Physical therapy; advertising prohibited if not a licensed physical therapist or assistant. (SB195)

Introduced By

Sen. Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk) with support from co-patron Sen. Phil Puckett (D-Tazewell)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Physical therapy; advertising.  Provides that it shall be unlawful for any person to advertise or promote services as "physical therapy" or "physiotherapy" unless such services are provided by a licensed physical therapist or physical therapist assistant. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Passed


01/12/2010Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/13/10 10103508D
01/12/2010Referred to Committee on Education and Health
01/19/2010Assigned Education sub: Health Licensing
01/24/2010Impact statement from DPB (SB195)
02/04/2010Reported from Education and Health with substitute (15-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/04/2010Committee substitute printed 10104468D-S1
02/08/2010Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/09/2010Read second time
02/09/2010Reading of substitute waived
02/09/2010Committee substitute agreed to 10104468D-S1
02/09/2010Engrossed by Senate - committee substitute SB195S1
02/10/2010Impact statement from DPB (SB195S1)
02/10/2010Read third time and passed Senate (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/16/2010Placed on Calendar
02/16/2010Read first time
02/16/2010Referred to Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions
02/25/2010Reported from Health, Welfare and Institutions (22-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
02/26/2010Read second time
03/01/2010Read third time
03/01/2010Passed House BLOCK VOTE (99-Y 0-N)
03/01/2010VOTE: BLOCK VOTE PASSAGE (99-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
03/08/2010Bill text as passed Senate and House (SB195ER)
03/08/2010Signed by President
03/08/2010Signed by Speaker
03/09/2010Impact statement from DPB (SB195ER)
04/10/2010G Approved by Governor-Chapter 368 (effective 7/1/10)
04/10/2010G Acts of Assembly Chapter text (CHAP0368)

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: HB153.


John Doepper writes:

This addition is too vague and may affect other licensed professionals who are, by law, able to provide physical therapy or physiotherapy, as these are general terms and not a profession. It is already illegal for anyone to advertise they are able to treat conditions, unless they are a licensed professional. If this bill passes it will adversely affect many businesses such as Physiatrist and Chiropractic practices, their patients and employees. PT's do not own the words physical therapy and physiotherapy just because they named their profession after a treatment. It is anti-competitive and must be defeated. We must put the patients first.

Dr. Gurutrang Singh Khalsa writes:

Bill must include chiropractors and other licensed practitioners who are licensed to do physical therapy

Dr. Gurutrang Singh Khalsa writes:

Must include licensed practioners such as chiropractors too

Martin C. Donnelly, D.C. writes:

Please vote no. This bill will hinder healthcare from other licensed providers, limiting patient choice and freedoms.

Dr. Bibhu R. Misra, DC, MSs writes:

As stated by previous posts, there are already laws in the Virginia code to protect us from things this bill wants to accomplish. What is different however, is that this bill carves out something for a single profession. It is EXCLUSIONARY and for the sole benefit of a single profession. It is anti-competitive in nature.

However, if it is the intent of this bill to protect people against claims from unlicensed professionals to advertise they practice physical therapy then there should be no problem amending the bill to clearly INCLUDE those health professionals who already legally provide these services.

What is PT? It include such things as: providing specific exercises, applying hot and cold packs, electric muscle stimulation, therapeutic ultrasound, traction, ergonomic advice, etc. Does it seem reasonable for only PTs to be able to say they provide these services?

PTs did not invent or trademark physical therapy or physiotherapy. These are generic terms. Infact, compared to chiropractors and some other health practitioners, the PT profession only recently began practing this art and science...decades after chiropractors have been doing so.

Let's do the right thing and amend the bill to be INCLUSIVE...not EXCLUSIVE!

Dr Steve Lininger writes:

This bill is Not needed. Adversting health care already requires the practitioner to designate credential in
the ad. It has but one purpose ---Anti-competition.

Dr Martin J Skopp writes:

This bill will greatly harm the health care of all Virginians and would effect access to care.

