is the licensee’s responsibility to stay abreast of changes, and the best way to do that is through the Tennessee Board of Physical Therapy as well as through the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA).In Tennessee, we are able to practice based upon the Physical Therapy Practice Act, which is a statute, or a formal written enactment by a legislative body declaring, commanding, or prohibiting something.  Read the Practice Act in its entirety and become familiar with it; this course today will only be an overview and touch on a few key highlights.StatutesA statute is the written will of the legislative body to solemnly express according to the forms necessary to constitute the law of the state.  The primary role of the courts is to carry out the intent of the legislature.  In our case, legislative acts declare what the practice of physical therapy is – that is, what actions physical therapists can perform, and what actions are prohibited.Tennessee Physical Therapy Practice ActThe Tennessee Physical Therapy Practice Act is contained in Title 63, chapter 13, Parts 1, 3 and 4 of the Tennessee Code Annotated.  This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the Occupational and Physical Therapy Practice Act.  When this Title was first enacted, it compiled both the Occupational and Physical Therapy Practice Acts, so there will be some overlap between our Physical Therapy Practice Act and the Occupational Therapy Practice Act. The latest edition is available from the Tennessee Board of Physical Therapy here.  As noted, the board may adopt new rules or amend existing ones between complete editions, and if so, will list those on its website also.The legislative purpose and intent of the Practice Act is “to protect the public health and safety and welfare and to provide the state administrative control and supervision over the practice of physical therapy and of course occupational therapy." Physical Therapy Practice Act Part 1: DefinitionsDefinitions give us a common framework from which to begin a discussion on a particular topic or issue.  These definitions are found in Title 63, Chapter 13, Part 1 (General Provisions) of the Tennessee Code.63-13-103(12): Physical TherapistThe definition of a physical therapist is a person who is licensed pursuant to Title 63, Chapter 13 to practice physical therapy.63-13-103(13): Physical Therapist AssistantPhysical therapist assistant (PTA) means a person who meets the requirements of this chapter for licensure as a physical therapist assistant and who performs physical therapy procedures and related tasks that have been selected and delegated only by the supervising physical therapist;63-13-103(14): Physical TherapyPhysical Therapy means the care and services provided by or under the direction and supervision of a physical therapist who is licensed pursuant to Chapter 13. 63-13-103(15): Physical Therapy Assistive PersonnelOther assistive personnel means other trained or educated health care personnel not defined in subdivision (13) and (15)(B), who perform specific designated tasks related to physical therapy under the supervision of a physical therapist. At the discretion of the supervising physical therapist, and if properly credentialed and not prohibited by any other law, "other assistive personnel" or "other support personnel" may be identified by the title specific to their training or education.Physical therapy aide, inclusive of the terms "aide," "technician" and "transporter," means a person trained by and under the direction of a physical therapist who performs designated and supervised routine physical therapy tasks.63-13-103(16): Practice of Physical Therapy means: a) Examining, evaluating, and testing individuals with mechanical, physiological and developmental impairments, functional limitations and disability or other health and movement-related conditions in order to determine a physical therapy treatment, diagnosis, prognosis, a plan of therapeutic intervention and to assess the ongoing effect of an intervention.b)  Alleviating impairments and functional limitations by designing , implementing, and modifying therapeutic interventions that include, but are not limited to therapeutic exercise, functional training, manual therapy, therapeutic massage, assistive and adaptive orthotic, prosthetic, protective and supportive equipment, airway clearance techniques, debridement and wound care, physical agents or modalities, dry needling, mechanical and electrotherapeutic modalities, and patient-related instruction.c) Reducing the risk of injury, impairments, functional limitation, and disability, including the promotion and maintenance of fitness, health and quality of life in all age populations, andd) Engaging in administration, consultation, education, and research.63-13-103 (17) Restricted Physical Therapist Assistant LicenseA license for which the committee has placed any restrictions due to action imposed by the committee.63-13-103 (18) Restricted Physical Therapy LicenseA license on which the committee places restrictions or conditions, or both as to the scope of practice, place of practice, supervision of practice, duration of license status, or type of condition of the patient to whom the licensee may provide services.  63-13-103(18): SupervisionSupervision of the physical therapist assistant means the supervising physical therapist will be readily available to the physical therapist assistant being supervised. When the physical therapist assistant is practicing in an off-site setting, the supervising physical therapist will be immediately accessible by telecommunications. Patient conferences will be regularly scheduled and documented and supervisory visits will be made as further outlined in the rules and regulations.63-13-103 (18) Scope of practiceThe Physical Therapy Practice Act confines the practice of physical therapists to physical therapy.  The practice of medicine, osteopathy, podiatry, chiropractic, or nursing is prohibited.  The practice of physical therapy shall be under the written or oral referral of a licensed doctor of either medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, podiatry,...

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calista kelly

Calista Kelly, PT, DPT, Cert. MDT, CEEAA

Managing Editor, PhysicalTherapy.com

Calista holds a master’s degree in physical therapy from St. Ambrose University and a doctorate degree (DPT) from the University of Mississippi. She attained a credentialing certificate from the McKenzie Institute in 2011 and the CEEAA credential in 2014 from the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy of the American Physical Therapy Association. With more than 16 years of experience, she has worked as a clinician in a variety of settings including ICU, outpatient orthopedics/sports medicine, neuro, SNF/LTC, LTACH, wound care, home health and pediatrics.



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