A new bill signed by Delaware Governor Jack Markell gives physical therapists a new scope of practice that includes telehealth, dry needling, and an updated definition of the practice of physical therapy. The legislation (HB 359), advocated for the Delaware Physical Therapy Association (DPTA), faced opposition from other provider groups, including acupuncturists who were opposed to the inclusion of dry needling in the new definition for physical therapy, according to a news release from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). The state governor signed the bill on August 12.
The APTA news release notes that in addition to the dry needling and telehealth provisions, the new law includes temporary exemptions to licensure for physical therapists licensed in another state who are in Delaware for educational purposes, accompanying raveling sports team or performance groups, or responding to declared emergencies. The Delaware State Examining Board of Physical Therapists and Athletic Trainers, the licensure board of the state, is expected to begin work on developing board rules related to the new law this fall.
George Edelman, PT, OCS, MTC, president of the DPTA, states, “The legislative process was very arduous, and I am grateful for all of our chapter members who attended hearings, met with legislators, and sent emails or made phone calls in support of HB 359.” Edelman adds, “We are thrilled that Delaware now has a physical therapy statute that reflects 21st century practice.”
Paul A. Rockar Jr, PT, DPT, MS, president of APTA, says, “APTA congratulates our Delaware Chapter on this significant legislative achievement. Our vision of transforming society by optimizing movement to improve the human experience begins with transforming our state licensure laws to ensure physical therapists can practice within their full scope.”