HOUSE BILL NO. 331
AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 1 AND SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 2
AN ACT TO AMEND CHAPTER 26, TITLE 24 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE PRACTICE OF PHYSICAL THERAPY.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Three-fifths of all members elected to each house concurring therein):
Section 1. Amend Chapter 26, Title 24 of the Delaware Code by striking said Chapter in its entirety and substituting in lieu thereof, the following:
"CHAPTER 26: PHYSICAL THERAPY"
The primary objective of the State Examining Board of Physical Therapists, to which all other objectives and purposes are secondary, is to protect the general public (especially those persons who are direct recipients of services regulated by this chapter) from unsafe practices, and from occupational practices which tend to reduce competition or to fix the price of services rendered. The secondary objectives of the Board are to maintain minimum standards of practitioner competency, and to maintain certain standards in the delivery of services to the public. In meeting its objectives, the Board shall develop standards assuring professional competence; shall monitor complaints brought against regulated practitioners of occupational groups under the jurisdiction of the Board; shall adjudicate at formal complaint hearings; shall develop rules and regulations; and shall impose sanctions where necessary against persons in the occupation& groups regulated by the board.
As used in this Chapter, unless the content requires otherwise, the following words shall have the following meanings:
(a) "Physical therapy" means the evaluation, instruction or treatment of any person to detect, assess, prevent, correct, alleviate or limit physical disability from injury or disease and any other physical and or mental condition, by the utilization of the effective properties of physical measures, activities and devices such as heat, cold, light, air, water, sound, electricity, massage, mobilization, theraputic exercises and rehabilitative procedures including training in functional activities, with or without assistive devices. Physical therapy also includes the supervision of physical therapy activities, physical therapy consultation and the establishment and modification of physical therapy programs. Physical therapy shall not include radiology, surgery, drugs or authorize the medical diagnosis of disease.
(b) "Physical therapist" means a person who is licensed to practice "physical therapy". "Physical therapist" and such words as "physiotherapist" are equivalent terms, and reference to any one of them in this act or otherwise shall include the others.
(c) "Physical therapist assistant" means a person who assists licensed physical therapists subject to the provisions of this act and rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto.
(d) "Board" means the State Examining Board of Physical Therapists which shall administer and enforce the provisions of this act.
§2603. Creation of Board; Appointment and Term of Members; Officers.
(a) There is hereby created the State Examining Board of Physical Therapists. The Board shall consist or five members, all of whom shall be residents of Delaware. Three members shall be physical therapists licensed to practice in Delaware; provided they have worked at least three years in Delaware as physical therapists immediately preceding their appointment. One member shall be a physical therapist assistant. One member shall be from the public who is not a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant and who shall not be related to any person actively engaged in said profession in this State. Nor shall said member have any interest in a business or institution engaged in Physical Therapy,
(b) The Governor shall appoint the members to serve on the Board. In appointing persons to fill vacancies in the four Board positions designated to be held by persons licensed under this Chapter, the Governor may select members who reside in different regions of the state
In an effort to provide statewide representation of physical therapists and physical therapist assistants. The Delaware Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association shall submit to the Governor a list of names and addresses of qualified physical therapists and physical therapist assistants willing to serve on the Board prior to an appointment to fill any vacancies including the initial appointments.
(c) Members of the initial Board shall be appointed In such a manner that the terms of two (2) members expire on June 30, 1985 and that the terms of the remaining three (3) members shall expire on June 30, 1986. Thereafter, appointments shall be made for terms of three years. A member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring otherwise than by expiration of a term shall be appointed for the remainder of the unexpired term, except that each member shall serve until his successor is duly appointed and qualified.
(d) A member of the Board shall be eligible for reappointment. A member shall not be appointed to serve more than two consecutive terms. A member shall receive reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred while engaged in the discharge of official duties. A member of the Board shall receive Fifty Dollars ($50.00) for every meeting of the Board attended by that member. However, in no event shall a member receive more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) annually as compensation for attending said meetings.
(e) The Board shall meet at least twice a year and may hold additional meetings whenever necessary to discharge its duties. The location of the meetings shall be determined by the Board, but shall be within the boundaries of the State of Delaware.
(f) The Board shall elect annually from its membership a chairman, a vice-chairman and a secretary.
§2604. Powers and Duties.
