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New Jersey Register
Volume 41, Issue 10
Issue Date: MAY 18, 2009
RULE PROPOSALS
Law and Public Safety
Division of Consumer Affairs
STATE BOARD OF PHYSICAL THERAPY EXAMINERS

Proposed Amendments: N.J.A.C. 13:39A-5.3, 9.1, 9.2, 9.3, 9.4 and 9.6

Licensure Renewal: Continuing Education Requirement; Credit-Hour Requirements; Acceptable Course Offerings; Credit-Hour Calculation; Documentation of Continuing Education Credit; Responsibilities of Continuing Education Providers

Authorized By: State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners, Lisa Affinito, Executive Director.
Authority: N.J.S.A. 45:9-37.18.
Calendar Reference: See Summary below for explanation of exception to calendar requirement.

Proposal Number: PRN 2009-143.
Submit comments by July 17, 2009 to:

Lisa Affinito, Executive Director
State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners
P.O. Box 45014
Newark, NJ 07101

The agency proposal follows:

Summary

The State Board Physical Therapy Examiners (the Board) proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:39A-5.3 to correct the name of the licensing examination for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants.

On January 17, 2006, at 38 N.J.R. 819(b), the State Board of Physical Therapy Examiners (the Board) adopted N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9, which set forth continuing education requirements for licensed physical therapists and licensed physical therapist assistants. The Board has completed the first biennial renewal of licensure since those continuing education requirements have been adopted. During this renewal, the Board became aware of issues with sections of N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9 that it is addressing in this notice of proposal.

N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.1(a) notifies licensees that continuing education requirements will be imposed commencing with the February 1, 2008 renewal of licensure. Since this date has passed, the Board proposes to delete N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.1(a).

The Board proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.2 to clarify language. The Board proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.2 and 9.3 to clarify that, when calculating credit hour allocation, only time spent in instruction will count towards continuing education hours. N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.3 is also proposed for amendment to require that continuing education courses be approved by the University of Medicine and Dentistry School of Health and Related Professions.

Existing N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.3 allocates three credits of continuing education to each hour of course credit for an academic course or a course taken in an institution of higher learning. After reviewing the courses that licensees have completed to obtain continuing education credits through this method, the Board has determined that these courses should be awarded more continuing education credit. The Board proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.3 to increase the allocated credits from three to 15 for completion of such courses. N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.3(b)2 is also proposed for amendment to permit licensed physical therapist assistants to obtain continuing education credits for completing academic courses by removing a requirement that such courses be either in a master's or doctoral program. Existing N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.3(e) permits licensed physical therapists to obtain continuing education credits for completing a residence approved by the American Physical Therapy Association. The Board proposes to amend this rule to allow licensed physical therapists to also obtain continuing education credits for completing a fellowship approved by the American Physical Therapy Association. The Board proposes new N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.3(f) to permit licensed physical therapists to obtain 10 continuing education credits for passing the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy Practice Review Tool. The Board proposes to recodify existing N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.3(g) as (h). This rule currently refers to courses, programs and seminars that are not approved "pursuant to (e) above." There is no approval process for courses, programs and seminars in subsection (e) and the Board is proposing to delete this incorrect reference.

In order to accurately document attendance at a conference, the Board proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.4 to require that, when a conference does not issue attendance certificates to licensees for individual sessions, a licensee who attends the conference have an official sign or stamp in the session description of the program book. The rule is also proposed for amendment to require licensees who complete the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy Practice Review Tool to retain documented proof of a passing score. The Board proposes to amend N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.6 to create a Board approval process for continuing education providers who cannot obtain approval from the University of Medicine and Dentistry School of Health Related Professions due to a conflict of interest. The amendments to the rule require that a provider seeking Board approval for a course submit the starting and ending time of the course, course objectives, a bibliography that supports the content of the course and a written explanation of the conflict with the University of Medicine and Dentistry School of Health Related Professions. The proposed amendments also require providers to maintain attendance sheets for the course.

The Board has determined that the comment period for this notice of proposal shall be 60 days; therefore, pursuant to N.J.A.C. 1:30-3.3(a)5, this notice is excepted from the rulemaking calendar requirement.

Social Impact

By recognizing new methods of obtaining continuing education, the proposed amendments will promote licensee competency and benefit individuals who receive physical therapy services. The proposed amendments will not have any other impact on society.

