Minnesota joined 37 other states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico in licensing physical therapist assistants (PTAs) when Gov Tim Pawlenty signed into law a major health care bill on May 24.

Physical therapists are now able to delegate patient treatment procedures to qualified licensed physical therapist assistants as a result of language from the state's House and Senate legislation, filed by Rep Kim Norton and Sen Patricia Torres Ray. This language is included in the omnibus Senate File 26.

"Our members have worked alongside lawmakers and other groups to demonstrate the need for this legislation, and that hard work has paid off," said Minnesota Chapter President Joan Purrington, PT, MA. "Minnesota physical therapy patients will benefit from this much-needed measure."

Licensure for physical therapist assistants guarantees the highest degree of public protection and ensures that PTAs will have the necessary education and training.

"The American Physical Therapy Association congratulates our Minnesota members for seeing this legislation through to fruition," said American Physical Therapy Association President R Scott Ward, PT, PhD. "Physical therapist assistants are vital contributors of physical therapy services, and physical therapist assistant licensure provides needed recognition and regulation of their efforts."

Physical therapists are health care professionals who diagnose and treat individuals of all ages, from newborns to the elderly, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. Physical therapists examine each individual and develop a plan of care that uses treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. Physical therapists also work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is a national professional organization representing more than 70,000 physical therapists, physical therapist assistants and students of physical therapy. Its goal is to foster advancements in physical therapy practice, research and education. Consumers can access "Find a PT" to find a physical therapist in their area, as well as physical therapy news and information, at www.apta.org/consumer.