We are thrilled to announce that the final step has been completed in the long process allowing some physical therapists in Wisconsin to order x-rays. PT 10, the rule defining which physical therapists can order x-rays, officially went into effect August 1st. The full text of PT 10 can be found at http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/code/admin_code/pt/10. If you plan on ordering x-rays, you should review this rule to be sure that you meet the qualifications. They are:
Qualifications. A physical therapist may order x-rays to be performed by qualified persons if the physical therapist satisfies one of the following qualifications:
(1) The physical therapist holds an entry level clinical doctorate or transitional clinical doctoral degree in physical therapy from a college or university that has a physical therapy program accredited by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education or a successor organization.
(2) The physical therapist has been issued a specialty certification from the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. The clinical practice hours leading to the specialty certification shall include training in the practice of ordering x-rays. A specialty certification issued by a national organization other than the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties satisfies the qualification under this subsection if the certification program meets the criteria under sub. (4) (a) to (f).
(3) The physical therapist has completed a residency or fellowship accredited by the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education. The residency or fellowship shall include training in the practice of ordering x-rays. Completion of a residency or fellowship accredited by a national organization other than the American Board of Physical Therapy Residency and Fellowship Education satisfies the qualification under this subsection if the residency or fellowship program meets the criteria under sub. (4) (a) to (f).
(4) The physical therapist has successfully completed a formal x-ray ordering training program meeting all of the following criteria:
(a) The program constitutes an organized program of learning which contributes directly to the professional competency of a licensee to order x-rays.
(b) The program pertains to subject matters which integrally relate to the practice of ordering x-rays.
(c) The program is conducted by individuals who have specialized education, training, or experience by reason of which the individuals should be considered qualified concerning the practice of ordering x-rays. This shall include demonstrated physician involvement in the development or presentation of the program.
(d) The program fulfills pre-established goals and objectives.
(e) The program provides proof of attendance by licensees.
(f) The program includes a final examination or other assessment of a licensees' competency to order x-rays.
You should also review the Wisconsin PT Practice Act (http://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/statutes/statutes/448) relative to the x-ray language as physical therapists ordering x-rays have additional obligations under the law regarding care coordination. Specifically:
When a physical therapist orders an x-ray, the physical therapist shall communicate with the patient's primary care physician or an appropriate health care practitioner to ensure coordination of care, unless all of the following apply:
- A radiologist has read the x-ray and not identified a significant finding.
- The patient does not have a primary care physician.
- The patient was not referred to the physical therapist by another health care practitioner to receive care from the physical therapist.
The legislative process can seem very slow, but it ensures public safety and in this case it also resulted in improved access to timely care for our patients. The WPTA would like to thank the many people who contributed to this accomplishment including but not limited to the many Senators and Representatives who worked to understand the merits of this law; our lobbyists, Annie Early and Jeremey Shepherd; WPTA's Past President, Kip Schick, PT, DPT, MBA; WPTA's State Government Affairs Committee Chair, Brett Roberts, PT, DPT; and the many WPTA members who testified in support of this legislation including Bill Boissonnault, PT, DPT, DHSc, FAAOMPT, FAPTA, Rob Worth, PT, DPT, OCS, MTC, LAT, Tim Thorsen, PT, DPT, OCS, MTC, Evan Nelson, PT, DPT, OCS, Julie Sherry, PT, DPT, MS, Kevin Wait, PT, DPT, SCS, CSCS, and Rita Shapiro, PT, DPT, MA.
The WPTA will continue to provide information and educational opportunities regarding understanding the Wisconsin PT Practice Act and Administrative Code, as well as education/training on ordering x-rays. Stay tuned for opportunities from WPTA.