APTQI Applauds DoD TRICARE Final Rule for Recognizing Physical Therapy Assistants as Qualified Providers
Washington, D.C. –– The Alliance for Physical Therapy Quality and Innovation (APTQI) today commended the Department of Defense for issuing a final rule to establish physical therapy assistants (PTA) and occupational therapy assistants (OTA) as authorized providers under TRICARE.
Major provisions of the final rule read:
- The addition of licensed or certified PTAs as TRICARE-authorized providers, operating under the same qualifications established by Medicare (42 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 484.115 or successor regulation). Services must be furnished under the supervision of a TRICARE-authorized licensed registered physical therapist.
- The addition of licensed or certified OTAs as TRICARE-authorized providers, operating under the same qualifications established by Medicare (42 CFR 484.115 or successor regulation). Services must be furnished under the supervision of a TRICARE-authorized licensed registered occupational therapist.
According to the final rule, direct supervision of PTAs by a physical therapist will be required in the private practice setting. The physical therapist must be in the office setting where the PTA is located to offer assistance and direction that is needed during the procedure; however the supervising therapist is not required to be in the room with the PTA while therapy services are administered.
“APTQI is pleased the Department of Defense has finally recognized physical and occupational therapist assistants as qualified providers,” said Nikesh Patel, PT, APTQI Executive Director. “This long-needed TRICARE policy update will have a positive impact on patient access and provider choice for TRICARE beneficiaries while acknowledging the good work that therapist assistants provide every day.”
The final rule will take effect on April 16.
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