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Update on PTAs in Tricare
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In December 2017, President Trump signed legislation that would allow physical therapist assistants (PTAs) to treat patients with TRICARE. While this is a huge step forward, the law simply directs the Department of Defense (DoD) to make the change. The actual process of creating the rules and regulations around this change is cumbersome.

Because provision of care by PTA’s in TRICARE is new, the DoD has to write a completely new rule. The rule then has to be approved internally within DoD, then it gets published for a 60-day public comment period. Revisions are made, and then the Office of Personnel Management will need to sign off (the law essentially adds PTAs/COTAs as new authorized federal providers, so OPM is a stakeholder). Then, it goes to Office of Management and Budget for their review/approval. Then, it has to be finalized and published in the Federal Register.

Right now, the DoD is on step one. Publication in the Federal Register (which will be the signal that PTA’s can begin treating patients with TRICARE), is expected sometime in late 2018 or early 2019. FPTA will keep members informed about the public comment period so PTs/PTAs can contribute when the period opens.


Greg Hartley
FPTA Director of Practice

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