Economic Impact

The proposed amendments will have an economic impact on continuing education providers in that they will incur costs in obtaining approval from the University of Medicine and Dentistry School of Health Related professions for continuing education courses, programs and seminars. The proposed amendments will have a positive economic impact on licensees. Licensees who complete post-graduate and academic courses will receive a greater amount of continuing education credits and will not need to take, or pay for, other forms of continuing education. The proposed amendments also benefit licensees who pass the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy Practice Review [page=2080] Tool or who complete American Physical Therapy Association fellowships in that such licensees would not have to pay to obtain credits from other sources.

Federal Standards Statement

A Federal standards analysis is not required because there are no Federal laws or standards applicable to the proposed amendments.

Jobs Impact

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 proposal 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 (the Act), N.J.S.A. 52:14B-16 et seq. Continuing education sponsors who provide courses, programs and seminars may also qualify as "small businesses" under the Act.

The economic impact on small businesses will be the same as on all businesses as detailed in the Economic Impact above. The Board does not believe that licensed physical therapists or continuing education sponsors 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 impose compliance and recordkeeping requirements on licensees and continuing education sponsors as set forth in the Summary.

The Board believes that the proposed amendments further the welfare and safety of the public by ensuring that licensees maintain competency and that continuing education sponsors provide valid continuing education courses, programs and seminars. As such, the provisions must be applied uniformly to all licensees and continuing education sponsors 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.

Housing Affordability Impact

The proposed amendments will have an insignificant impact on affordable housing in New Jersey and there is an extreme unlikelihood that the rules would evoke a change in the average costs associated with housing because the proposed amendments concern licensing examinations and continuing education for licensed physical therapists and licensed physical therapist assistants.

Smart Growth Development Impact

The proposed amendments will have an insignificant impact on smart growth and there is an extreme unlikelihood that the rules would evoke a change in housing production in Planning Areas 1 or 2 or within designated centers under the State Development and Redevelopment Plan in New Jersey because the proposed amendments concern licensing examinations and continuing education for licensed physical therapists and licensed physical therapist assistants.

Full text of the proposal follows (additions indicated in boldface thus; deletions indicated in brackets [thus]):

SUBCHAPTER 5. CREDENTIALING OF APPLICANTS

13:39A-5.3 Examination standards for applicants for licensure as physical therapists and physical therapist assistants

(a) Applicants for licensure as physical therapists and physical therapist assistants submitting satisfactory proof of educational credentials as set forth in N.J.A.C. 13:39A-5.1 and 5.2, respectively, shall be approved to take the National Physical Therapy Examination for Physical Therapists or the National Physical [Therapist Assistant] Therapy Examination for Physical Therapist Assistants, as applicable, administered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy and the State jurisprudence examination.

(b) Upon satisfactory passage of the National Physical Therapy Examination for PhysicalTherapists or the National Physical [Therapist Assistant] Therapy Examination for Physical Therapist Assistants and the State jurisprudence examination, an applicant shall be deemed eligible for licensure provided the applicant meets all other requirements for licensure.

(c) Passing examination scores shall be as follows:

1. National Physical Therapy Examination for Physical Therapists and National Physical [Therapist Assistant] Therapy Examination for Physical Therapist Assistants: 600 based on a scale of 200 to 800.

2. State jurisprudence examination: 80.

(d) An applicant who does not pass the National Physical Therapy Examination for Physical Therapists or the National Physical [Therapist Assistant] Therapy Examination for Physical Therapist Assistants within two years from the date of taking the initial examination shall update his or her application for licensure filed with the Board.

SUBCHAPTER 9. CONTINUING EDUCATION

13:39A-9.1 Licensure renewal: continuing education requirement

[(a) Effective February 1, 2006, a licensee shall complete the continuing education requirement as specified in N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.2 by January 31, 2008, for the biennial licensure period beginning February 1, 2008.]

Recodify existing (b) and (c) as (a) and (b) (No change in text.)

13:39A-9.2 Credit-hour requirements

(a) (No change.)

(b) An applicant for biennial license renewal as a licensed physical therapist or as a licensed physical therapist assistant who receives an initial license in the first year of a biennial period shall complete a minimum of 15 of the 30 required credits of continuing education [for] during that biennial renewal period. An applicant for biennial license renewal as a licensed physical therapist or as a licensed physical therapist assistant who receives an initial license in the second year of a biennial period shall be exempt from completing continuing education credits [for] during that biennial renewal period.

(c) For the purposes of this subchapter, an hour of continuing education means 60 minutes of instructional time spent in learning activities, exclusive of breaks, meals or vendor exhibits.

(d) (No change.)