The State Examining Board of Physical Therapists shall have authority to:
(a) Formulate rules and regulations, with appropriate notice to those affected, where such notice can reasonably be given;
(b) Designate the application form to be used by all applicants, and to process all applications;
(c) Designate or prepare a written examination to be taken by persons applying for licensure, except applicants who qualify for licensure by reciprocity;
(d) Provide for the administration of all examinations, including notice and information to applicants, proctoring, and grading;
(e) Grant licenses to all persons who meet the qualifications for licensure;
(f) Receive complaints from practitioners and from the public concerning practitioners, or concerning practices of the profession; to evaluate such complaints; and to take such action within its powers as the Board deems appripriate;
(g) Issue subpoenas and compel the attendance of witnesses and production of records;
(h) Administer oaths to witnesses;
(i) Determine whether or not a practitioner shall ')e the subject of a disciplinary hearing, and if so, to conduct such hearing in accordance with this chapter and the provisions of the Administrative Procedures Act;
(j) Where it has been determined after a disciplinary hearing, that penalties or sanctions should be imposed to designate and impose the appropriate sanction or penalty after time for appeal has lapsed;
(k) Maintain complete records relating to meeting minutes, applications examinations, rosters, changes and additions to the rules and regulations, complaints, hearings, and other matters as the Board shall determine.
§2605. Practice of Physical Therapy; License Required; Exceptions.
(a) No person shall practice nor hold himself out as being able to practice physical therapy in this state or act as a physical therapist assistant in any manner whatsover whether or not compensation Is received or expected, unless he is licensed or registered in accordance with the provisions of this act and such license or registration Is in good standing and has not been suspended or revoked.
(b) This act shall not prohibit any person registered or licensed to practice in this State under any law, from engaging in that practice for which such person is registered or licensed.
(c) This act shall not prohibit students whether or not licensed in Delaware, who are enrolled either in schools or post-graduate courses of physical therapy recognized by the Board, from performing such work or acts of physical therapy as is incidental to their respective course of study while under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist.
(d) Nothing in this act shall apply to any person employed by an agency, bureau or division of the federal government while in the discharge of official duties, however, if such person engages in the practice of physical therapy in this state outside the scope of such official duty, he must be licensed as herein provided.
(e) Any person from rendering medical, surgical or health services, if such services are rendered by such person under the supervision and control of a physician or surgeon, licensed under this Chapter. Nothing herein shall be construed to change or modify legitimate practices currently prevailing in the practice of optometry or ophthalmology."
§2606. Qualifications of Applicants For Licensure or Registration; Education Program Foreign Trained Applicants.
(a) To be eligible for licensure as a physical therapist or registration as a physical therapist assistant, an applicant shall submit to the Board satisfactory evidence of (i) suitability to practice; (ii) graduation from a school offering a program in physical therapy or physical therapist assistant, which program as offered by such school, has been approved for the educational preparation of physical therapists or physical therapist assistants by the appropriate accrediting agency recognized by the Council on Post Secondary Accreditation
(formerly, the Federation of Regional Accrediting Commission of Higher Education) or the United States Commission of Education, at the time of graduation and (iii) passes to the satisfaction of the Board, an examination administered by the Board to determine the applicant's fitness to practice physical therapy or to act as a physical therapist assistant as herein provided, (iv) meets additional educational requirements set forth in rules and regulations (v) or if graduated prior to 1936, the school was approved by the American Physical Therapy Association at the time of graduation.
(b) (i) A physical therapist applicant whose application is based on a diploma issued to him by a foreign physical therapy school shall furnish evidence satisfactory to the Board of the completion of a physical therapy school or schools resident course of professional intruction equivalent to that required in paragraph (a) above, of this section.
(ii) Before a license may be issued, each foreign applicant must meet the requirements of
subsection (i) above and pass a written examination as provided under Sections 2607.
§2607. Application Fee; Renewal; Misrepresentation.
(a) Each application for licensure or registration under this act shall be accompanied by a fee set forth In rules and regulations. Licenses and registrations shall expire biennially on January I and may be renewed upon submission of a renewal application provided by the Board and payment of a renewal fee along with evidence of continuous education courses as may be required by the rules and regulations set forth by the Board. If the renewal fee is not paid by the expiration date, a license or registration shall automatically expire. A license or registration which has thus expired may within five years of its expiration date, be renewed upon the payment to the Board of the sum set forth in rules and regulations of the Board for each year or part thereof during which the license or registration was expired. Reactivation of an expired license more than five years after its expiration date may be renewed only by complying with the provisions herein relating to the issuance of an orginal license or registration.
