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Jurisprudence and Physical Therapy

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

March 1, 2024

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Question

Do all states mandate jurisprudence requirements for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants, and what is the rationale behind the need for professionals in physical therapy to stay informed and up-to-date with their practice act?

Answer

Jurisprudence requirements for physical therapists vary across states in the United States, with each state's physical therapy licensing board or regulatory agency establishing its own rules and regulations, including any jurisprudence requirements. Jurisprudence courses and/or exams assess therapists' knowledge of the laws and regulations governing physical therapy in a specific state. 

Therapists must stay informed about and adhere to their practice acts for several reasons:

  1. Legal and Ethical Compliance: Understanding and following the regulations outlined in practice acts ensures therapists comply with legal and ethical standards, maintaining a high standard of professional conduct.

  2. Patient Safety and Quality of Care: Practice acts often include guidelines and standards aimed at protecting patients' well-being and safety.  Staying updated on these regulations enables therapists to implement best practices for their patients' safety.

  3. Professional Accountability: Adhering to the Practice Act demonstrates professional accountability, ensuring therapists can be held responsible for maintaining the highest standards of care through their actions and decisions.

  4. Licensing and Certification Requirements: Practice acts govern licensing and certification requirements. To maintain professional credentials, therapists must be aware of continuing education, renewal, and other requirements specific to the state or states practicing in.

  5. Professional Development: Staying current with the practice act allows therapists to engage in ongoing professional development, attending conferences, or training sessions to enhance their skills and knowledge for optimal client care.

  6. Adaptation to Changes: Practice acts may undergo updates or changes over time. Staying informed about these changes enables therapists to adapt their practices, incorporating new evidence-based practices and aligning with evolving standards.

For the most accurate and up-to-date information on jurisprudence requirements for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants in a particular state, it is recommended to contact the state's physical therapy licensing board or regulatory agency.


calista kelly

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

Senior 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. In 2019, she completed the requirements for the Advanced Credentialed Exercise Expert for Aging Adults (ACEEAA) through the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy.  Calista has been licensed as a physical therapist since 2001 and 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. Her practice interests are spine care, jurisprudence, orthopedics, acute care, wound care, and temporomandibular disorders. 


Related Courses

Jurisprudence for the Wisconsin Physical Therapist and Physical Therapist Assistant
Presented by Calista Kelly, PT, DPT, ACEEAA, Cert. MDT
Text/Transcript

Presenter

Calista Kelly, PT, DPT, ACEEAA, Cert. MDT
Course: #4638Level: Intermediate1 Hour
  'It covers everything PT's and PTA's must know in regards to jurisprudence in the state of Wisconsin'   Read Reviews
PTs and PTAs practicing in Wisconsin must complete a jurisprudence course for license renewal. Jurisprudence components include sections of the Wisconsin Administrative Code that deal specifically with the Wisconsin Physical Therapy Examining Board and physical therapy practice, the Wisconsin Administrative Code which has to do with the Department of Safety and Professional Services Administrative Procedures and specific statutes enacted in chapters 15, 440, and 448 of the state code that impacts physical therapy.

Tennessee Jurisprudence
Presented by Calista Kelly, PT, DPT, ACEEAA, Cert. MDT
Text/Transcript

Presenter

Calista Kelly, PT, DPT, ACEEAA, Cert. MDT
Course: #4559Level: Introductory2 Hours
  'outlined and easy to read'   Read Reviews
Tennessee physical therapists and physical therapist assistants are required to participate in a two hour course on the laws that affect the practice of physical therapy in Tennessee. This course reviews various legal authorities which impact the practice of physical therapy in Tennessee.

Alabama Jurisprudence
Presented by Calista Kelly, PT, DPT, ACEEAA, Cert. MDT
Text/Transcript

Presenter

Calista Kelly, PT, DPT, ACEEAA, Cert. MDT
Course: #3796Level: Intermediate2 Hours
  'great refresher'   Read Reviews
A review of the Alabama Physical Therapy Practice Act and Administrative Code, along with key compliance-related updates (mandatory reporting for child abuse, HIPAA) for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants licensed in the state of Alabama. This course is directly related to the practice of physical therapy and is therefore appropriate for the PT/PTA.

Ethics and Jurisprudence for the Indiana Physical Therapist and Physical Therapist Assistant
Presented by Kathleen D. Weissberg, OTD, OTR/L, CMDCP, CDP, CFPS, Calista Kelly, PT, DPT, ACEEAA, Cert. MDT
Text/Transcript

Presenters

Kathleen D. Weissberg, OTD, OTR/L, CMDCP, CDP, CFPSCalista Kelly, PT, DPT, ACEEAA, Cert. MDT
Course: #4574Level: Intermediate2 Hours
  'Review of ethics and jurisprudence'   Read Reviews
PTs and PTAs practicing in the state of Indiana are required to complete a two-hour course on ethics and jurisprudence for license and certificate renewal respectively. This course reviews the principles of ethics, common ethical dilemmas, and methods for analyzing ethical dilemmas. Jurisprudence components as outlined by the Indiana Board of Physical Therapy, Indiana Physical Therapy Practice Act and The Indiana Administrative Code is also discussed.

Supervising Assistants, Students, and Aides: Upholding Your Ethics in a Challenging Health Care Environment
Presented by Kathleen D. Weissberg, OTD, OTR/L, CMDCP, CDP, CFPS
Recorded Webinar

Presenter

Kathleen D. Weissberg, OTD, OTR/L, CMDCP, CDP, CFPS
Course: #4377Level: Intermediate2 Hours
  'Good examples at the end'   Read Reviews
This presentation reviews the definitions of supervision as well as APTA guidance related to supervising assistants, students, and aides in various healthcare environments. Documentation guidelines for Medicare are reviewed as these relate to what an assistant can complete versus a therapist. The use of students and rehab aides in long-term care is reviewed in accordance with Medicare guidelines. Real examples of common supervisory ethical dilemmas from the field, including the appropriate action steps to take in each one, are highlighted. This course is directly related to the practice of physical therapy and is therefore appropriate for the PT/PTA

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