Manipulation in Washington State

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By: Brett Windsor PT, PhDc, MPA, OCS, FAAOMPT

It’s been a long, long road, but finally, the right of physical therapists in Washington State to manipulate the spine has been restored, at least partially. It’s far from a complete win, but after being voted out of the WA State Senate yesterday, the bill now goes to the governor for a signature before it becomes law. This bill represents a victory for not only physical therapy, but also our patients. It’s a step forward in making sure that physical therapists can practice to the full capabilities of their scope of practice.

There is a lot yet to do; it’s not a clean bill – manipulation will only be possible for therapists holding special endorsement from the secretary of health. Once the bill is signed by the governor, the WA State PT licensing board will need to write rules to implement the bills specifications, which have largely been written into the bill already. Exactly how the first group of PT’s receives the endorsement is not yet clear, but we’ll be watching closely to see how things unfold.

A big thanks to our own Steve Allen and Jeff Askins who have worked tirelessly in cooperation with the WA State APTA Chapter to make this bill a reality. It’s thankless work; long, frustrating, often dealing with people who just plain are in opposition. It’s draining…these guys deserve a lot of credit, and our thanks. NAIOMT was involved all the way. For now, savor the good news.

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