(b) The Board shalt also keep an inactive register. Any person who has been registered in the state and is neither residing within the state nor actively engaged in the practice of physical therapy in the state may, at his request, be placed on the inactive register. Provisions for inactive status shall be set up by the Board.
(c) Any applicant who knowingly or willfully makes a false statement of fact in making a application under this act shall be subject to prosecution for perjury. The Board shall have full authority to investigate, in accordance with law, every applicant for a license or registration regarding that applicant's qualifications.
§2608. Examination; Reexamination.
(a) The Board shall give an examination to applicants for licensure and registration who comply with Sections 2605 and 2606. Each examination shall include a written examination which shall test the applicant's knowledge of basic and clinical sciences as they relate to physical therapy and physical therapy theory and other subjects as the Board may deem useful to test the applicant's fitness to practice physical therapy or to act as a physical therapist assistant. Examinations shall be held within the state at least twice a year at such time and place as the Board shall determine. The Board shall also have the authority to establish alternate standards as set forth in rules and regulations hereto by which an applicant may be qualified to take the physical therapist assistant examination.
(a) In the case of failure at the first examination, the applicant shall have the privilege of a second examination after six months and within two years from the date of the first examination.
§2609. License or Registration.
The Board shall issue a license to each physical therapist applicant or issue a registration certificate to each physical therapist assistant applicant who satisfies the requirements for licensure or registration set forth in this Chapter and rules and regulations promulgated hereunder and who is not disqualfied to be licensed or registered by operation of the provisions of Section 2615 of this Chapter.
§2610. Licensure or Registration Without Examination; Reciprocity; Application Fee; Limitations.
Upon payment to the Board of a fee and on submission of a written application on forms provided by the Board, the Board shall issue a license to a physical therapist or a certificate of registration to a physical therapist's assistant without examination, who Is licensed or registered as a physical therapist or licensed or registered as a physical therapist's assistant by another state of the United States, its possessions or the District of Columbia, if the requirements for licensure or registration in such other state, possession or district at the time of licensure or registration by such state are equal to the requirements set forth in this act.
§2611. Temporary License or Registration; Fee.
(a) Upon submission of a written application on forms provided by it, the Board may issue a temporary license or a temporary certificate of registration to a person who has applied for licensure or registration under the provisions of Sections 2605 and 2606 of this act and who is, in the Judgment of the Board, eligible to take the examination provided for in Section 2607 of this act. In the case of physical therapists or physical therapist assistants, such temporary licensure or registration may be available to an applicant only with respect to his first application for licensure or registration and the applicant may only use the temporary licensure or registration while under the direct supervision of a licensed physical therapist. In all cases such temporary license or registration shall expire automatically upon the failure of a licensure or registration examination and upon such expiration, the temporary license or registration certificate shall be surrendered to the Board. A temporary license may be renewed only once.
(b) Upon payment to the Board of a fee and the submission of a written application on forms provided by it the Board, at Its discretion, may issue a temporary license to practice physical therapy in this state, without examination, to a person requesting endorsement ur who provides evidence to the Board that such person Is in this state on a temporary basis to assist In a medical emergency or to engage in a special project or teaching assignment relating to physical therapy practice. Such temporary license shall expire at the end of one year from the date of its issuance except it may be renewed by the Board for a period of one additional year. Upon expiration of the temporary license without renewal, the temporary license shall be surrendered to the Board.
§2612. Practice, Referral and Consultation.
A licensed physical therapist may enter a case for the purpose of consultation with, or evaluation of dysfunction of an individual as to the need for physical therapy services only upon a referral by a licensed medical or osteopathic physician. Physical therapy treatment of any individual shall be administered only by a licensed physical therapist in association with a referral from or in consultation with a licensed medical or osteopathic physician. Treatment by a physical therapist may also occur based on referral from or in consultation with a licensed dentist, podiatrist or chiropractor for a condition within the scope of respective practices.
§2613. False Representation.
It shall be unlawful for any person, or for any business entity, its employees, agents or representatives to use in connection with his or its name or business activity the words "physical therapy", "physical therapist", "physiotherapy", "physiotherapist", "registered physical therapist", "licensed physical therapist", the letters "PT", "LPT", "RPT", or any other words, letters, abbreviations or insignia indicating or implying directly or indirectly that physical therapy services or to bill for physical therapy unless such services are provided by a physical therapist licensed and practicing in accordance with this act.