Dr. Richard Wirtanen writes:

This bill is designed to eliminate the chiropractic profession, as a competitor to perform physical therapy modalities, by physical therapists, regardless of the chiropractors qualifications, training, and precedence in the state of Virginia. VOTE no to a bill that will restrict patient choice, directly or indirectly.

Damien J Hartl writes:

What's next, prohibiting, by law, that an orthodontist can't advertise that he/she practices dentistry? This bill is clearly a blatant and ridiculous attempt by an inclusive sect of health care providers to selfishly eliminate the competition. This bill is not only anti-patient care and choice, it's irresponsible in regards to the overall health of our communities. VOTE NO!

Lori Curry writes:

My husband is a chiropractor who performs heavy physical therapy, i.e. physical rehabilitation/physical medicine. He does so because he truly believes the combination of therapy/rehab and spinal manipulation is most optimal to his patients' recoveries. As stated by many above, "physical therapy" is just a general term for physical medicine modalities, which chiropractors are trained to perform. If the SAME procedures are performed, why can only "physical therapists" use the term? This bill makes absolutely no sense, is anti-competitive and just another discrimination against chiropractors.

SD Gilbertson writes:

By the same arguement, physical therapists, physiatrists, etc trained in and providing mobilization should then advertise that they provide chiropractic treatment. Are the chiropractors out there ok with sharing their name in this way. There would be no problem with chiropractors advertising that they offer physical rehabilitation (a generic term), but the use of the term physical therapy is a clear effort to confuse the public.

John Doepper writes:

SD Gilbertson. This is exactly the confusion that is untrue. You are providing manipulation and joint mobilization and I welcome that. Those modalities are not called chiropractic. If we named our profession manipulation you would be correct in your assertion. The term physical therapy has been around longer than the current profession of physical therapy. It is not the fault of other professions that Physical Therapist named their profession after a modality. To assert PTs and PTA's coined the term and are should be the only profession allowed to use it is the deception. I have a great respect for an otherwise noble profession, but to try to coin the term is deceptive, anti-competitive, and ultimately compromises patient care. Lets put patients first and work together to improve health care instead of this ridiculous turf war.

Dr. Mathias Pastore, Chiropractor writes:

SD Gilbertson hits the nail squarely on the head - this legislation is being massaged through the system as a way for PTs to assert themselves politically to assuage imagined wrongs. Are you actually accusing Chiropractors, who are Doctors, of trying to pass themselves off as PTs, who are not doctors at all (unless they've earned a PhD)? This legislation is blatantly anti-competative. I am astounded and dismayed to see that it has made it through committee.

Deirdre Smith writes:

So, If I 'crack' someones back, I can then advertise that I do chiropractic, right?
I take care of spines. I do physical therapy. My training is DIFFERENT from a DC. And, Yes, I am a Doctor of Physical Therapy.

If the patient is told from her MD to get physical therapy they mean Physical Therapy. Not exercises and ultrasound and stim from a chiropractor. Not Chiropractic care which MAY include similar modalities I would use. Just like one would NOT seek a PT for Chiropractic Care.

Even if we share modalities we ARE different professions. Physical Therapy is MORE than modalities. One can advertise that one's services include ESTIM, US, HEAT, ICE, exercise. This is not the whole and the sum total of Physical Therapy.

John Doepper writes:

As I am sure you are aware,manipulation (cracking) has been shown to help tremendously with orthopedic rehab. This is the reason that most NFL teams, the track and field Olympians, major colleges and universities, and most major sports ads chiropractors to their staff. I am also sure you know that Chiropractic is much more than manipulation alone. I am sure you know techniques like Active Release and Graston are founded by Chiropractors and widely used by PT's and Chiropractors. I have worked with many PTs and they have told me the therapy they have done is much better when they ad the "cracking" to their protocols. I recommend every profession keep up with the latest techniques in joint mobilization, soft tissue, and neuro-training. If you are not versed in the benefits of Manipulation or cracking as you put it, I can recommend some good continuing education that will help you and your patients tremendously.

