|Dry Needling Update|
FPTA dry needling experts, leadership, legal counsel and student leaders attended the May 3, 2018, Florida Board of Physical Therapy Public Hearing on Dry Needling. The hearing was requested by acupuncturists who oppose the rule developed by the Board at its February meeting. The rule has also been reviewed by the Legislative Joint Administrative Procedures Committee (JAPC) legal counsel regarding concerns with legal intent and authorization.
FPTA experts provided the Board of PT with additional insight into the skills, education and training of PTs supporting the use of dry needling as well as the benefits dry needling can add to patient outcomes in improving function and mobility. FPTA legal counsel provided the Board with legal opinions addressing the concerns raised by JAPC. The Board of PT also listened to testimony provided by an acupuncturist opposed to the rule.
The Board of PT deliberated on the testimony and written submissions presented and is working with the Board’s Assistant Attorney General on the response it will submit to JAPC clarifying the intent of the proposed Dry Needling Rule.
Therefore, the rule is still working its way through the legal review process of the State. As the FPTA is advised of new actions affecting the implementation of the rule it will inform the membership through the Weekly Update and other communication mediums. Read the report below from the FPTA's legal counsel for a summary of next steps.
We thank the members who have dedicated their time and expertise assisting FPTA with the advocacy required for this issue.
Jamie Dyson, PT, DPT
President Florida Physical Therapy Association
Submitted by FPTA Counsel, Jamie Klapholz, Esquire
As we previously reported, the Florida Board of Physical Therapy (Board) voted on February 8 to propose a rule that outlines the requirements for practicing Dry Needling in Florida. This proposed rule comes after more than five years of advocacy efforts by the FPTA.
On May 3, the Board held a public hearing to discuss the proposed rule at the request of the Florida State Oriental Medical Association (FSOMA). FPTA leaders and attorneys were in attendance. After taking public comment, the Board discussed a letter received from the Florida Joint Administrative Procedures Committee (JAPC), which is composed of five state Senators and six state Representatives who have the power to object to a proposed rule. In the letter, JAPC questions the differences between Dry Needling and Acupuncture, whether Dry Needling fits within a physical therapist’s statutory scope of practice, and how a physical therapist can demonstrate competence in Dry Needling.
In response to JAPC’s questions, the Board voted to make one minor change to the proposed rule language addressing hygiene and infection control standards. The Board’s attorney will be responding to JAPC’s remaining questions in the coming weeks. The FPTA’s attorneys will continue to monitor JAPC’s oversight process.
Additionally, opponents of the proposed rule may file a legal challenge as early as this month to prevent the rule from becoming effective. The FTPA anticipates having the option to intervene in a legal challenge so that it will have the opportunity to be heard.
The FPTA is mindful that Dry Needling has been addressed by Attorney General Opinions in several states, but it is important to note that Florida’s Attorney General only renders opinions to public officials and not to private individuals or entities. While entitled to great weight, Opinions of the Florida Attorney General are not binding on the courts.
As the proposed rule moves through the rigors of Florida’s administrative process, the FPTA will continue to work closely with its attorneys and APTA leadership to devise a winning strategy.
Jamie A. Klapholz, Esquire
PT for Pain
PT for Pain is a project of the Florida Physical Therapy Association (FPTA), dedicated to improving the health, wellness and quality of life of people in Florida by advancing the practice of physical therapy.