Last week I spent the day in Olympia, joining nearly 700 Washington physical therapists and their clinical staff at the 2011 Physical Therapy Washington Legislative Impact Day. Many private practitioners in the state travel to this annual event and our presence was especially important this year, as we were there advocating for our spinal manipulation legislation, Senate Bill SB5230.
Washington’s current spinal manipulation ban is one of the strongest in the country prohibited in only Washington and Arkansas. This prohibition is the result of negotiations with the State chiropractic group in when the Physical Therapy Practice Act was revised in the late 1980’s that eliminated the need for referral from a physician to be treated by a Physical Therapist (direct access). Our efforts to remove this manipulation restriction have been aggressively opposed by the chiropractors.
We are not restricted from manipulation of other joints (wrist, shoulder, knee, etc). Students in Physical Therapy are taught all of these techniques in their doctoral training, including Spinal manipulation.
The proposed legislation would allow PTs to perform spinal manipulation. As a safeguard, it also requires Clinicians to submit an affidavit that they have had adequate education and training in this procedure. The bill would also allow Washington State PTs to advertise spinal manipulation and mobilization. Spinal manipulation is only one of many techniques utilized by Physical Therapist, but an important one to have in our clinical armament to use when indicated.
The bill will be heard on February 16, and I’ll provide an update once an outcome is reached!