Vincent J. Kabbaz (Physical Therapist) writes:

Please pass this bill. Physical Therapy is a profession and needs to be provided by licensed Physical Therapists.
The other professions like Chiropractors would never allow manipulations performed by a Physical Therapist to be called Chiropractic or for Physical Therapists to claim that they do Chiropractic. Why then should the term Physical Therapy be used by non-Physical Therapists. The argument just does not make any sense!

Deborah Norman writes:

Physical Therapist put more emphasis on being the only game in town, instead of being the best game in town. If you are in fact the best treatment option for the consumer, why be concern with other methods of treatment and or professional options. Let the American consumer decide. Competition is healthy for innovation and growth. No one owns the God given physical gifts of heat, cold, electricity or the healing touch of message. The passing of such a bill stunts the growth of our rehab health care industry and blocks the efforts of other helpful professions. Regulatory and licensing constraints monitor and track intent to do harm issues, cost, ethical practice etc.
The prescribing Physicians and the American patient/consumer are smart enough and quite capable of deciding their own Healthcare choices. The American people were not satisfied with one phone, computer or Airline company. No one has the right to monopolize the market. This bill makes takes the control out of the hands and heads of the Physicians and forces the only choice “Physical Therapy”.
Statistics continue to report our elderly functional independence declining under the exclusive care of Physical Therapist who only conduct evaluations and write notes while leaving the actual patient treatments to PT aids/assistants who only have1 to 2 years of education. Most of these elderly patients never reach maximum function and are usually discharged after two to three weeks of ineffective treatments.
However, elderly veterans with multiple medical conditions treated by Kinesiotherapist (KT) in Veteran Health Administration hospitals have a greater return to the community living, higher levels of functional independence in ambulation and activities of daily living post clinical KT treatment.
At every opportunity , Physical Therapist block Kinesiotherapist at every turn from securing state licensures, entering the private sector and providing the same beneficial care America’s veterans have received for years. Think of the benefits to the millions of patients who have been forgotten.
This Bill should have never been passed.

HeatherPT writes:

I'm a PT and while I respect that other professions like Chiropractic utilize some of the same techniques we use (heat, cold, massage, electric stim), they do NOT perform Physical Therapy. Physical Therapy is a specific set of hands-on, i.e. manual techniques and hands-off techniques designed to promote the highest functional level possible, promote independence, and reduce pain, etc. It is based on over 100 years of evidence-based research and a specific skill set. We already gave up the right to perform "manipulation" in several states because the Chiropractic Associations in those states saw to it that only Chiropractors or D.O.'s and M.D.'s could perform grade IV and V mobs, calling it Chiropractic. How are PT's being any more ridiculous in trying to protect our own profession? If "physical therapy" is just a "modality" then chiropractic is just a modality too and I should be able to bill for that right? Of course not. Chiropractic is a definitive skill set that requires years of specialized education. Just like PT. However, there are some chiropractors and massage therapists out there who think they are doing PT just because they know how to teach someone to do a couple of exercises and stretch their hamstrings. My trainer at the gym does that. It doesn't make him a PT.

To Deborah Norman- I'd love to see these statistic reporting our "elderly functional independence declining under the exclusive care of Physical Therapist" while leaving the actual PT treats to aids/assistants who have only 1-2 years of education. First of all, rehab techs/PT aides are not allowed by federal regulations to perform PT treatments. They are allowed to provide hands-on assistance with transfers in cases where more than one person is needed, provide help with counting the exercises (not give any cueing or hands-on help) and setting up patients with hot packs/cold packs. None of those things are skilled, and therefore don't get billed as skilled PT. Physical Therapist Assistants are required to get a 2 year associate's degree, but that's only after they've completed about 2 years worth of pre-requisites in biology, chemistry, physics, anatomy and physiology, psychology, ethics, advanced math, communication, and writing. Most PTA's have four year degrees in ADDITION to their PTA degrees, so it's not like we're handing off our patients to a bunch of silly 20 year olds who have no skill set. We are evaluating our patients and then giving them to intelligent, highly trained physical therapist assistants.