As readers of this blog certainly are aware, last summer the FSBPT took the unprecedented action of barring graduates from schools located in Egypt, India, Pakistan and the Philippines from taking the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE).
On February 9, a Georgia court ruled that the FSBPTís policy is illegal in Georgia. Barring any last minute legal maneuvers by the FSBPT and/or the Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy, impacted applicants for licensure in Georgia should soon be able to both apply for licensure and have the same availability to take the NPTE as every other applicant. If the Georgia State Board fails to offer a test, it will be in contempt of the court order.
This leads MU to predict an increase in applications for licensure through Georgia until other State Boards insist that the FSBPT allow their candidates unrestricted access to the NPTE or are forced to do so through similar litigation.
MU, through our association with the AAIHR, worked hard on the legal effort. We are very pleased to see that the Georgia court has found in favor of the Physical Therapists and did not allow an illegal policy to continue
The Decision presently is limited to applicants to Georgia. Other states are free to adopt the Georgia courtís ruling. MU is working through our association with the AAIHR to see that the logic behind the Georgia decision is applied to other states. It is now incumbent on other state boards of Physical Therapy immediately to:
1) resume processing of all qualified applications for Physical Therapy licensure;
2) obtain immediate authorization (through an emergency Board Meeting if necessary) to declare the actions of the FSBPT impermissible; and
3) notify the FSBPT that each State Board mandates that all candidates who are deemed eligible and authorized to take the NPTE be immediately accommodated without respect to country of education.
Any readers to this Blog are encouraged to call their state boards. The FSBPT must be encouraged to rescind this policy on a national basis. It is only with pressure on the State Boards that the policy will be nationally rescinded.
Unquestionably, the integrity of the NPTE must be maintained. However, it must be maintained in a nondiscriminatory and legal manner that does not penalize innocent individuals.
Specifically, the court has agreed that the policy of the FSBPT which barred access to the NPTE to certain Physical Therapists based upon the country of education was impermissible and has entered Declaratory Judgment and a Permanent Injunction against the FSBPT and the Georgia State Board. The Court specially barred the Georgia Board and the FSBPT from:
a. enforcing the Testing Prohibition, in whole or in part, in the Georgia;
b. taking any action which would prohibit candidates eligible for physical therapy licensure under Georgia law from registering for and taking the NPTE;
c. engaging in any action that would subject candidates eligible for physical therapy licensure under Georgia law who graduated from physical therapy programs in Egypt, India, Pakistan, or the Philippines to any testing requirements, measures, conditions, terms, or circumstances different than those imposed on all other candidates eligible for physical therapy licensure in Georgia;
d. permitting any individual or entity to impose testing requirements, measures, conditions, terms, or circumstances inconsistent with Georgia law upon any candidate eligible for physical therapy licensure in Georgia.
If you have any questions or would like any additional information, please do not hesitate to contact Chris Musillo or Cindy Unkenholt.
Christopher T. Musillo is a partner at Musillo Unkenholt Immigration Law. He is a graduate of Villanova University, Villanova, Pennsylvania. When not zealously representing his clients, Chris enjoys outdoor sports, listening to music, traveling and reading.