How The PT Compact is Changing the Industry
As a physical therapist, obtaining work privileges in multiple states can be a major obstacle because of the cost and difficulty. Thanks to the PT Compact, physical therapists can do it more easily than ever!
How does the PT Compact work?
The Physical Therapy Compact was developed to help physical therapists work in more states and improve access to physical therapy. The number of members continues to grow, with 38 states issuing compact privileges currently.
The PT Compact program benefits patients as well as physical therapists.
Time, cost, and paperwork for practicing in a new state are reduced
Travel physical therapists have improved access and choice
The process of Getting a PT Compact License
To be eligible for the PT compact, you must meet several requirements. To qualify, you must hold a current physical therapy or physical therapy assistant license in your state, and you cannot have any active encumbrances or disciplinary actions against your license for two years. Your home state (and all states in which you wish to be licensed) must also be PT compact participants. In addition, if your state requires a jurisprudence exam before you can apply for a compact license, you must take one first. The majority of jurisprudence exams are available online, but to determine how and where to take them, you'll have to do some investigation.
Here are the instructions if you meet all those criteria:
Go to the PT Compact website.
You will need your FSBPT ID and password to log in.
Select the option to “Purchase.”
Make sure your user profile is complete.
Choose the states where you want a compact license.
If applicable, certify that you have passed your jurisprudence exams.
Pay for your compact privileges.
Where the PT Compact is available
As of 2022, the compact member states actively issuing privileges include:
If your home state is any one of these states, you can now purchase a compact privilege in any of the other active member states.
PT Compact States as of 2022
Additional states are coming soon! The following states have already enacted or introduced legislation but have not yet started issuing compact privileges.
Why should I join?
It may not be the best move for every physical therapist to join the PT compact, but there are some who would benefit greatly from an interstate license. Therapists who live close to state borders, for example, can practice on both sides of the line. A compact license is usually cheaper than a traditional license, so enterprising therapists could save money by obtaining one traditional license and one compact license instead of two traditional licenses. Furthermore, the PT compact site notes that a compact license does not require continuing education..
Updates to the PT Compact
CMS announced in a September 2021 update that compact licenses would be fully recognized as meeting federal licensing requirements. Enrollment applications listing interstate licenses could previously be rejected by Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs).
Issues associated with telehealth
PTs, OTs, and SLPs are allowed to provide telehealth therapy services to their Medicare patients during the current public health emergency (COVID-19 pandemic). CMS now recognizes the PT compact, so compact therapists could, in theory, provide telehealth to Medicare patients in other compact states. If a compact license holder intends to provide telehealth services in a particular state, they should consult that state's rules and laws.
Telehealth services - whether provided in-state or not - could allow patients living in rural or underserved areas to receive the specialized care they need without having to travel long distances. Rehabilitation therapists have even more reason to take immediate action on the advocacy front if CMS fails to make its temporary telehealth expansion permanent.
As a PT, this is an exciting time, especially if you are interested in working across state lines or in other states. A PT Compact license is faster, easier, and more affordable than a state license obtained individually.