Physical therapists will soon be able to use a telemedicine platform to reach patients in other states, once the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact goes live, according to a news story from mHealth Intelligence.

Officials with the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBT) have set mid-2018 as the go-live date for the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact. At that time, physical therapists and physical therapy assistants can use an expedited process for applying for licenses to practice in member states, and can then use a telemedicine platform to expand their business.

The compact went live in April 2017 with passage in a 10th state, triggering the creation of a Physical Therapy Compact Commission to develop final rules and bylaws. Those guidelines were approved in December 2017, and are now being implemented by boards in member states.

With New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s signature on S2511 last month, 15 states have now joined the compact – Washington, Oregon, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, New Hampshire and New Jersey. Five more states – Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and South Carolina – are considering legislation to join the compact, the news report continues.

The compact is expected to help physical therapists expand their reach and partner with health systems on telehealth and telemedicine therapy and rehabilitation programs serving diverse populations like postoperative patients, seniors, athletes and those with chronic conditions.

“In physical therapy, our patients/clients are asking for more time-efficient and less costly care models,” the American Physical Therapy Association, also a supporter of the licensure compact, reports on its website, per the news story. “Their busy lifestyles also can make it difficult for them to attend traditional appointments.”

Among those supporting a licensure compact for physical therapists is the American Telemedicine Association.

“For telemedicine to achieve its maximum potential nationwide, physical therapists must be able to practice at the top of their scope across the barriers of geography,” Jonathan Linkous, the ATA’s former CEO, said in a January 27, 2016, letter to William A. Hatherill, his counterpart at the FSBPT, the news story continues.

“Passage of the compact will empower physical therapists to participate in and benefit from a variety of innovative service delivery models featuring a multi-disciplinary team approach to provide and coordinate a patient’s care. Patients will reap the ultimate rewards of these efforts.”

[Source: mHealth Intelligence]