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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 29, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Senate Bill 5230

Giving physical therapists and patients a plan B

The Times recently reported on the Olympia rally attended by 625 physical therapists in support of Senate Bill 5230, seeking to lift the prohibition of spinal manipulation by physical therapists in Washington state [“Physical therapists, chiropractors square off over bill,” Politics Northwest, Jan. 22].

I am a physical therapist affected by this issue. Physical therapy (PT) education programs nationwide are all required to teach spinal manipulation in order to be accredited. It is the accepted standard of evidence-based care for acute-spinal pain.

In Washington state, two of the three PT programs are state-funded with taxpayer dollars. Students graduate as Ph.D. PTs who cannot use this procedure in Washington state. They can move to 48 other states in the U.S. and perform spinal manipulation, and, when they do, they take the taxpayer investment with them.

SB 5230 will require all PTs to prove to the Washington State Department of Health (WSDOH) they have the necessary training to use this technique.

Passage of this bill allows a group of medical professionals to do what they have been trained to do based on evaluation of musculoskeletal dysfunction as part of their overall treatment plan, and allows the patient to choose the practitioner that fits his or her needs and philosophy of care.

— Brenda Matter, Seattle

Comments | More in Health care, Washington Legislature

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