On June 8, several physician organizations, including the OAFP, sent a joint letter to Representative Ron Young expressing opposition to House Bill 169 (HB 169), a bill to expand the scope of practice for physical therapists. Rep. Young (R-Lake County, OH) is chair of the House Commerce and Labor Committee, which is the committee that has been assigned to hear the bill.
Proponent testimony of the bill will be heard prior to the legislature’s summer break, but opponent testimony is not anticipated until after the break. Nevertheless, the physician organizations wanted to go on record early as opposing the bill. Meetings with members of the House Commerce and Labor Committee are planned throughout the summer months.
Dear Rep. Young:
We are writing to you today to express our sincere concern with changes to the scope of practice for physical therapists as proposed by Ohio HB 169.
We are especially concerned with the additional practice privileges that may be extended to physical therapists to “determine [medical] diagnoses in order to treat.” It is our belief that the diagnosis of medical conditions should be performed by appropriately trained physicians or those mid-level providers, such as nurse practitioners or physician assistants, who are acting under the authority of a physician. Currently, Medicare does not recognize diagnosis and treatment of conditions within scope of care for physical therapists and we believe that states should not either.
Further, we believe that it is not prudent for physical therapists to be able to “order tests that are performed and interpreted by other health care professionals.” The argument that is made by the Ohio Physical Therapy Association is that this may save the health system money, however it is our belief that diagnostic laboratory and imaging studies should be ordered by those with the appropriate training to follow-up on those results. Additionally, studies show that non-physician providers, including other allied health professionals, are more likely to order tests and utilize more resources compared with physicians.
We will be providing the Commerce and Labor Committee with additional information in the coming weeks, but in the meantime we wanted to make sure our position was known.
Thank you for your consideration.