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Chapter 490-4 RENEWAL: CONTINUING COMPETENCE REQUIREMENTS-DISCIPLINARY SANCTIONS

Rule 490-4-.01 Renewal and Reinstatement of License and Penalties

(1) Every licensed physical therapist and physical therapist assistant shall biennially apply to the Board for renewal of his/her license, submit proof of continuing competency requirements and pay a renewal fee by December 31st of odd years. Refer to fee schedule and Rule 490-4-.02.
(2) A license that is not renewed on or before December 31st shall be assessed a late fee. Refer to fee schedule for penalty fee.
(3) A license that is not renewed on or before February 28th of the year following the renewal year shall lapse and be of no force and effect and shall by operation of the law be revoked.
(4) A physical therapist or physical therapist assistant that has been previously licensed in this State who has allowed his/her license to become revoked due to failure to renew, shall be required to submit an application for reinstatement, pay appropriate fee (refer to fee schedule), and shall also be required to meet requirements as provided below:
(a) An applicant who is able to document that he/she has practiced as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant within 2 years shall be required to submit proof of continuing competence requirements as established by the Board;
(b) An applicant who is unable to document that he/she has practiced as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant within 2 years but is able to document such practice within 5 years shall be required to submit proof of continuing competence (Refer to 490-4-.02 ), and shall be required to work under the supervision of a physical therapist licensed in this state for 480 hours of continuous supervised practice to be completed within 3 months with specific stipulations as deemed necessary by the Board, and shall be required to take and pass the examination on the laws governing the practice of physical therapy in Georgia and the rules of the Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy; or
(c) An applicant who is unable to document that he/she has practiced as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant within 5 years shall be required to work under the supervision of a physical therapist licensed in this state for 1,000 hours of continuous supervised practice to be completed in no less than 6 months or no more than 1 year if approved by the Board with specific stipulations as deemed necessary by the Board and shall be required to take and pass the following examinations: the licensing examination, and the examination on the laws governing the practice of physical therapy in Georgia and the rules of the Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy.
(5) Applicants subject to Rule 490-4-.01(4)(a) may at the discretion of the Board be exempted from continuing competence requirements if such person holds a current license in good standing in another state or if such person is currently employed as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant by the United States Government if such person provides physical therapy services under the direction or control of the employing organization.