§2614. Professional Title.
Any person who holds a license pursuant to this act may use the word "physical therapist" or "licensed physical therapist" or the letters "PT" or "Ler in connection with his name or place of business to denote his licensure hereunder. Any person who holds a registration certificate pursuant to this act as a physical therapist assistant may use the words "physical therapist assistant" or "registered physical therapist assistant" and may use the letters "PTA" or "RPTA" in connection with his name to denote his registration hereunder.
§2615. Authorized Acts and Services by Physical Therapist Assistants or Other Supportive Personnel to Physical Therapists.
The Board shall have the power to adopt and revise rules and regulations governing physical therapist assistants and other supportive personnel who assist the physical therapist in his practice or who otherwise provide acts or services of physical therapy in accordance with law. In the absence of standards established by the Board, nothing in this act shall be construed to prohibit services and acts relating to physical therapy rendered by the physical therapist who is acting In accordance with the provisions of this act.
§2616. Refusal or Suspension or Revocation of License or Registration; Penalties.
(a) The Board, after due notice and hearing as provided in Rules and Regulations promulgated by the Board; may refuse to license or register any applicant or may refuse to renew the license or registration of any person or may suspend or revoke the license or registration of any licensed or registered person who:
(i) Practices physical therapy or acts a physical therapist assistant in violation of the provisions of this act and rules and regulations promulgated thereunder;
(ii) Attempts to or obtains licensure or registration by fraud or misrepresentation;
(i) Commits repeated acts of negligence or incompentence in the practice of physical therapy or acting as a physical therapist assistant;
(i) Has been convicted of a felony in the courts of this state or any other state, territory or country. Conviction, as used in this paragraph, shall include a finding or verdict of guilt, an admission of guilt or a plea of nolo contedere;
(i) Habitually indulges in the use of narcotics or other habit forming drugs, or excessively indulges in the use of alcoholic liquors;
(ii) Has had his license to practice physical therapy or registration or license to act as a physical therapist, physical therapist assistant, revoked or suspended or has had other disciplinary action taken or his application for licensure or registration has been refused, revoked or suspended by the proper authorities of another state, territory or country;
(i) Has been guilty of unprofessional conduct as adopted in rules and regulations hereto. Unprofessional conduct shall Include departure from or the failure to conform to the minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing physical therapy practice, in which proceeding actual injury to a patient need not be established;
(i) Engages directly or indirectly in the division, transferring, assigning, rebating, or refunding of fees received for professional services or who profits by means of a credit or other valuable consideration such as wages, an unearned commission, discount or gratuity with any person who referred a patient, or with any relative or business associate of the referring person. Nothing in this paragraph shall be construed as prohibiting the members of any regularly and properly organized business entity recognized by Delaware law and comprised of physical therapists from making any division of their total fees among themselves as they determine by contract necessary to defray their joint operating costs. This subsection shall not apply to physicist therapist positions currently held by physical therapists employed by licensed medical and osteopathic physicians.
(b) Actions of the Board shall be taken subject to the right of notice, hearing and adjudication and the right of appeal therefrom in accordance with the provisions of Delaware Law relating to administrative law and procedure: provided however, that a practitioner or applicant shall be entitled to a trial de novo on appeal to Superior Court.
(c) A person who violates a provision of this act is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of not less than $100.00 nor more than $500.00. For each additional offense that person shall be subject to a fine of not less than $500.00.
(a) Any person who is licensed or registered by the Board or who Is an applicant for licensure or registration by the Board, against whom are preferred any of the charges for causing the revocation or suspension of a license or registration shall be cited by the Board and shall after due notice have a hearing before the Board or before a hearing examiner as determined by the Board.
§2817. Fees and Revenues.
(a) All fees and revenues received by the Board shall be paid to the State Treasurer promptly after receipt and shall be credited to the General Fund of the State in accordance with Chapter 81 of Title 29 of the Delaware Code. Such fees and revenues shall be set and revised from time to time by the Board to provide a continued means to financially administer this act.
(b) All disbursements made by the Board for salaries, expenses or other authorized expenditures shall be paid by the State Treasurer out of funds appropriated by the General Assembly for such purpose on vouchers signed by the proper officers of the Board.
§2818. Partial Invalidity.
If any part or section of this act is held to be invalid such invalidity shall not effect any other part or section which can be given effect without the Invalid part or section."
Approved July 19, 1983.