Practice Guidelines

Law, rules and regulations, not Guidelines, specify the requirements for practice and violating them constitutes professional misconduct. Not adhering to this Guideline 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 Guideline.

Guideline 6: Provision of Physical Therapy Services

6.1
A physical therapist with three years of experience may treat a patient without a referral for 10 visits or 30 days, whichever comes first, and must have the patient complete a Notice of Advice form. After this, the patient must be referred to a referring practitioner for evaluation.
6.2
A physical therapist may treat a patient after receiving a referral from an authorized health care provider (physician, (physician's assistant) nurse practitioner, podiatrist, dentist or midwife) licensed and currently registered to practice in New York State. The referral must be within the level of competency and definition of practice for the referring provider.
6.3
There is no statutory time limit beyond which a referral is not valid, but it is ultimately the responsibility of the physical therapist as to whether the treatment is appropriate, based on the referral, or should be revised by the referring provider.
6.4
A referral is not required for a physical therapist to evaluate or prevent disability, injury, disease or other condition of health. The physical therapist providing preventive care must maintain a record of activities undertaken with each client and these may not be billed as physical therapy treatment.
6.5
A referral from an out-of-state physician is allowed under Section 6526(2) of the Education Law which includes an exemption for a physician who is licensed in a bordering state and who resides near the border of New York. The border vicinity is usually defined as less than 25 miles. There is no similar exemption for other licensed professionals. Physical therapists may accept a referral from a physician meeting this exemption.
6.6
While a dentist, podiatrist or midwife may refer to a physical therapist, such referral would have to be limited to treatment of a condition within the scope of practice of each of these professions.
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Citations of Pertinent Law, Rules or Regulations:
Education Law, Section 6509(2) - "practicing beyond the scope"
Education Law, Section 6526(2) - "out-of-state physicians"
Regents Rule, Part 29.1(b)(9) – "practicing or offering to practice beyond the authorized scope"
Regents Rule, Part 29.2(a)(3) – "record of treatment and evaluation"
Regents Rule, Part 29.1(b)(9) – "practicing beyond competency"
Last Updated: October 29, 2010