With all the challenges 2020 has presented so far, somehow we already find ourselves starting October. The good news is, that means National Physical Therapy Month! This month, we have the opportunity to focus on our hard working physical therapists (PTs) and physical therapy assistants (PTAs) for their work during COVID-19.
The pandemic has forced many physical therapy professionals to think outside the box and come up with creative solutions for how they do their jobs and deliver services. Many sessions have turned to telehealth to keep everyone safe and improve access to care for underserved areas. However, there are still complications in regards to traveling as a physical therapist and licensing across state lines.
The Physical Therapy Licensure Compact offers a solution to benefit healthcare professionals and patients. It increases the mobility of eligible physical therapy providers to work in multiple states.
The Physical Therapy Licensure Compact
The goal is to improve patient access to physical therapy services by giving participants a faster, less expensive alternative to traditional licensure. The Physical Therapy Licensure Compact, informally known as the PT Compact, creates a way for PTs and PTAs to practice or work in multiple states. This arrangement grants member states access to more physical therapy services for the public. For PTs and PTAs working within the PT Compact, it increases where they can practice.
Expanding the Compact
The Physical Therapy Compact Commission (PTCC) is constantly updating and adding new states. The Compact was officially enacted in 2017 and has steadily expanded across the country.
Facts About the PT Compact
- Today, 70% of the country is part of the Compact or taking step to become member states.
- As of September 2020, 20 states are currently issuing compact privileges.
- 8 states and DC have enacted legislation but are not yet issuing or accepting compact privileges.
- 5 states have introduced legislation but not yet enacted that legislation.
Unfortunately, the recent health crisis has caused delays in many legislatures. But, the PT Compact Commission is hoping that more states will enact legislation by the end of the year. Oklahoma and Virginia began actively issuing Compact privileges in January 2020. Arkansas joined in February along with West Virginia in March. If you are unsure of your state’s standing the PT Compact map is regularly updated.
Last updated September 2020
Advantages to the PT Compact
A Compact privilege is the authorization to work in member states other than your home state. These privileges are issued by the PTCC to eligible PTs and PTAs in participating states who apply through PT Compact. The process is simpler than getting a traditional state licensure and can take as little as ten minutes to register on their website. In some states, you need to complete the Jurisprudence requirements before finalizing your application, but generally it's an easy and streamlined process to be able to practice in multiple states.
Applying for a license in another state traditionally involves a lot more time, multiple steps and lots of documentation in order to submit. It can take weeks or months to be processed. During the pandemic, time is of the essence for some underserved communities.
Gaining compact privileges is also typically less expensive than the traditional state licensure process. Compact privilege fees vary by state, but on average the fees are much lower than the license fees for the same state. There is a $45 Commission fee and an optional state fee charged. Over half of the current Compact states offer fee waivers to military, with most extending those waivers to military spouses and veterans.
PT Month Appreciation
Physical therapists and physical therapist assistants play a critical role in helping Americans improve their quality of life. It’s important for them to be able to safely reach patients when they are needed. We appreciate them this month and every month.
If you are a physical therapy professional looking to expand options, whether licensed in a current PT Compact member state or not, contact us today to discuss your career goals.