Current Situation: The House of Representatives and Florida Senate passed HB 799 unanimously on Friday, March 9, 2012.
The Legislation is now headed to Governor Rick Scott for final action to be signed into law. On behalf of the FPTA, please begin contacting Governor Rick Scott and request that he Sign HB 799 into law.
The Problem: Due to national testing procedure changes adopted in 2011, the physical therapy exam in Florida is only given a limited number of times (3-5) each year and the seats are limited. Due to the change in testing procedures at the national level, Florida Physical Therapy Program graduates may wait three to four months after graduation to sit for the exam. This has created a backlog of graduates waiting to take the exam.
Further, as twenty-four jurisdictions currently offer temporary licenses and permits, graduates of Florida schools are being enticed to leave the state to obtain immediate employment elsewhere in these high demand physical therapy provider positions.
The Solution: The unanimous passage of HB 799, by Rep. Goodson and Sen., Montford amends chapter 486, Florida Statutes, to allow Physical Therapy Program graduates of accredited programs, who are waiting to take the exam after graduation, to work under a temporary license permit. The legislation will also grant a similar license to physical therapist assistant graduates. Again, they would work under the direct supervision of a physical therapist. Similarly, if the exam is passed, they may continue working but cannot continue if the exam is failed.
Both temporary permit licenses are intended to help put graduates to work immediately in a profession that is in demand to serve our aging state population and to retain the graduates from our Florida institutions. The direct supervision relationship is already well established during final clinical education internships.
The Florida Department of Health, Division of Medical Quality Assurance, Florida Board of Physical Therapy, has reviewed this legislative proposal and supports authorization for the physical therapy and physical therapy assistant temporary permit licensees.
The Florida Medical Association has reviewed the bill and has no objection.
Accredited Physical Therapy Schools in Florida (Doctor of Physical Therapy)
- Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
- Tallahassee Florida Gulf Coast University
- Ft. Myers Florida International University
- Miami Nova Southeastern University
- Ft. Lauderdale - Davie & Tampa
- University of Central Florida - Orlando
- University of Florida - Gainesville
- University of Miami - Miami
- University of North Florida - Jacksonville
- University of South Florida - Tampa
- University of St Augustine for Health Sciences - St. Augustine
- Broward College - Coconut Creek
- Keiser University - Sarasota
- College of Central Florida - Ocala
- Miami Dade College - Miami
- Daytona State College - Daytona Beach
- Pensacola State College - Pensacola
- Florida Gateway College - Lake City
- Polk State College - Winter Haven
- Florida State College at Jacksonville - Jacksonville
- St. Petersburg College - St. Petersburg
- Gulf Coast State College - Panama City
- State College of Florida - Bradenton
- Herzing University - Winter Park
- South University - Tampa
- Indian River State College - Ft. Pierce
- South University - Royal Palm Beach
- Keiser University - Ft. Lauderdale
- Seminole State College of Florida - Altamonte Springs
Mail: The Honorable Governor Rick Scott State of Florida PL 05, The Capitol 400 South Monroe Street, Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0001
Phone: (850) 488-4441
Dear Governor Scott:
Please accept this letter on behalf of myself and the nearly 5,000 practicing physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students in training who are members of the Florida Physical Therapy Association as a request that you sign into law HB 799 by Representative Tom Goodson, and Senate sponsor, Senator Bill Montford, regarding a temporary license for the practice of physical therapy.
The temporary license legislation would create a non-renewable temporary license valid for six months for recent graduates of accredited physical therapy schools. This will allow students from the schools of physical therapy in Florida to continue their on-the-job training, just as they trained as interns before graduation.
Much of the need for this legislation was generated by the fact that the Department no longer administers its own examination, but instead utilizes the national examination to demonstrate competency for physical therapy licensure. As such, graduates can wait up to three or four months before being allowed to sit for the examination, which is administered as few times as three per year, and will soon be offered up to five times per year.
The bill requires strict supervision on site by a licensed physical therapist and no physical therapist may supervise more than one temporary licensee at a time. The bill also provides physical therapy assistant graduates may receive a temporary license while, again, awaiting their opportunity to take the examination.
The Association believes that there are sufficient safeguards built into this law to protect the public while at the same time allowing the physical therapy grads to remain in Florida and be put to work serving clients who need physical therapy services. The legislation allows students the opportunity to begin their physical therapy practice in Florida without having to move to other states that currently allow temporary physical therapy practice.
In addition, the Department of Health Medical Quality Assurance Board of Physical Therapy supported establishment of temporary license. As the population of Florida ages, the need for physical therapy will continue to grow and the State must do everything it can to keep graduates of accredited institutions at home and working in Florida.
It is respectfully requested that you sign this legislation into law.
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