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Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding physical therapy received by the New Hampshire Office of Allied Health Professionals. For FAQs specific to a particular board, visit that board Web site.










  • What is the Physical Therapy Governing Board?
    It is a regulatory board charged to administer and regulate the licensing process for the practice of Physical Therapy under the provisions of the laws and rules of RSA 328-A and RSA 328-F. The Board is responsible for protecting the health, safety and welfare of individuals who receive physical therapy services in New Hampshire.
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  • Is it an electronic record when progress notes are done on a computer and printed out and placed in a patients file?
    If the progress note is computer generated but printed out and put in the chart it is not an electronic record it must be co-signed according to Phy 409.01(8).
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  • What Does the Physical Therapy Governing Board Do?
    Members meet monthly to conduct Board business and:
    • Develop policy and set standards of practice
    • Review applications and issue licenses to qualified applicants
    • Investigate complaints.
    • Take appropriate disciplinary action when violations are found to have occurred.
    • Monitor and enforce continuing education requirements.
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  • How Is the Board Organized?
    The five-member Board is made up of two licensed Physical Therapists, one Physical Therapist Assistant, and two public members who are appointed by the Governor.
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  • How does the Board Monitor Competency of Licensees?
    The Board requires continuing education of the licensee for every two-year renewal cycle. The purpose of continuing education is to enhance and update professional skills in ever changing technologies in order to provide appropriate physical therapy services.
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  • When Does the Board Take Disciplinary Action?
    When a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant has been found guilty of:
    • practicing physical therapy in a manner detrimental to the public health and welfare;
    • obtaining or attempting to obtain a license by fraud or deception;
    • engaging in unprofessional conduct as defined by the board;
    • gross negligence or incompetence.
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  • What is Physical Therapy?
    Physical Therapy is the testing, examining and evaluation of individuals for impairments, movement dysfunctions and disabilities to determine a diagnosis, and plan of care to alleviate those impairments, movement dysfunctions, or disabilities. This is done through a variety of interventions including soft tissue and joint mobilization, individually designed exercise programs, and the use of modalities.
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  • What is a Physical Therapist and Physical Therapist Assistant?
    A New Hampshire licensed Physical Therapist is a highly educated and skilled professional specializing in physical therapy. The Physical Therapist works in cooperation other health professionals, as an integral member of the health care team in hospitals, private clinics, secondary schools, and other health care settings.

    A New Hampshire licensed Physical Therapist Assistant is someone who provides therapy under the supervision of a New Hampshire licensed physical therapist.
    Physical Therapists have at minimum, a bachelor’s degree in Physical Therapy, which includes human anatomy, and physiology, bio-mechanics, kinesiology and physical therapy theory, courses in examination, evaluation, diagnosis, and physical disabilities interventions for adults and pediatrics. Clinical internships done under appropriate supervision provide the practical component of training and education. Graduates must successfully pass the national examination.

    Physical Therapist Assistants have at minimum an associate’s degree in Physical Therapy, and complete practical clinical affiliations. Graduates must successfully pass the national examination.
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  • How are Complaints Filed?
    A person who wishes to file a complaint, should contact the Board to inquire as to what information the board will need. When the complaint is received, the board will review it. If the board determines that the complaint is within their jurisdiction, the board will investigate further.
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  • Is a New Hampshire license required?
    There are two laws, which govern applicants for licensure. Allied Health law, RSA 328-F and Physical Therapy law RSA 328-A. All persons, who provide Physical therapy services in New Hampshire, must be licensed by the Physical Therapy Governing Board.
    Licensees are also held to nationally recognized professional and ethical standards.
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  • What are Licensure Qualifications for US and Foreign Educated Graduates?
    • Successful completion of approved academic and fieldwork requirements
    • Taking and passing a national certification exam
    • Foreign educated graduates need TOEFL or TOEFL-IBT
    • Foreign education must be determined to be substantially equivalent to a physical therapy education program approved by CAPTE by either FCCPT or a private/governmental entity provided they meet the requirements set forth in Phy 306.02(b)(2).
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  • Is there a proper way for licensees to identify themselves?
    A physical therapist shall use the letters "PT" immediately following the physical therapist’s name. This is the legal designation that identifies you as a New Hampshire licensee regardless of other credentials or academic degrees earned. For example Tucker Smith, PT, MPT,DPT, OCS,CLT etc. The same format applies to physical therapist assistants. You may want to refer to the New Hampshire Physical Therapy Practice Act RSA 328-A and the APTA Guidelines for further information on identification.
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  • Can I earn continuing education for courses taken for animal rehabilitation.
    Courses in animal rehab do meet the continuing education requirements for physical therapists holding certification from the Veterinary Board as an animal physical therapist. These continuing education courses go toward retaining the animal physical therapist certification.
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  • Can I use CPR towards my continuing education credits?
    A CPR course would be considered under Phy 406.02 Non-Academic Courses, Seminars, Conferences and Workshops. However, a CPR course is considered non-clinical because it does not relate directly to the practice of physical therapy.
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  • Is it within the scope of practice for PT's or PTAs to perform the testing procedure for monitoring a patient's PT/INR (prothrombin time/international normalized ratio)?
    This type of testing of itself is not a physical therapy skill. The machine used is similar to using a blood sugar machine and the results are displayed in digital format. It is the understanding of the Board that the patient cannot do this testing and report the levels to their physician. The physicians will only accept results and orders from a licensed health care provider. It is also the understanding that the physical therapist cannot make recommendations regarding the levels of cumandin in the patient, as the physician makes any decisions affecting medication adjustment.

