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Frequently Asked Questions

On May 19, 2016, the Kentucky Board of Physical Therapy created the following Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQ’s”) to provide guidance to credential holders on issues of general concern.  The FAQ’s address issues only as they relate to the requirements of KRS Chapter 327 and its associated regulations. They do not preclude individual credential holders, employers, or payors from establishing policies or guidelines that are more stringent than those required by KRS Chapter 327 and its associated regulations. The FAQ’s replace the Board’s Declaratory Opinions.
 
Question: Is dry needling within the scope of practice of “physical therapy” as defined in KRS 327.010(1)?
Answer: Yes. KRS 327.010(1) defines “physical therapy,” in part, as “the use of selected knowledge and skills … invasive or noninvasive procedures with emphasis on the skeletal system, neuromuscular, and cardiopulmonary function.” There is nothing in KRS Chapter 327 to prohibit a credential holder from performing dry needling so long as he or she has the requisite training, expertise, and experience to perform this function.
 
Question: Are electrophysiologic evaluations within the scope of practice of “physical therapy” as defined in KRS 327.010(1)?
Answer: Yes. Electrophysiologic evaluations are within the scope of physical therapy because they encompass “nerve and muscle function including subcutaneous bioelectrical potentials, motor development, [and] function capacity” as defined in KRS 327.010(1). There is nothing in KRS Chapter 327 to prohibit a credential holder from performing electrophysiologic evaluations so long as he or she has the requisite training, expertise, and experience to perform this function.
 
Question: Does a physical therapist need an order or referral to provide physical therapy services to a patient?
Answer: No. Physical therapists are authorized to provide direct treatment of physical therapy to their patients as long as the patient’s medical condition is within the scope of his or her practice.
Question: Is sharp wound debridement within the scope of practice of “physical therapy” as defined in KRS 327.010(1)?
Answer: Yes. Sharp wound debridement is within the scope of physical therapy because it includes “the use of selected knowledge and skills in planning, organizing, and directing programs for the care of individuals…encompassing…invasive or noninvasive procedures” as set forth in KRS 327.010(1). There is nothing in KRS Chapter 327 to prohibit a credential holder from performing sharp wound debridement so long as he or she has the requisite training, expertise, and experience to perform this function.
 
Question: Can a physical therapist assistant screen patients?
Answer: No. However, a physical therapist assistant may be directed by a physical therapist to gather relevant data as it relates to the screening process without formalizing an assessment.
 
Question: Can physical therapists utilize legend drugs in their practice?
Answer: Yes. Physical therapists can utilize legend drugs that are individually prescribed to the patient by a provider with prescriptive authority. However, under Kentucky pharmacy laws, physical therapists do not have prescriptive authority.
 
Question: Can a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant provide wellness or fitness services that are not part of an individualized physical therapy plan of care?
Answer: Yes. However, any individual engaging in such activities should not represent themselves as physical therapists or physical therapist assistants. Additionally, they should not represent these services as providing physical therapy.