The House unanimously passed a bipartisan bill on Monday, February 27 that will improve access to physical therapy services for North Carolina practitioners and patients. Representative Szoka was the primary sponsor of the legislation.
House Bill 57 will allow the state to recognize licensed physical therapists from other states who also enact their own compact. This bill, if passed by the Senate, will enhance the state’s ability to protect the public’s health and safety.
The absence of a mutual recognition of professional licenses across state lines has been a long-standing barrier for service providers and consumers alike. Normally, a professional license is only valid within the states where it was issued. With this agreement in place, licensed physical therapists from participating member states can travel outside their home state and offer services to healthcare consumers in other member states.
Establishing interstate licensure agreements is a priority for the U.S. Department of Defense. The compact program is primarily seen as a boon to active duty military service members or their spouses who are licensed as physical therapists and relocate on a domestic assignment.
The compact helps service members who are licensed in North Carolina but want to offer services when stationed out-of-state and it will also help service members who are licensed in another state to continue offering their services when they become stationed at a military base in North Carolina. Members leaving military service will benefit from having an out-of-state license recognized when returning home.
To establish and administer an interstate compact program, House Bill 57 creates the Physical Therapy Compact Commission, while the existing North Carolina Board of Physical Therapy Examiners can be designated as the agency responsible for administering program operations within the state.