Rule 490-4-.02 Continuing Competence Requirements

(1) The Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy requires each licensed physical therapist and physical therapist assistant to participate in thirty (30) clock hours of experience per licensure period which is not to exceed ten (10) credit hours per calendar day. The purpose of this requirement is to assist in assuring safe and effective practices in the provision of physical therapy services to the citizens of Georgia.
(a) The Board recommends the requirements for competence as planned learning experiences which have content beyond the licensee's present level of knowledge and competence which may be subject to audit by the board.
(b) Content of the experience must relate to patient care in physical therapy whether the subject is research, treatment, documentation, education, management, or some other content area.
(c) In the event that a licensee does not meet the continuing competence requirement, the license will not be renewed.
(2) Effective July 1, 2018, (30) hours of continuing competence per biennium shall include a minimum of four (4) contact hours specifically in Georgia Ethics and Jurisprudence as defined in the Georgia Physical Therapy Act or by passage of the Georgia Ethics and Jurisprudence Examination.
(a) A Georgia Ethics and Jurisprudence course must be obtained from a Georgia college or university with an accredited physical therapy education program or a provider which holds a current Physical Therapy Association of Georgia (PTAG) Approval Certificate for the course.
(b) Passage of the Georgia Ethics and Jurisprudence Examination is equivalent to the four (4) hour continuing competence requirement for Georgia Ethics and Jurisprudence provided that the same test result has not been previously submitted to the Board as part of an application for licensure or to satisfy the requirements of an order of the Board.
(3) The following programs and activities may be considered for approval, but are not limited to:
(a) Programs approved by the American Physical Therapy Association and its affiliate components; or
(b) Programs approved by the Physical Therapy Association of Georgia or any other state chapters; or
(c) Programs approved by the Federation of State boards of Physical Therapy (Procert); or
(d) Programs provided at CAPTE-Accredited colleges and universities with programs in physical therapy when the continuing competency course is held under the auspices of the school of physical therapy; or
(e) Programs offered by similar professional organizations offering experiences that meet the guidelines set forth in paragraph one.
(f) Fifteen (15) hours for undergoing a peer review; or
(g) Ten (10) hours for conducting a peer review when that activity is an adjunct responsibility and not the primary employment; or
(h) Participation as a presenter for continuing education courses, workshops, seminars or symposia which have been approved by the approved list above; Continuing competence credit is based on contact hours and may not exceed 10 hours per topic;
(i) Authorship of a presented scientific poster, scientific platform presentation or published article; Continuing competence credit is 10 hours per even and may not exceed 20 hours;
(j) Teaching a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant credit course when that teaching is an adjunct responsibility and not the primary employment; Continuing competence credit is based on contact hours not to exceed 20 hours;
(k) Certification of clinical specialization by the American Board of Physical Therapy Specialties. Continuing competence credit is 30 hours and is recognized only in the biennium in which certification or recertification is awarded.
(l) Self - instruction from reading professional literature; Continuing competence credit is limited to a maximum of three (3) hours; or
(m) Attendance at a scientific poster session, lecture, panel, symposium or university course Continuing competence credit is one hour per contact hour of activity; or
(n) Acting as a clinical education instructor for an accredited physical therapist or physical therapist assistant educational program; Continuing competence credit is one (1) hour per eight (8) contact hours with a maximum credit of 10 hours; or
(o) Acting as a clinical instructor or an intern for a formal, nonacademic, advanced clinical internship or as a mentor or a learner for a formal, nonacademic mentorship with a maximum credit of 10 hours.
(p) Donating time in the role of a Physical Therapist or Physical Therapist Assistant, within the scope of practice, to a charity event; Continuing competence credit is one (1) hour per eight (8) contact hours, limited to a maximum of five (5) hours;
(q) Reference Policy 13
(r) Post professional physical therapist educational programs that award academic credit are counted as one (1) university credit hour equaling ten (10) continuing competence hours. For example, a two (2) credit hour course in which a passing grade is achieved would equal twenty (20) continuing competence hours.
(4) Unacceptable activities for continuing competence include, but are not limited to:
(a) Orientation and in-service programs;
(b) Meetings for purposes of policy decisions;
(c) Non-educational meeting at annual association, chapter or organization meetings;
(d) Entertainment or recreational meeting or activities;
(e) Committee meetings, holdings of offices, serving as an organization delegate;
(f) Visiting exhibits;
(g) CPR.
(5) Continuing competence requirements shall apply within the first biennium that a physical therapist/physical therapist assistant is licensed in Georgia. However, licensees who have graduated during the current renewal biennium and who have passed the National Physical Therapy Examination are exempt from the continuing competence requirement during the biennium in which they have graduated and successfully passed the exam.
(6) Beginning the January 1, 2014 through December 31, 2016 biennium and thereafter, persons licensed to practice as a physical therapist or a physical therapy assistant or who shall file an application to practice as such in this state are to maintain a record of completed continuing education courses and experiences by registering with an online recording and reporting system approved by the Board.
(a) For the purposes of this requirement, the Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy adopts the utilization of attitude offered by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).
(b) Licensees and applicants shall incur no additional costs from the FSBPT for this service.
(c) Every licensee or applicant subject to the rules of the Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy shall be deemed to have given such person's consent to the Board and it's representatives to access their continuing competence record retained within the online database for the purposes of auditing and verifying completion of the Board's continuing competency requirements. Such person waives all objections to the admissibility of the record in any proceedings or hearings before the board.
(7) Individuals licensed during the last six (6) months of a biennium renewal period will not be required to meet continuing competence requirements for that biennium.
(8) Individuals who have been reinstated within the last six (6) months of a biennium renewal period may use the continuing competence coursework used for reinstatement, thereby making them exempt from the requirement for that biennium renewal period.
(9) Those licensees selected for audit shall submit documentation of compliance upon receipt of notice. Acceptable documentation shall include:
(a) An official program or outline of the course attended or taught or a copy of the publication which clearly shows that the objectives and content were related to patient care in physical therapy and shows the number of contact hours, as appropriate. The information also should clearly identify the licensee's responsibility in teaching or authorship; and
(b) A certificate or verification of completion of home study which identifies the sponsoring entity or maintain a copy of the final grade report in the case of a University credit course(s), or specialization certificate, or proof of attendance with a copy of the program for the other acceptable activities, or documentation of self-instruction or reading professional literature; or
(c) Verification of a peer review of practice with verification of acceptable practice by a recognized entity. An example of a recognized entity is the American Physical Therapy Association Board Policy (See APTA Policy G03-05-15-40).
(10) Responsibilities of the Licensee:
(a) To maintain the original continuing competence documents no less than three (3) years from the beginning date of the licensure period. These records should be maintained in the licensee's personal files for no less than three (3) years from the beginning date of the licensure period through the even numbered year after the license is renewed.
(b) To complete all steps necessary to meet the re-licensure requirements on or before December 31st of the odd numbered years.
(c) To provide the Board with information requested during an audit.
(d) To keep a current mailing address on file with the Licensing Board Office at all times.

