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Substitute Senate Bill No. 399

PUBLIC ACT NO. 96-174

AN ACT CONCERNING PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT EDUCATION PROGRAMS.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 20-66 of the general statutes, as amended by sections 12 and 21 of public act 95-257 and section 2 of public act 95-299, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

As used in this chapter: (1) "Physical therapist" means a person licensed to practice physical therapy in Connecticut as defined in subdivision (2) of this section; (2) "Physical therapy" means the evaluation and treatment of any person by the employment of the effective properties of physical measures, the performance of tests and measurements as an aid to evaluation of function and the use of therapeutic exercises and rehabilitative procedures, with or without assistive devices, for the purpose of preventing, correcting or alleviating a physical or mental disability. Physical therapy includes the establishment and modification of physical therapy programs, treatment planning, instruction, peer review and consultative services. The term "physical therapy" does not include the use of cauterization or the use of Roentgen rays or radium for diagnostic or therapeutic purposes; and (3) "Physical therapist assistant" means a graduate of a physical therapist assistant program [licensed by the Connecticut Board of Governors of Higher Education or approved by the American Physical Therapy Association or other professional accrediting association approved by the United States Department of Education and recognized by] APPROVED BY THE STATE BOARD OF EXAMINERS FOR PHYSICAL THERAPISTS, WITH THE CONSENT OF the Commissioner of Public Health or a person who has completed twenty years of employment as a physical therapist assistant prior to October 1, 1989.

Sec. 2. Section 20-74 of the general statutes, as amended by sections 12 and 21 of public act 95-257, is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

No provision of this chapter shall confer any authority to practice medicine or surgery, nor shall this chapter prohibit the incidental care of the sick by domestic servants or by persons principally employed as housekeepers or as athletic trainers, nor prohibit any person from the domestic administration of family remedies or the furnishing of assistance in the case of emergency. It shall not prohibit persons registered under the provisions of chapter 371, 372, 373, 375 or 378 from administering care to patients, nor shall it prohibit the care of the sick with or without compensation or personal profit in connection with the practice of the religious tenets of any church by adherents thereof, provided such persons shall not otherwise engage in the practice of physical therapy within the meaning of this chapter. It shall not prohibit students who are enrolled in schools or courses of physical therapy OR PHYSICAL THERAPIST ASSISTANT PROGRAMS approved by the Board of Examiners for Physical Therapists with the consent of the Commissioner of Public Health [or students enrolled in physical therapist assistant programs licensed by the Connecticut Board of Governors for Higher Education] from performing such work as is incidental to their respective courses of study; nor shall it prohibit any physical therapist from another state from doing such therapist's work or other physical therapy activities as is incidental to his course of study when taking or giving a postgraduate course or other courses of study in this state which is approved by said board. It shall not prohibit any person who is a physical therapist assistant from assisting in the practice of physical therapy under the supervision of a licensed physical therapist provided such assistance is limited to the treatment of a person by the employment of the effective properties of physical measures and the use of therapeutic exercises and rehabilitative procedures, with or without assistive devices, for the purpose of preventing, correcting or alleviating a physical or mental disability, and does not include the interpretation of referrals, initial or discharge evaluation or assessment, or determination or modification of treatment or discharge plans. Any physical therapist who is a graduate from a school approved by said board of examiners with the consent of the Commissioner of Public Health but not licensed in this state may, with the approval of said department and upon obtaining a temporary certificate from said department, practice physical therapy in this state on a temporary basis for a period of six months, which period may be extended upon request at the discretion of the department, provided (1) such physical therapist shall not represent himself as being licensed to practice in this state and (2) application for licensure by examination, reciprocity or endorsement shall be filed with said department within six months after starting such practice. Persons in the service of the federal government are excluded from the provisions of this chapter. For the purposes of this section, supervision means the overseeing of or the participation in the work of a physical therapist assistant by a licensed physical therapist including but not limited to (1) continuous availability of direct communication between the physical therapist assistant and a licensed physical therapist; (2) availability of a licensed physical therapist on a regularly scheduled basis to (A) review the practice of the physical therapist assistant and (B) support the physical therapist assistant in the performance of his services; and (3) a predetermined plan for emergency situations, including the designation of an alternate licensed physical therapist in the absence of the regular licensed physical therapist.

Sec. 3. This act shall take effect from its passage.

Approved May 31, 1996. Effective May 31, 1996.

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