Bills to Update our Physical Therapy Practice Act on Hold

HB701 and SB547, our two companion bills to update the Hawaii physical therapy practice act to include dry needling, are on hold until the 2020 legislative session. The House version is currently waiting to be heard in the House Committee on Consumer Protection and Commerce (CPC). Unfortunately, HB701 is not scheduled for a hearing and with a “crossover” deadline nearing, this lack of movement means that the bill will not pass this 2019 legislative session. However, since this is the first year of the legislative biennium we will again have the opportunity to move the bills forward in the 2020 legislative session.

HAPTA will continue to build support and advocate for this therapeutic intervention, as we are one of seven states that prohibit its use by physical therapists.

HB701 had its first hearing in the House Committee on Health (HLT) on February 12 and because of concerns raised by opposing stakeholders, HLT passed an amended version of HB701, which referred the bill the legislative reference bureau to conduct a study “of the laws and regulations regarding dry needling therapy in other states as they pertain to the practice of physical therapists. This study shall consider:
(1)  The scope of practice of both physical therapists and acupuncturists in other states in which physical therapists are permitted to perform dry needling techniques and therapies;
(2)  The market share of acupuncturists and physical therapists in other states; and
(3)  Any external factors leading other states to adopt or refuse to adopt laws or regulations allowing physical therapists to perform dry needling techniques and therapies.”

Over 130 testimonies supporting HB701 were received from APTA, the Hawaii state physical therapy board, MDs, local organizations including hospital facilities, dry needling educators, professors, experienced dry needling therapists, and patients who have benefited from its use. More than 300 testimonies were received.

We appreciate the therapists who have taken the time to submit supportive testimony and we appreciate your continued support and outreach to your colleagues, patients, and legislators.

We will continue to keep members updated on these two bills. If you’d like further information, have any comments or concerns, or would like to join our legislative effort please email us at legislative@hapta.org.

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