With all the changes in health care, will therapists need to obtain hospital privileges in the near future? MDs are often graded on their mortality rate, patient satisfaction, patient complexity and in some cases handwriting, as well as being board-certified to maintain hospital privileges. Why couldn't similar criteria be placed on therapists who want to work in hospitals?
Patients recovering from an illness or accident want the best care by the best people, who have proven their clinical skills and abilities to make patients well as quickly as possible. Therapists who work in a hospital setting should have some specialized training; at the very least ACLS certification or PALS if working with pediatric patients.
Maybe it would be wise to have a therapist who also holds an EKG certification to work in the ICU or PCU departments of the hospital rather than someone who may not recognize the nuances of internal stressors placed on an acute-care patient's heart. The APTA offers certification courses that one could take but it may not be enough for those in acute care if therapist privileges are needed.
Oncology, neonatal and joint rehab specific to an area like the spine, knee, shoulder, etc. could potentially be new areas for certification to work at a hospital. And to maintain privileges, therapists would need to demonstrate their patients are getting better based on what they are doing in the rehabilitation department.
When I think about it, this might not be a bad idea. We would be taking the best therapists who actively take an interest in an issue and placing them in the most favorable working environments, thus super-specializing ourselves in the setting. With this, hospitals could advertise that their therapists are all board-certified in something with privileges to work there. If JCAHO agrees, who wouldn't want to go there for rehab?