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The Florida Statutes

The 2023 Florida Statutes (including Special Session C)

Chapter 486
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F.S. 486.021
486.021 Definitions.As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires, the term:
(1) “Board” means the Board of Physical Therapy Practice.
(2) “Department” means the Department of Health.
(3) “License” means the document of authorization granted by the board and issued by the department for a person to engage in the practice of physical therapy.
(4) “Endorsement” means licensure granted by the board pursuant to the provisions of s. 486.081 or s. 486.107.
(5) “Physical therapist” means a person who is licensed and who practices physical therapy in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
(6) “Physical therapist assistant” means a person who is licensed in accordance with the provisions of this chapter to perform patient-related activities, including the use of physical agents, whose license is in good standing, and whose activities are performed under the direction of a physical therapist as set forth in rules adopted pursuant to this chapter. Patient-related activities performed by a physical therapist assistant for a board-certified orthopedic physician or physiatrist licensed pursuant to chapter 458 or chapter 459 or a practitioner licensed under chapter 460 shall be under the general supervision of a physical therapist, but shall not require onsite supervision by a physical therapist. Patient-related activities performed for all other health care practitioners licensed under chapter 458 or chapter 459 and those patient-related activities performed for practitioners licensed under chapter 461 or chapter 466 shall be performed under the onsite supervision of a physical therapist.
(7) “Physical therapy practitioner” means a physical therapist or a physical therapist assistant who is licensed and who practices physical therapy in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
(8) “Physical therapy” or “physiotherapy,” each of which terms is deemed identical and interchangeable with each other, means a health care profession.
(9) “Direct supervision” means supervision by a physical therapist who is licensed pursuant to this chapter. Except in a case of emergency, direct supervision requires the physical presence of the licensed physical therapist for consultation and direction of the actions of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant who is practicing under a temporary permit and who is a candidate for licensure by examination.
(10) “Physical therapy assessment” means observational, verbal, or manual determinations of the function of the movement system relative to physical therapy, including, but not limited to, range of motion of a joint, motor power, motor control, posture, biomechanical function, locomotion, or functional abilities, for the purpose of physical therapy treatment.
(11) “Practice of physical therapy” means the performance of physical therapy assessments and the treatment of any disability, injury, disease, or other health condition of human beings, or the prevention of such disability, injury, disease, or other health condition, and the rehabilitation of such disability, injury, disease, or other health condition by alleviating impairments, functional movement limitations, and disabilities by designing, implementing, and modifying treatment interventions through therapeutic exercise; functional movement training in self-management and in-home, community, or work integration or reintegration; manual therapy; massage; airway clearance techniques; maintaining and restoring the integumentary system and wound care; physical agent or modality; mechanical or electrotherapeutic modality; patient-related instruction; the use of apparatus and equipment in the application of such treatment, prevention, or rehabilitation; the performance of tests of neuromuscular functions as an aid to the diagnosis or treatment of any human condition; or the performance of electromyography as an aid to the diagnosis of any human condition only upon compliance with the criteria set forth by the Board of Medicine.
(a) A physical therapist may implement a plan of treatment developed by the physical therapist for a patient or provided for a patient by a practitioner of record or by an advanced practice registered nurse licensed under s. 464.012. The physical therapist shall refer the patient to or consult with a practitioner of record if the patient’s condition is found to be outside the scope of physical therapy. If physical therapy treatment for a patient is required beyond 30 days for a condition not previously assessed by a practitioner of record, the physical therapist shall have a practitioner of record review and sign the plan. The requirement that a physical therapist have a practitioner of record review and sign a plan of treatment does not apply when a patient has been physically examined by a physician licensed in another state, the patient has been diagnosed by the physician as having a condition for which physical therapy is required, and the physical therapist is treating the condition. For purposes of this paragraph, a health care practitioner licensed under chapter 458, chapter 459, chapter 460, chapter 461, or chapter 466 and engaged in active practice is eligible to serve as a practitioner of record.
(b) The use of roentgen rays and radium for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes and the use of electricity for surgical purposes, including cauterization, are not “physical therapy” for purposes of this chapter.
(c) The practice of physical therapy does not authorize a physical therapy practitioner to practice chiropractic medicine as defined in chapter 460, including specific spinal manipulation, or acupuncture as defined in chapter 457. For the performance of specific chiropractic spinal manipulation, a physical therapist shall refer the patient to a health care practitioner licensed under chapter 460.
(d) This subsection does not authorize a physical therapist to implement a plan of treatment for a patient currently being treated in a facility licensed pursuant to chapter 395.
(12) “Dry needling” means a skilled intervention, based on Western medicine, that uses filiform needles and other apparatus or equipment to stimulate a myofascial trigger point for the evaluation and management of neuromusculoskeletal conditions, pain, movement impairments, and disabilities.
(13) “Myofascial trigger point” means an irritable section of soft tissue often associated with palpable nodules in taut bands of muscle fibers.
History.s. 2, ch. 57-67; s. 1, ch. 67-537; s. 1, ch. 73-354; ss. 1, 2, ch. 78-278; ss. 1, 2, ch. 79-116; s. 361, ch. 81-259; ss. 2, 3, ch. 81-318; ss. 2, 24, ch. 83-86; s. 1, ch. 83-93; s. 1, ch. 84-275; ss. 3, 17, 18, ch. 86-31; s. 2, ch. 89-124; s. 4, ch. 91-429; s. 1, ch. 92-70; s. 181, ch. 94-218; s. 175, ch. 97-264; s. 287, ch. 98-166; s. 1, ch. 2013-197; s. 1, ch. 2016-70; s. 67, ch. 2018-106; s. 1, ch. 2020-128.