House OKs bill to join interstate physical therapy compact
Move aimed at increasing access for patients, making it easier for therapists to work in RI
STATE HOUSE – The House of Representatives today approved legislation sponsored by Rep. Michelle E. McGaw to have Rhode Island join an interstate compact that allows physical therapists licensed in member states to practice in other member states.
The legislation is aimed at better enabling Rhode Islanders to access the therapy they need amid staffing challenges in the health care industry, and to make it easier for qualified physical therapists — particularly active military members and their spouses — to work in Rhode Island.
“Rhode Islanders’ access to health care depends upon having enough licensed professionals available to meet the demand. Joining this interstate compact is a way to increase the number of physical therapists available to patients in our state,” said Representative McGaw (D-Dist. 71, Portsmouth, Tiverton, Little Compton). “Interstate compacts like these also make it much easier for providers who move from one state to another — such as active military members and their spouses — to get to work in the field with minimal hassle. This is a step ahead for patients as well as for health care providers, and it will make physical therapy more readily available to Rhode Islanders when they need it.”
The bill (2023-H 5076) would enable Rhode Island to join the Physical Therapy Compact, which currently includes 29 active states, plus four more that have voted to join and are working on implementation. Once the state joins and establishes an oversight commission, therapists in Rhode Island can apply for the reciprocity privileges provided through the compact. All member therapists and member states are required to abide by rules and regulations that govern the compact, which includes adherence to any disciplinary actions imposed on therapists.
The legislation now goes to the Senate, where Senate President Pro Tempore Hanna M. Gallo (D-Dist. 27, Cranston, West Warwick) is sponsoring the Senate version of the bill (2023-S 0580).