NEW JERSEY REGISTER
VOLUME 40, ISSUE 7
ISSUE DATE: APRIL 7, 2008
LAW AND PUBLIC SAFETY
DIVISION OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
STATE BOARD OF PHYSICAL THERAPY EXAMINERS
Proposed Amendments: N.J.A.C. 13:39A-3.1 and 9.3
Patient Records; Acceptable Course Offerings; Credit Hour Calculation
Authorized By: State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, Lawrence DeMarzo, Acting Director, Division of Consumer Affairs.
Authority: N.J.S.A. 45:9-37.18.
Calendar Reference: See Summary below for explanation of exception to calendar requirement.
Proposal Number: PRN 2008-90.
Submit comments by June 6, 2008 to:
Acting Director, Division of Consumer Affairs
State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners
P.O. Box 45014
Newark, NJ 07101
The agency proposal follows:
On December 19, 2006, the State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners (the Board) readopted N.J.A.C. 13:39A. The Board received several comments on the readoption regarding patient records and calculation of credit hours for continuing education courses. Specifically, the Board received requests to revise patient record requirements when a licensed physical therapist is providing training and to increase the number of credit hours allocated for distance learning courses. Upon readoption, the Board stated that it would consider these requests at a later date. The Board has recently reviewed the concerns raised by the commenters and has determined that it should amend N.J.A.C. 13:39A-3.1 and 9.3 as the commenters suggested. N.J.S.A. 45:9-37.13 defines "physical therapy" as including the provision of "training in techniques for the prevention of injury, impairment, movement-related functional limitation, or dysfunction." N.J.A.C. 13:39A-3.l sets forth requirements for patient records. These requirements are extensive and provide for records that are much more detailed than necessary when a licensed physical therapist is not providing treatment but is simply providing training in techniques for the prevention of injury, impairment movement-related functional limitation or dysfunction. The Board proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:39A-3.1 to impose new standards for patient records when licensed physical therapists provide training that is not specifically designed for an individual. Such training does not rise to the level of treatment that would necessitate full patient records. Training that is designed specifically for an individual would rise to the level of treatment and a licensed physical therapist who provides such training would be required to maintain patient records that conform to N.J.A.C. 13:39A-3.1(c).
N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.3 allocates a maximum of two continuing education credits per videotape, audiotape, computer media, Internet, journal or correspondence course, program or seminar. The Board has reviewed these courses and the allocation of credits based upon the experience it has gained after the recent implementation of continuing education requirements and requests it received during the readoption of N.J.A.C. 13:39A. The Board has determined that these courses provide valuable learning opportunities that should be allocated more than two credits per course. The Board proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.3 to allocate a maximum of 10 continuing education credits per each of these courses. N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.3(c) sets forth some of the methods by which a licensed physical therapist may satisfy continuing education requirements and limits licensed physical therapist to obtaining 10 credits a biennial period by these methods. N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.3(c)3 states that a licensed physical therapist may obtain up to 12 credits a biennial period for presentation of new courses, programs or seminars, which exceeds the 10 credit limitation. The Board proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.3(c)3 to resolve this discrepancy by limiting licensed physical therapists to a maximum of 10 credits every biennial period for presentation of new courses, programs or seminars. The Board has determined that the comment period for this proposal shall be 60 days; therefore, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 1:30-3.3(a)5, this proposal is excepted from the rulemaking calendar requirement.
Proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:39A-3.1 will ensure that appropriate records are kept when a licensed physical therapist provides training. It is important to memorialize such instances in professional records, but such records need not be as detailed as records pertaining to ongoing treatment of patients. Proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.3 will benefit licensed physical therapists who complete videotape, audiotape, computer media, Internet, journal or correspondence courses, programs or seminars. The amendments allow for the allocation of more continuing education credit for such courses, programs or seminars. This will facilitate the completion of continuing education requirements.
The proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:39A-3.1 will have a positive economic impact on licensed physical therapists. It will be less expensive to comply with the proposed recordkeeping requirements than it is to comply with existing recordkeeping requirements. The proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.3 will have a positive economic impact on licensed physical therapists. Allocating more credit for certain courses will result in licensed physical therapists taking fewer courses during a biennial renewal period and therefore spending less to comply with continuing education requirements. The Board does not believe that the proposed amendments will impose any other economic impact.
Federal Standards Statement
A Federal standards analysis is not required because there are no Federal laws or standards applicable to the proposed amendments to N.J.A.C. 13:39A-3.1 and 9.3.
The Board does not believe that the proposed amendments either increase or decrease jobs in the State.
Agriculture Industry Impact
The Board does not believe that the proposed amendments will have any impact on the agriculture industry of this State.
Regulatory Flexibility Analysis
Since licensed physical therapists are individually licensed by the Board, they may be considered "small businesses" under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (Act), N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et seq. The economic impact on small businesses will be the same as on all businesses as detailed in the Economic Impact statement. The Board does not believe that licensees will need to employ any professional services to comply with the requirements of the proposed amendments. The proposed amendments do not impose reporting requirements, but do ease compliance requirements and do impose recordkeeping requirements as set forth in the Summary above. The Board believes that because the proposed amendments further the welfare and safety of the public by ensuring that proper patient records are kept, the provisions must be applied uniformly to all licensees regardless of the size of the business.
Smart Growth Impact
The Board believes that the proposed amendments will have no impact on the achievement of smart growth and implementation of the State Development and Redevelopment Plan, otherwise known as the State Plan.
Full text of the proposal follows (additions indicated in boldface thus; deletions indicated in brackets [thus]):
13:39A-3.1 Patient records
(a)-(c) (No change.)
(d) When a licensed physical therapist provides training in techniques for the prevention of injury, impairment, movement-related functional limitation or dysfunction that is not specifically designed for an individual, the licensed physical therapist shall not be required to maintain records that comply with (c) above. A licensed physical therapist that provides such training shall maintain records that include:
1. The name and license number of the licensed physical therapist who provided the training;
2. The date the training was provided;
3. The name of every individual who was present at the training;
4. A summarization of the information that was provided; and
5. Copies of any handouts provided.
[(d)] (e) (No change in text.)
13:39A-9.3 Acceptable course offerings; credit hour calculation
(a)-(b) (No change.)
(c) The Board shall grant a maximum of 10 of the mandatory 30 continuing education credits required in a biennial renewal period of licensed physical therapists and licensed physical therapist assistants from any or all of the following:
1. Successful completion of videotape, audiotape, computer media, Internet, journal, or correspondence courses, programs or seminars: a maximum of [two] 10 credits per course, program or seminar. The course, program or seminar shall include an examination at its end. Credit for correspondence and other individual study courses or programs shall be provided only in the renewal period in which the course is completed with a successful final examination;
2. (No change.)
3. Preparation and presentation of a Board-approved continuing professional education course, program or seminar: two credits for each hour of a new presentation up to a maximum of  10 credits. For purposes of this subsection, "new" means a course, program or seminar that the licensee has not taught previously in any educational setting. One credit for each hour of a presentation shall be given for subsequent sessions involving substantially identical subject matter up to a maximum of  10 credits, provided the original material has been updated and subject to the credit limits of N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.3;
4.-5. (No change.)
(d)-(h) (No change.)