Practice Alerts

Laws, rules and regulations, not Alerts, specify the requirements for practice and violating them constitutes professional misconduct. Not adhering to this Alert may be interpreted as professional misconduct only if the conduct also violates pertinent law, rules and regulations, some citations of which are listed at the end of this Alert.

Alert 1A: Physical Therapy Referrals that are Directive as to Treatment

  1. Unless authorized to provide physical therapy services without a referral (see Practice Alert #1), a physical therapist (PT) may treat a patient only after receiving a referral from an authorized health care provider – physician, physician assistant (see the second paragraph of Practice Alert 1 for additional information about referrals by a physician assistant), dentist, podiatrist, nurse practitioner or midwife authorized to practice in New York State,
  2. The referral may be directive as to treatment and must be within the referring provider’s scope of practice and competency, and consistent with the patient’s diagnosis and condition.
  3. If a referral that is directive as to treatment is not within the referring provider’s scope of practice and competency or is inconsistent with the patient’s diagnosis or condition, the PT should not provide that treatment.
  4. The PT may not provide the directed treatment if:
    • the treatment directive is beyond the scope of physical therapy permitted by law,
    • the (PT) knows or has reason to know that he or she is not competent to perform the treatment,
    • the treatment is contraindicated,
    • the treatment is not consistent with the patient’s diagnosis or condition, or
    • the treatment directive is for excessive physical therapy tests or treatments not warranted by the patient’s diagnosis.
  5. In all situations in which the treatment directed in a provider’s referral cannot or will not be provided by the PT, the PT must contact the referring provider to advise him or her of this fact.
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Citations of Pertinent Law, Rules or Regulations:
Education Law, section 6731(c) – referrals directive as to treatment
Education Law, section 6731(d) – providing treatment in the practice of physical therapy without referral
Education Law, section 6509(2) – practicing beyond scope
Regulations of the Commissioner, section 77.9 – providing treatment in the practice of physical therapy without referral
Regents Rule, section 29.1(b)(9) – practicing or offering to practice beyond the authorized scope
Regents Rule, section 29.1(b)(9) – practicing beyond competency
Regents Rule, section 29.2(a)(7) – excessive tests and treatments
Regents Rule, section 29.17 – providing treatment in the practice of physical therapy without referral
Last Updated: August 11, 2016