Working to advance the practice of physical therapy through legislative change is similar to riding a roller coaster. While on the legislative ride, there are high points to be enjoyed, but you can move from a high point to a low in what feels like a split second. I am sorry to share with you that Senate Bill 305 (PT Compact) finished at a very low point in the 2021 legislative session. To recap, back in February, SB 305 passed out of the Senate 46-1. It was then was heard in the House Public Health Committee on Wednesday, March 25 and passed out of committee 11-1. The following day, we were informed that SB 305 was being recommitted to the Ways and Means Committee because the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (IPLA) had informed someone at the Statehouse that the cost of implementing SB 305 was inaccurate. The fiscal note (cost of implementation of SB 305 to the state) attached to SB 305 was estimated to be $12,000 to $19,000, but IPLA contested that the actual cost of implementing SB 305 would be $150,000. Who would have known that sending a spreadsheet once a week to the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy would cost that much? We reached out to the IPLA to ask for clarification on the proposed cost and was told it was for a system update. However, we were optimistic that a hearing in the Ways and Means Committee would allow us to provide the accurate cost for implementing the PT Compact. Unfortunately, the Chair of the Ways and Means Committee, Representative Tim Brown, would not agree to hear SB 305 in committee. Multiple constituents of Rep Brown reached out to him to request that he reconsider hearing SB 305, but he ignored their requests. Even the multiple requests by the Department of Defense did not move Rep Brown to reconsider hearing SB 305. Without a hearing, a bill dies, and this is what happened to SB 305.
This is a disappointing conclusion to a year’s worth of work on SB 305, on the part of the APTA Indiana State Legislative Committee and Steve Beebe, the Chapter lobbyist. Thank you to all who took the time to contact your Senator or Representative. Thank you also to Valerie Strunk, PT, DPT, who testified both in the Senate and House. I can assure you that legislation for the PT Compact will be introduced again in 2022. We are not going to let this last-minute ambush by the IPLA and Representative Brown paralyze our efforts to improve the physical therapy practice environment in Indiana.
The news on Senate Bill 3 is somewhat better, in that this bill passed allowing physical therapists to provide physical therapy services via telehealth. However, we were unsuccessful in adding the physical therapist assistant to SB 3, despite strong efforts to convince Senator Charbonneau of the importance of the physical therapist/physical therapist assistant team. Senator Charbonneau’s goal with SB 3 was to limit providers utilizing telehealth to those specifically listed in the Governor’s Executive Order. Thank you do Deanna Proimos, PT, DPT, for testifying, and to all of you who reached out to Senator Charbonneau asking him to reconsider adding physical therapist assistants. Some of you may have seen that on a Federal level, H.R. 2168, Expanded Telehealth Access Act of 2021, has been introduced. This will allow physical therapists and physical therapist assistants to provide care via telehealth. Please take time to support this bill as its passage will give us more leverage in 2022 to go back to the Indiana legislature to add physical therapist assistants as a provider of physical therapy services who can use telehealth.
As we consider how to influence what happens at the Statehouse, please consider participating in the APTA Indiana PAC Fundraising Golf event on June 25. The funds raised from this event go toward impacting legislative change. Click HERE for more details about this event.
In February APTA shared that monthly membership dues will now be offered as a payment option. More information will be available on this payment option in the near future.
The APTA Indiana Spring Meeting is scheduled for May 1 where the focus will be on engagement in our profession. We look forward to programming from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, led by Jennifer Green-Wilson, PT, MBA, EdD, where all members who attend will receive 3 Category I contact hours at no cost. Click HERE to find out more about the Spring Meeting.
I would like to thank each of you for your commitment to advancing our profession. As we all know, things do not always go our way and our ability to weather the storm and learn from this year’s legislative challenges will strengthen our position for the 2022 legislative session.
Emily Slaven, PT, PhD
President, APTA Indiana