Pennsylvania OT Practice Act Amendments Signed Into Law After Initial Veto
Substantial amendments to the Pennsylvania Occupational Therapy Practice Act, included in Senate Bill 1528, were signed into law on July 5, 2012. Among the many modifications and additions, the bill changes the definition of occupational therapy to explicitly allow occupational therapists (OTs) to design, fabricate, and apply orthotics. It requires OTs to maintain professional liability insurance with minimum coverage of $1 million per claim. The amendments further allow nurse practitioners and physician assistants to provide referrals to OTs. In addition, the bill permits the State Board of Occupational Therapy (Board) to establish requirements for license renewal that ensure the continuing competency of occupational therapy assistants. Lastly, of the major provisions, it creates an impaired professionals program, whereby the Board may defer and ultimately dismiss disciplinary actions against professionals who are making satisfactory progress in approved treatment programs.
A nearly identical bill, Senate Bill 342, was vetoed by Governor Tom Corbett on May 18, 2012, because of the inclusion of a provision he found objectionable that would have increased the per diem payment to members of the Board. The offending provision was removed from Senate Bill 1528 when it was introduced on May 23, 2012, and the bill sailed through the legislative process in about a month’s time.