If you've been working in therapy for a while, you'll know there are some patients who are more appropriate for a PT to see than a PTA. It's usually the PT who determines this based on the clinical and medical needs of the patient. But why even use a PTA or any assistive personnel if there's a question about acuity levels in patient care? What's the reasoning behind using supportive staff to treat patients in any setting?
The PTs will be able to answer this question better than anyone else. And there should be a clinical and medical reason behind it. If the reasoning is to see more patients in the clinic or to grow the department, that's not valid for using any assistive or supportive personnel. Cost and because state laws allow it are not clinically valid reasons either.
If PTAs and other supportive workers weren't used, patients wouldn't get seen and wait times would be greater than what they are now. But this isn't a medical or clinical reason to have a PTA treat a patient, it's a consumer convenience to have them seen for treatment as soon as possible. A stipulation on the number of patients seen in a therapy setting would keep PTs from over-utilizing PTAs and aides and allow more one-on-one time between the patient and PT. But this would severely impact a clinic financially that depends on vast numbers of patients rotating through the place. And it still won't answer the bigger question of why use a PTA if there's no clinical or medical need to?
At this point, am I talking myself out of a job? Not really. The supply and demand for services are still in our favor and according to the BLS handbook, they will be for some time. But I would like to hear from PTs on why they use PTAs or supportive staff even if there isn't a justifiably appropriate reason to do so.