SB 1521 too narrowly defines health care providers and limits capable and knowledgeable Physical Therapists from assisting in such injury cases. Contact a representative today to ammned the bill.

The AzPTA State Government Affairs team has been monitoring SB 1521; Schools; head injury policies; athletics - a bill thatrequires school district governing boards to implement policies and procedures regarding concussions and head injuries of students participating in school-sponsored athletic activities. Specifically, this bill:

1. Directs school district governing boards to consult with a statewide private entity that supervises interscholastic activities to develop guidelines, information, and forms to educate coaches, students, and parents about the dangers of concussions and head injuries and the risks of continued sports play after a concussion;

2. Instructs school district governing boards to enforce a concussion policy that addresses risk awareness and appropriate response procedures;

3. Applies the provisions of the bill to any group or organization that uses school district property for athletic purposes, except out-of-state teams;

4. Specifies that a volunteer health care provider who clears a student athlete to participate in an athletic activity is immune from civil liability with respect to good-faith decisions made and actions taken.

However, the current version of SB 1521 narrowly defines "health care provider" asa physician, an athletic trainer, a nurse practitioner, or a physician assistant. The AzPTA is lobbying to broaden this definition to include physical therapists based on the following:

  • PTs routinely participate in high school athletic programs and youth sportsprograms throughout the state. This involvement includes the prevention of injuries through performance enhancement, injury prevention and safety programs in the off season, injury assessment, rehabilitation and return to competition following athletic injury.
  • PTs have education in neuroscience and assessment of neurological function, balance and vestibular system. This education is required by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE) as entry level requirement to be eligible for licensure.
  • PTs perform examination, treatment and research in areas related to concussion and mild traumatic brain injury.
  • PTs work as part of health professional teams with physicians, athletic trainers, psychologists and others to develop effective and safe recovery programs for return to sport after a wide range of injuries or conditions.  
  • Concussion and MTBI management and treatment is evolving. Currently, the model used in the US military for MTBI incorporates the physical therapist in the assessment and treatment of concussion, as well as clinical research. Research with physical therapists is ongoing to develop normative data and outcome measures for children and adults with post concussion syndrome.
  • Pending federal legislation, (HR 469) Protecting Student Athletes from Concussions Act of 2011, defines health care professional more broadly, including physicians, nurses, ATCs, PTs, and neuropsychologists.

Representative Heather Carter is willing to run an amendment to SB 1521 that would open the definition of health care provider to include those who have been trained in the evaluation and management of concussions.


On Friday, March 4 AzPTA members are urged to copy the following message in blue text below, title the message "Support for the Carter Amendment to SB 1521" in the Subject Line and email it to the Legislators listed below (the email addresses are active links:

"Please support Representative Heather Carter's amendment to SB 1521. In its current format, the bill defines too narrowly 'health care providers' in that it excludes physical therapists and other licensed health care providers who are qualified to participate in the management of injured student athletes and youth sport participants who may require treatment or assessment prior to returning to activity. Representative Carter's amendment would appropriately permit any licensed health care provider who has training in the evaluation and management of concussions and head injuries to make the proper determination."  

On Monday, March 7 AzPTA members are urged to call the Legislators listed below to relay the same message. 

Rep. Kimberly Yee (Phoenix)
Rep. Heather Carter (Cave Creek)
Rep. Steve Court (Mesa)
Rep. Chester Crandell (Heber)
Rep. John Fillmore (Apache Junction)
Rep. Terri Proud (Tucson)
Rep. Eric Meyer (Paradise Valley)
Rep. Lynne Pancrazi (Yuma)
Rep. Anna Tovar (Tolleson)

Email your questions to Cynthia Driskell, PT, GCS, State Government Affairs Committee Chair.


The State of Rehab Therapy in 2018 - Regular BannerThe State of Rehab Therapy in 2018 - Small Banner
  • articleAug 12, 2013 | 7 min. read

    ACOs, Bundles, and PCMHs: A Trio of Innovative Payment Models

    Healthcare innovation isn’t just about new techniques and technologies. As the US healthcare landscape continues to evolve—and, hopefully, improve—-one of the most important areas of focus is payment models. Let’s face it: medical costs aren’t getting any lower, and the system for reimbursement could definitely use a bit (okay, a lot) of TLC. Here are three innovative payment models that have garnered substantial support among various leaders in the healthcare industry: Accountable care organizations (ACOs) What are …

