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What Happened at New York Lobby Day 2018?

Updated: Apr 12, 2019

NY State Senator Brian Kavanagh

NY State Senator Brian Kavanagh

This year the New York Physical Therapy Association (NYPTA) traveled to Albany, New York to advocate legislation for Physical Therapy on behalf of all New Yorker's. Everyone who went was a volunteer as a member of the NYPTA. As grassroots advocates, we hope to help change the laws for the better.


NYPTA members that went each met with their New York State Senator and Assemblymember in their offices.

Specifically, the things that were discussed:

Assemblyman Joseph Lentol


Did you know in New York you can see a physical therapist without a prescription from an medical doctor? However, there are stipulations that the physical therapist be practicing over 3 years and you can only be seen for 10 visits or 30 days, whichever comes first. We are advocating that these restrictions be lifted. Research has shown, that the sooner an injured person can get into see a physical therapist, the quicker they will get better. Cost is also less overall if a person can see a PT first. A recent study looking at low back pain shows that the average total medical cost when physical therapy was used first was $3,992—19% lower than total average costs when injections were used first ($4,905) and 75% lower than the total average costs for the surgery-first group ($16,195).


Physical Therapist Assistants (PTA's) are LICENSED practicioners who earn an associates degree and sit for a NY state board exam, just like Physical Therapists. They are highly qualified to assist in the carrying out of the treatment plan of a patient. Many years ago, when the practice act, which mandates the 'rules' of the PT profession were written in New York, PTA's were only certified. We are advocating that the official state practice act be changed from 'certified' to 'licensed', to truly match the qualifications of todays physical therapy assistant.


Did you know that your physical therapist co-payment is considered a "specialist"? A specialist payment is higher than a primary care provider. We are advocating that New York state move physical therapists to the primary care provider category so that your co-payment would go down. This makes sense, because, unlike a cardiologist specialist who you see once a year, you might see your physical therapist perhaps twice a week for a couple of months. Over time, this is cost prohibitive for many people, leading them to forgo valuable services they truly need. It also might possibly push them into trying to manage symptoms on their own by taking opiods, leading to a greater prevalance of the opiod crisis. A recent study shows that people with low back pain who receive PT have reduced opiod use rates. Physical therapy is a non-pharmacological treatment tool that can be used to help people with pain as to avoid opiods.


At this time Athletic Trainers are only certified, not licensed in New York. They are requesting to become licensed and the practice act they have written for themselves is so broad it would mean they can see highly complex patients such as stroke patients and those with multiple co-morbitities. Unfortunately, their bachelor level education does not meet this level or services at this time. The NYPTA is in opposition to their licensure at this time until their education meets the requirements needed to treat all populations.


Advocacy is important for the Physical Therapy profession so that laws are passed that help Physical Therapist's as a profession and most importantly, the patients who need it. If physical therapists don't speak up and advocate for these laws, then no one will do it for them. Thank you to all the patient's who support Marko Physical Therapy's efforts with Advocacy.

Dr. Theresa Marko, PT, DPT, MSPT, CEIS, is a physical therapist & owner at Marko Physical Therapy, PLLC.

Dr. Marko specializes in general orthopedics, as well as adolescent injuries and pediatric issues. If you would like to reach out to her you can by email or phone.


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