Thanks to key efforts by the Iowa Physical Therapy Association (IPTA) and the legislative advocacy of students and faculty from DMU’s doctor of physical therapy program, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed the Physical Therapy Licensure Compact (House File 2425) into law on April 4, 2018. The Physical Therapy Compact is an agreement between member states improving access to physical therapy services by increasing the ability of physical therapists to work in multiple states.
This compact reduces administrative burden on providers, and more importantly benefits patients with improved access to physical therapy services.
“By decreasing the regulatory challenges to practice across and between states, the new legislation will increase public access to physical therapy services,” says Catherine Stevermer, P.T., D.P.T., Ph.D., GCS, associate professor of physical therapy. “For example, this eases the process for physical therapists to seek interstate licensure, which will facilitate the licensure process for individuals in the military, traveling therapists, therapists traveling with athletic teams, or those relocating due to a family member’s employment change.”
Tracy Porter, D.P.T., assistant director of clinical education for DMU’s physical therapy program, is currently the vice president and president-elect of IPTA.
“This legislation is exciting for students as they prepare to graduate and seek licensure in Compact states,” she says. “Physical therapists and physical therapist assistants practicing near Compact state borders will also be able to provide better continuity of care for their patients.”
She adds that advocating for access to physical therapy services is the same as advocating for patients who need them. Physical therapists are health care professionals who treat patients of all ages to maintain, restore and improve movement and health. They help patients enjoy greater physical activity and less pain often while avoiding unnecessary surgeries, medications, doctor’s visits and even hospitalization and the financial burdens of such services. In Iowa, patients can receive physical therapy with or without a referral from another primary care provider.