  • What the New HCAHPS Proposal Means for the Future of Hospital-Based PT  Image

    articleAug 11, 2016 | 3 min. read

    What the New HCAHPS Proposal Means for the Future of Hospital-Based PT

    When a patient is in pain, that patient wants relief—fast. And even if the patient knows medication is only a temporary fix—and a potentially dangerous one, at that—he or she will probably still choose drugs over longer-lasting, less-instant treatment options like physical therapy. For healthcare providers beholden to payment structures that incentivize patient satisfaction, that preference presents a real pickle: give the patient what he or she wants—long-term consequences be damned—or risk lower satisfaction scores (and potentially …

  • Fight for Your Right to PT: 10 To-Dos from the 10th Annual Graham Sessions Image

    articleJan 24, 2017 | 17 min. read

    Fight for Your Right to PT: 10 To-Dos from the 10th Annual Graham Sessions

    The first rule of the Graham Sessions is that you don’t talk about the Graham Sessions. Well, sort of. This annual “think tank” event isn’t quite as clandestine as Fight Club, but the rules are definitely a bit different than those associated with any other PT industry conference. After all, the point of this meeting is, quite simply, to talk—to have real, open, honest conversations about the controversial issues facing the physical therapy community. And to ensure …

  • Triumph in the Triple-Aim Game: The Healthcare Executive’s Guide to Readmission Reduction, Patient Safety Promotion, and ACO Success Image

    downloadSep 28, 2016

    Triumph in the Triple-Aim Game: The Healthcare Executive’s Guide to Readmission Reduction, Patient Safety Promotion, and ACO Success

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other reform efforts have brought forth a renewed emphasis on care coordination at all points along the care continuum—including the period after hospital discharge. As part of this push, new financial incentives and penalties have put healthcare executives at the center of a high-pressure game of tug-of-war in which they must simultaneously improve care quality and reduce costs. Talk about a catch-22. Enter your email address below to download this guide …

  • Founder Letter: The Con Ed Conundrum: What's Wrong with PT CEUs Image

    articleNov 6, 2017 | 7 min. read

    Founder Letter: The Con Ed Conundrum: What's Wrong with PT CEUs

    Change is uncomfortable—however necessary it may be. And that uneasiness prevents many individuals and groups from seeking the kind of change that is vital to growth. This trend of paralysis is all too common in the physical therapy space, and in my mind, one glaring example of something desperately ripe for change is our lack of standardization—in terms of brand perception, patient experience, and clinical outcomes. And one way we can begin bridging that gap is to …

  • articleDec 19, 2013 | 4 min. read

    Florida Physical Therapist Stands Up for the Profession—and Wins

    Last year, the Florida state legislature passed the 2012 Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Insurance reform , which included an exclusionary clause requiring physical therapy providers to gain licensure and accreditation as a healthcare clinic before they could receive reimbursement for providing PIP-related services. As a result, Florida-based physical therapist Amado Mendoza saw a significant reduction in the number of referrals his clinic, A&M Therapy , received. “Referrals are the lifeblood of outpatient PT clinics,” Mendoza said. “And …

  • This Week in PT News, April 24 Image

    articleApr 24, 2015 | 2 min. read

    This Week in PT News, April 24

    Texas Bill Could Move PTs Closer to Total Direct Access A new bill in Texas could eliminate the need for a patient to obtain a doctor’s referral prior to receiving physical therapy services. House Bill 1263—which just passed the public health committee this week—gives physical therapists the green light to provide treatment for 45 days (or 20 visits) without a physician’s diagnosis. If enacted, this law would be great news for PTs in Texas. However, many professional …

  • On this Election Day, Be Sure to #VotePT Image

    downloadNov 8, 2016

    On this Election Day, Be Sure to #VotePT

    Today is Election Day, and we hope that means that you’ll go out to the polls—if you haven’t already—and exercise your right to vote . And as you do, don’t forget that the importance of influencing government policy doesn’t end on Election Day (though we’d encourage you to consider candidates’ support of pro-PT legislation as you cast your ballots); advocacy for the physical therapy industry should be a career-long endeavor. Because while we may not always agree …

  • articleMar 20, 2013 | 1 min. read

    This Week in PT News

    Today's post comes from WebPT Community Manager Mark Kats. Several news outlets reported on the recent New England Journal of Medicine study that finds physical therapy to be as effective a treatment for a torn meniscus as knee surgery. This is great news for patients and physical therapists alike. It's also another in a series of great arguments for direct access. Read the full article here . Speaking of direct access, looks like Indiana will join the …

Achieve greatness in practice with the ultimate EMR for PTs, OTs, and SLPs.