13:39A-9.3 Acceptable course offerings; credit-hour calculation

(a) The Board shall grant continuing education credit, at a rate of one credit for each hour of [attendance] instruction unless otherwise specified in this section, only for courses, programs or seminars that have: [been]

1. Been approved by the University of Medicine and Dentistry School of Health Related Professions, except as provided in N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.6;

2. Been successfully completed by the licensee within the preceding biennial renewal period; and [have significant]

3. Significant educational or practical content [which deal with matters related] relevant to the practice of physical therapy or [with] to the professional responsibilities or ethical obligations of licensees, such as the following:

Recodify existing 1.-9. as i.-ix. (No change in text.)

(b) All courses, programs or seminars offered by the following sources and providers [shall be] are pre-approved[,] and a licensee shall be allowed the number of credits as follows:

1. Successful completion of a post-graduate course in a physical therapy program leading to a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree for the licensed physical therapist or a three-credit course in an entry level physical therapy program for the licensed physical therapist assistant. Such programs must be in institutions of higher learning, which are accredited by the United States Department of Education or the Council on Postsecondary Accreditation or their approved agencies: [three] 15 credits for each course credit awarded; or

[page=2081] 2. Successful completion of a course in an academic [master's or doctoral] program related to the practice of physical therapy provided that such course is not part of the physical therapy program completed by the licensee to meet the educational requirements for initial licensure under N.J.A.C. 13:39A-5.1 or 5.2: [three] 15 credits for each course credit awarded.

(c) (No change.)

(d) A licensed physical therapist who [is] becomes certified or recertified in a clinical specialty by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties shall receive 15 continuing education credits for the biennial licensure period in which it takes place.

(e) A licensed physical therapist who successfully completes a residency or fellowship approved by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) shall receive 15 continuing education credits for the biennial licensure period in which the residency takes place.

(f) A licensed physical therapist who passes the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) Practice Review Tool (PRT) shall receive 10 continuing education credits for the biennial licensure period in which the PRT is taken.

[(f)] (g) (No change in text.)

[(g)] (h) The Board may review and approve courses, programs and seminars, which are not pre-approved pursuant to (b) above [nor approved pursuant to (e) above], when such courses, programs and seminars are submitted for approval by a licensee for continuing professional education credit. The licensee shall submit, on a form approved by the Board, the title, date and location of the course, program or seminar for which approval is being sought and the information required of a continuing professional education provider pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.6(a)1.

[(h)] (i) (No change in text.)

13:39A-9.4 Documentation of continuing education credit

(a)-(b) (No change.)

(c) A licensee who completes a videotape, audiotape, computer media, Internet, journal or correspondence course or program shall retain the certification of the successful final examination completed at the end of the course, program or seminar[;].

(d) A licensee who passes the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) Practice Review Tool (PRT) shall retain documented proof from the FSBPT of the passing score.

(e) A licensee who attends a conference that has concurrent sessions, at which attendance is not taken at each session and attendance certificates are not issued to attendees for each session, shall document attendance by having a conference official sign or stamp the session description in the program book.

[(d)] (f) (No change in text.)

[(e)] (g) During the audit performed pursuant to [(d)] (f) above, the Board shall review any course that has not been pre-approved pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.3(b) and shall approve the course if it meets the requirements of N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.3(a) and the provider meets the requirements of N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.6.

13:39A-9.6 Responsibilities of continuing education providers

(a) [All providers of continuing education not included in N.J.A.C. 13:39A-9.3(b) shall:] If a continuing education provider cannot obtain approval from the University of Medicine and Dentistry School of Health Related Professions due to a conflict of interest with the University, the provider may obtain Board approval. Such a provider shall:

1. At least 45 days prior to the date of the course, program or seminar, submit the following for each course, program or seminar offered for evaluation by the Board:

i. A detailed descriptive outline of course content [and estimated hours of instruction; and], the estimated starting and ending time of the course and any break time provided during the course, program or seminar;

ii. (No change.)

iii. Course objectives, which include behavioral objectives, which are learning outcomes stated in terms that indicate what the student will be able to do or demonstrate after the course, and measurable objectives, which are learning outcomes indicating the level of the student's performance;

iv. A bibliography supporting the content of the course, program or seminar that includes at least five peer-reviewed journal articles published within the last five years; and

v. A written explanation of the conflict of interest that prevents the University of Medicine and Dentistry School of Health Related Professions from approving the course, program or seminar;

2.-3. (No change.)

4. Maintain attendance sheets, which include the time when a licensee arrives at and leaves the course, program or seminar with the licensee's signature next to each time entry;

[4.] 5. (No change in text.)

[5.] 6. Submit a fee pursuant to N.J.A.C. 13:39A-1.3 for each submission of a new course[s], program[s] or seminar[s] reviewed by the Board during the biennial licensing period.

   
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