Rule 490-4-.03 Continuing Competency Audit

(1) Each licensee is responsible for completing all steps necessary to meet the renewal application requirements on or before December 31st of the odd numbered years to include recording proof of completion of the continuing competency (CC) requirements, within the online recording and reporting system approved by the Board, prior to the expiration date of the license.
(2) A renewal applicant may be subject to audit if the applicant:
(a) is randomly selected for CC audit BEFORE the license expiration date;
(b) answers "no" to the continuing competency question;
(c) has been disciplined by any state or regulatory board; and/or,
(d) has been convicted, or entered a plea of guilty, nolo contendere, or been sentenced under the "First Offender Act" for any felony, misdemeanor or any offense other than a minor traffic violation? DWI a DUI are not minor traffic violations.
(3) Licensees whose renewal applications are randomly selected for CC audit must submit records of attendance and proof of completion in accordance with BR 490-4-.02 before the renewal application is considered complete. The license will not be renewed until satisfactory documentation of completion is submitted.
(4) If satisfactory documentation of completion of all CC requirements is not submitted before the end of the established late renewal period, the license will be administratively lapsed for failure to meet the CC requirements to renew the license.
(5) The Board may opt to conduct an audit of CC hours submitted in connection with a license renewal application AFTER a license is renewed.
(6) If an audit of CC hours for renewal shows that the CC hours or documentation was submitted into the online recording system before the end of the late renewal period AND the hours are deficient, incorrect, false, or fraudulent:
(a) The Board may take disciplinary action against a licensee and may require, as a condition of granting renewal, that the licensee enter into an agreement with terms and conditions that include, but are not limited to, the following:
(1) pay a fine of $500.00 per violation; and,
(2) submit proof satisfactory to the Board of completion of all deficient CC hours, none of which may be used to satisfy the CC requirement of any subsequent renewal cycle.

Rule 490-4-.04 Inactive License

(a) Any licensee who is no longer practicing as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant in the State of Georgia may request an Inactive License status by filing an application for inactive status and paying the appropriate fee. Refer to fee schedule.
(1) An individual holding inactive status may not practice as a physical therapist or work as a physical therapist assistant within the State of Georgia.
(2) Any individual holding inactive status is not subject to the biennial renewal fees or continuing competence requirements.
(3) An individual whose license is under any sanction may not transfer to inactive status while sanctions are in effect.
(4) Any individual holding inactive status may return to active status by meeting all requirements for reinstatement as outlined herein.
(b) A physical therapist or physical therapist assistant who has been granted an Inactive license may reinstate the license by submitting an application for reinstatement, pay appropriate fee (refer to fee schedule), and shall also be required to meet requirements as provided below:
(1) An applicant who is able to document that he/she has practiced as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant within 2 years shall be required to submit proof of continuing competence requirements as established by the Board;
(2) An applicant who is unable to document that he/she has practiced as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant within 2 years but is able to document such practice within 5 years shall be required to submit proof of continuing competence (Refer to 490-4-.02 ), and shall be required to work under the supervision of a physical therapist licensed in this state for 480 hours of continuous supervised practice to be completed within three (3) months with specific stipulations as deemed necessary by the Board, and shall be required to take and pass the examination on the laws governing the practice of physical therapy in Georgia and the rules of the Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy; or
(3) An applicant who is unable to document that he/she has practiced as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant within 5 years shall be required to take and pass the next licensing examination prior to being allowed to work under the supervision of a physical therapist licensed in this state for 1,000 hours of continuous supervised practice which is to be completed in no less than 6 months or no more than 1 year if approved by the Board with specific stipulations as deemed necessary by the Board.
(c) Applicants subject to Rule 490-4-.04(b) may in the discretion of the Board be exempted from continuing competence and supervision requirements if such person holds a current license in good standing in another state or if such person is currently employed as a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant by the United States Government if such person provides physical therapy services under the direction or control of the employing organization.