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Toni Talks about PT Today

Using the Honor System for License Renewal

Published March 13, 2012 6:24 PM by Toni Patt

Recently the Texas Board of Physical Therapy Examiners changed the requirements for license renewal. They continue to require 30 hours of continuing education but now therapists must include proof of that education with their application for renewal. Previously no proof was required. Compliance was monitored through random audits.

Included in the notice about the change in requirements was a statement that 40 percent of those audits resulted in disciplinary actions. Forty percent of those audited couldn't produce proof, which makes me wonder what the percentage is for all practicing therapists in the state of Texas. I suspect it is higher. I know of two PTs who took no continuing education classes over the past few years because they didn't want to spend the money and thought they wouldn't get caught.

Who didn't see that coming? Everyone knows CEUs are required for license renewal. Not taking courses or not taking enough courses was a choice, not an accident. There are somewhere around 12,000 PTs in Texas, making the odds of being audited and thus the risk small.

Continuing education isn't cheap and takes up valuable time. It's easy to see why people took the risk. What's not so easy for me to see is why the PT board thought people wouldn't take advantage.

Now we have 40 percent of audited Texas therapists with some form of disciplinary action on their licenses. Other than paying a fine, I'm not sure what else is required to get back into good standing. I hope they have to submit proof of making up the skipped CEUs. That could mean 60 hours of CEUs in a two-year period. Was it worth it? This also means therapists whose licenses will be coming for renewal soon must complete the requirement in time to renew. That could be a problem if they decided to risk not taking any.

The good news is that 60 percent of those audited were compliant with the requirement and could produce proof if asked. I'm a CEU junkie. I probably have 60 hours already and my license renewal isn't until this summer. That isn't counting the studying I've done on my own. I'm proud of the 60 percent of us who followed the rules even though we knew we probably wouldn't get caught for falling short.

Continuing education is important to maintain skills and keep up on the latest trends in our profession. That's why I love going to CSM. Not being able to go this year was a huge disappointment. Granted not all CEU courses are created equal. We've all wasted time in one or two. Some really stretch the imagination of how they relate to practicing therapy. That is one of my biggest pet peeves but at least those attendees are trying to learn something new.


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