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PTA Blog Talk

PTAs and the Future

Published October 3, 2012 9:11 PM by Jason Marketti

I'm sure there are some people who'd like to see the PTA profession disappear and have every patient treated only by a PT. And for those who feel like that, let's discuss what we should do with the PTAs. But first the United States needs to open its borders to more foreign-educated physical therapists to take the place of the PTAs currently employed. Right now the PT schools couldn't keep up with demand if suddenly all the PTAs quit or were fired.

If the PTAs quit treating patients, they could manage the department they worked in. They could lead the department into the next fiscal year and demand more from the PTs who are already overworked.

The PTA could review charts for the insurance companies and either approve or deny charges based on the therapeutic interventions provided by the therapists. They could also do internal chart audits for therapy companies and determine if all the paperwork is in place prior to submitting it for payment and reimbursement.

The PTAs could sit on state licensing boards and be the judge, jury and prosecutor when complaints are made. As a side note, I haven't seen too many PTAs on state boards so how could I ever be judged by a PTA peer when complaints are made about me?

The PTA could, by strict definition, be the PT's "extender" when doing telehealth. The PTA could bring a laptop and a cell phone to a new client's home and dial up the PT, who could then have the PTA perform an evaluation by proxy. This same technique could be used in rural health care as an efficient and effective tool to treat patients.

The PTA with extensive experience and knowledge in certain areas would make a great consultant with difficult patients. Pediatrics, wound care, modalities for pain management -- a PTA could be consulted on all these areas and a course of action would then be decided for the patient.

I know there will always be people who don't agree with everything I say but that is the beginning of sharing ideas and having an open, honest discussion between professionals.

4 comments

I just picked up your comments on Advance Magazine online , and I noted the date October 2012.  I have been a PTA for 17 years, and I do not like what I see coming down "the pike" for PTA's. I work in the Northeast secion of the country and my experience is  in SNF, Out Patient and Impatent acute care hospital, and Home Care. Employment has been difficult for me the past 3 years working mostly on reduced hours which I call a benefited per diem!! I don't think the PTA will go away, I think we will be reduced down to Rehab Aide or Technician with the salary to go wih it as well. I would not encourage anyone to be a PTA now because of the uncertainity of it's future. Many PTA's don not have the courage also to speak up or have left the field. Some of my collegues and including myself are retraining to do something else because we can't make any money to support ourselves on reduced hours or left to work multiple per diem jobs! What kind of life is that???

Sheila, , PTA hospital January 18, 2013 11:21 AM
York ME

I feel PTAs will be in demand in the near future. Way too much schooling and loans for a DPT.  

Nicole Fabricatore, pediatrics - PTA October 20, 2012 9:23 AM
PA

I must say, Jason, this does sound like a 'rant'. What are the circumstances that prompted this post?

Dean Metz October 4, 2012 9:47 PM

If the PTA profession were to "disappear" as you state, then all the functions you then describe would be performed by a PT... as they should be. What has prompted this thought process on your part? Just wondering.....  As far as I can tell in TN., PTA's are here to stay and my hours have been decreased as a PT to save $. I know my NY counterparts have seen otherwise. What is the trend in your area?

Jeanne October 3, 2012 5:48 PM

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