- Report Published -
|Study of the Merit of an Independent Board of Physical Therapy|
|Department of Health Professions; Board of Health Professions|
|HJR 504 (Regular Session, 1999)|
|Background for the Study|
House Joint Resolution 504, patroned by Delegate Jay DeBoer and passed by the 1999 Session of the General Assembly, requested the Virginia Board of Health Professions to examine the merit of establishing an independent board of physical therapy. Physical therapists and physical therapist assistants are currently licensed and regulated by the Board of Medicine. By statute, an Advisory Board on Physical Therapy is appointed by the Governor to "assist the Board of Medicine in carrying out the provisions of this chapter regarding the qualification, examination, licensure and regulation of physical therapists and physical therapist assistants." (§ 54.1-2944 of the Code of Virginia) Issues expressed in the body of the resolution refer to the lack of authority for the Advisory Board to be involved in the decision-making on matters of credentials and disciplinary cases involving physical therapists and physical therapist assistants. The resolution further notes that there are more physical therapy licensees than the number of persons regulated by 8 of the 12 independent boards within the Department of Health Professions and that there are almost twice as many physical therapists and physical therapist assistants as any other profession regulated by the Board with the exception of physicians.
In a 1998 Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) study of the effectiveness of Virginia's health regulatory boards, recommendation #7 of the interim report stated that "The General Assembly may wish to consider directing the Board of Health Professions to evaluate the merit of establishing an independent board of physical therapy for the purpose of regulating physical therapists and physical therapist assistants and present its findings to the General Assembly prior to the 2000 General Assembly session."
The Ad Hoc Committee on Independent Boards of the Board of Health Professions functioned for the purpose of reviewing background information on the regulation of physical therapy in Virginia and other states, gathering data on the feasibility of an independent board, receiving public comment, and bringing recommendations to the Board. The Regulatory Boards Administrator for the Department, Elaine J. Yeatts provided staff and research assistance for the Committee.