Legislative Update Feb. 2024

Direct Access

HB 1491 is a bill that was introduced by Representative Pat Gallagher and a group of initial co-sponsors. The objective is to modernize Direct Access for Physical Therapists in Pennsylvania.  SB 1042 was also recently introduced by Senator Rosemary Brown which will run concurrently. These legislative actions propose amending the Pennsylvania Physical Therapy Act (Act 38 of 2008) allowing increased access to Physical Therapy. HB 1491 was referred to the PA House Licensure Committee and SB 1042 was referred to the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee. This modernization of the Pennsylvania Physical Therapist Practice Act would accomplish the following:

  • Increase the time period a physical therapist is able to manage an individual without a referral from the current 30 days to 60 days from the first date of treatment.
  • Remove the current two year requirement of clinical practice before applying for a certificate of authorization to practice by direct access
  • Remove the requirement for the certificate of authorization

APTA Pennsylvania is asking members to do the following:

  • Review the information included on this page including the talking points
  • If Senator Rosemary Brown or Representative Pat Gallagher  or one of the legislators below who are co-sponsors, please reach out to thank them for their support!
    • Senators – Brown, Culver, Hutchison, Costa, Schwank, Argall
    • Representatives – Gallagher, Rabb, Guenst, Sanchez, Khan, Hill-Evans, Borcenski, Honenstein, Cerrato, Cirest, Kazeem, Green
  • If one of the members of the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure committee is your Senator, and is not already a co-sponsor, please contact them to request their co-sponsorship and support to refer SB 1042 to the whole Senate. The members of the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure committee are:
    • Senators – Patrick Stefano (R majority Chair) Lisa Boscola (D minority chair) Farry, Gebhard, Ward, Pennycuick, Aument, Regan, Robinson, Collett, Dillion, Flynn, Santarsiero
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  • If one of the members of the House Licensure Committee is your representative, and is not already a co-sponsor, please contact them to request their co-sponsorship and support to refer HB 1491 to the entire House. The members of the House  Professional Licensure committee are:
    • Representatives – Frank Burns (D majority Chair) Carl Metzgar (R minority Chair) Kosterowski, Guenst, Mullins, Williams, Markosek, Guzman, Munroe, Burgos, Malagari, Steele, Gallagher, Merski, Venkat, Ecker, Kuzma, Scheuren, Marcell, Lawrence, Tomlinson, Gaydos, Mako, Klunk, Mehaffle
  • Contact your State Senator and Representative’s office (preferably via phone or in person) to educate them on the value of our profession and the need for early management of movement issues.
  • Importantly, we need you to notify APTA Pennsylvania that you contacted your legislator by one of the below methods, as it helps our executive committee, legal team, and content specialist know who may need follow up
  • Contact [email protected] with the date you contacted, the response (if applicable), and any follow-up items. 

APTA Pennsylvania has a new one-page HB 1491 and SB 1042 information handout, which includes pertinent details on both direct access, as well as talking points. We have mailed copies to your District Directors or you can contact the office at [email protected] and we will mail out copies upon request.

 Direct Access Talking Points:

  • A recent systematic review of the literature revealed direct access to physical therapy is more cost-effective, resulting in fewer visits than physician-first access in the United States, with greater functional improvement.
  • Professional liability insurers and the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy affirm that direct access does not jeopardize the health, safety, or welfare of the patient/clients.
  • Health Providers Service Organization (HPSO), the leading carrier of professional liability insurance for physical therapists in the US, states,
    • "Direct access is not a risk factor that we specifically screen for in the underwriting of our program nor do we charge a premium differential for physical therapists in direct access states. We currently have no specific underwriting concerns with respect to direct access for physical therapists."
  • HB 1491 and SB 1042 would revise the time period to permit a physical therapist to treat an individual without a referral for up to 60 days from the first date of treatment.
  • HB 1491 and SB 1042 would remove the current 2 year period a newly licensed physical therapist has to wait to apply for a direct access certificate.
  • HB 1491 and SB 1042 would remove the current requirement for a certificate of authorization.