    Using available technology and tools to assess the patient's vital signs, is part of the definition of physical therapy as part of tests and measures. Therefore the Board reasoned that assessing vital signs specifically, the PT/INR finger stick testing for coumandin levels, would be allowed as a reasonable test and measure as part of the patient's overall evaluation in preparation of physical therapy treatment.

    The ultimate responsibility rests with the licensed physical therapist or physical therapist assistant to be appropriately trained and competent in the technique. The Governing Board strongly recommends that appropriate training and competency be documented for those licensees prior to performing this specific task.

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  • Can a physical therapist do "dry needling"?
    A physical therapist can insert needles for the purpose of treating pain "dry needling" provided they have the proper certification to do so.
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  • Can a physical therapist assistant do "dry needling"?
    The Board does not recognize that PTA's have the skills to perform this invasive procedure at this time.
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  • Which PTA notes need co-signature from the supervising PT?
    See the New Hampshire Physical Therapy Practice Act, RSA 328-A:11 Obligations of Licensees. "IV: A physical therapist assistant shall work under a physical therapist’s general supervision. A physical therapist assistant shall document care provided and shall report to a supervising physical therapist any status in a patient requiring a change in the plan of care. The supervising physical therapist shall review and co-sign all notes during each re-evaluation."

    With these guidelines, any note (daily, weekly, progress report, etc.) written by a PTA must be reviewed and co-signed during each physical therapy re-evaluation. For those facilities using electronic medical records, it is not possible to add information (a co-signature) after the fact. The governing board recommends that the supervising PT document that all previous PTA notes have been read and acknowledged.
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  • It has come to my attention that in several different settings, the PTA is completing the discharge summary, signing it, and then the PT is co-signing the note. Is this within the limits of the practice act? According to the Rules and Regulations 806.05 (9), the PT performs the final evaluation and establishes the follow-up plan of care. It does not say that the PT has to personally actually write the discharge summary/note. I would appreciate clarification.
    In response to the question of a licensed physical therapist assistant completing a discharge summary, the Board determined that if by definition the summary is a recitation of the facts and no interpretation, analysis or judgment of follow up care is provided, the PTA can write up a summary. It is however the responsibility of the licensed physical therapist to determine any decision of follow up care in a discharge summary.
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  • Are there any guidelines for student supervision?
    The responsibility of supervision for the actions and services provided by the student in a clinical affiliation lies with the New Hampshire licensed physical therapist supervising the student. The Governing Board has no rules in place for student supervision.
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  • What is the Governing Board’s position on animal physical therapy or animal rehabilitation.
    A new law has been passed to allow physical therapists to practice animal physical therapy. The law is under the Board of Veterinary Medicine's statutes. The Physical Therapy Governing Board and the Board of Veterinary Medicine are currently working on the rules that would define the law. Please contact the Board of Veterinary Medicine at 603-271-3706 if you have any questions.
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  • What is Active in the profession?
    Phy 401.01 describes active in the profession as having engaged in physical therapy as:
    • A direct care-giver;
    • A physical therapy educator;
    • A physical therapy administrator;
    • A physical therapy consultant;
    • A student enrolled full time in an advanced physical therapy degree program; or
    • A physical therapy researcher; and
    • Participating in one or more of the areas described above on a volunteer or paid basis at a rate of 100 hours during each 12-month period for 2 consecutive 12-month periods.
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  • What if I have not been active in the profession for the required number of hours?
    If you have not been active in the profession in one of the areas described in Phy 401.01 you can still renew your license. You would renew under Phy 402.10 Conditional Renewal of Licensure.

    All applicants who renew under a conditional renewal of licensure would have to comply with the section of Phy 402.01 that applies to their situation and with Phy 408.

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  • Is the removal of surgical staples within the scope of practice of a physical therapist?
    RSA 328-A:2, IX (b) states in part that the practice of physical therapy means that an individual may perform debridement and wound care. Removal of surgical staples can be performed as part of wound care as long as the individual has been appropriately trained and can demonstrate competency.

copyright 2007. State of New Hampshire