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PTA Blog Talk

Mini Evals

Published September 23, 2008 4:09 PM by Jason Marketti
My proposal to save costs in health care and increase the rate of patients we see to limit wait times in facilities is to allow the PTAs to perform mini evals. 

We, as PTAs, would make initial contact with the patient, gather data (ie., assess the patient), and make the calls necessary to the primary provider to get orders.  We would then report to the PT who would either make a quick re-assessment or simply write goals based on our objective measurements. 

By no means am I trying to be a PT.  I want to make it easier on patients, families, doctors and facilities that have a difficult time retaining staff. If I can get a physical from a PA-C or an NP and they can write a prescription why would I need a doctor?

The obvious, we need a doctor because of the advanced skill and knowledge they possess. Just like we need the PT for their skills and knowledge that they have. To decrease costs and streamline services, having a PTA do a mini evaluation on a patient is cost effective. 

Also, having a PTA doing mini evaluations will expand the role of those already in the field rather than increasing the length of time it takes to earn a PT degree. 

An LPN with a 1-year certificate will do an assessment and get a patient up and moving in an SNF without a DPT present but a PTA with an AAS who is skilled in movement disorders and precautions is prohibited from making initial contact with that same patient.  Even a personal trainer has more leeway and leverage than me with initial contact and treatment of a patient. That doesn't make sense. 

It would seem like we (in the therapy field) are not using our existing personnel to carry out therapeutic interventions to treat people and promote health.        


I found this blog after reading a response in Advance re: PTAs as DORs.  We have a similar situation in our work setting and your blog is precisely why PTAs are PTAs.  You make comments about taking data and objective measurements and then forwarding the information to the PT for goal setting.  We are service providers, patient care advocates..the ASSESSMENT includes subjective response to measurements, the physical interaction that takes place between the PT and the patient.  Also, and LPN who gets a patient up is not assessing the pt in the same way a PT is, they are mobilizing the patient and are ready to handle the situation accordingly.   Don't forget that nurses did this job even before PT was a profession.  You have a lot of frustrations and as a PT, I don't.  You should seriously consider getting your PT degree, it would greatly enhance your role as DOR.

camille May 10, 2011 8:55 PM

Yes continue my education, are you kidding I would have to get a four year degree then get into a program and sit with most other students who do not have the experience I have, earm a masters degree so I can do a evaluation. I don't think so, I will get a degree in another field if I have to go to that much work and cost. I have talked to other PTA who have gone on and they say that getting the degree is just alot of courses that are not needed and PTA could just take the required course and have no problem with the state boards.

Bobbie Abbott, Homehealth - PTA October 20, 2008 7:14 PM
Gainesville FL

PTA's are also qualified to treat the patient. Every state practice act does not allow a PTA to evaluate. That's the way it is for numerous very good reasons. If you want to evalute patients, continue your education and passs the PT board. You seem to want more.... go for it!

jeanne October 6, 2008 6:51 PM

I agree, in doing this for 25yrs, if there is a script from a physician with a definite diagnosis, then taking a medical history, ROM and muscle testing ect and then consult with PT for plan of care/goals. But guess what these PTs coming out with their doctorate, Dr.PT is not going to go for this at all, because they feel that they are really the only ones qualified to treat patients.

Bobbie Abbott, Homehealth - PTA October 6, 2008 5:03 PM
Gainesville FL

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About this Blog

    Jason J. Marketti
    Occupation: Physical Therapist Assistant
    Setting: San Jacinto, CA
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