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January 22, 2009 12:48 PM

Physical therapists, chiropractors square off over bill

Posted by Chantal Anderson

The campus is heating up today with supporters and opponents Senate Bill 5230 descending on the Capitol. The bill sponsored by Sen. Fairely, D-Lake Forest Park, would allow physical therapists in Washington to perform spinal manipulation, which chiropractors currently perform.

Members of the Washington State Chiropractor's Association and the Physical Therapy Association of Washington are visiting legislators today to lobby about the bill.

Physical Therapy Association of Washington says:

  • Washington is one of only two states (Arkansas is the other state) in the nation that prohibits physical therapists from performing this procedure.

  • All three physical therapy schools in WA (University of Washington, Eastern Washington University and Puget Sound University) say they teach spinal manipulation.

  • Medical research shows spinal manipulation with patients with a certain level of back and neck pain can be a beneficial and cost-effective treatment for patients with a certain level of back and neck pain.

The Washington State Chiropractor's Association says:

  • They oppose the bill because they are concerned with the safety of patients.

  • They don't believe physical therapist curriculum has the number of training hours related to spinal adjustment and spinal adjustment technique that are necessary for safe practice.

Lori Bielinski, executive director of the chiropractor's association, says:

"Chiropractor's adjust all day, everyday and they have 7 years of necessary schooling that enables them to perform safe spinal adjustments. You can't be an expert in this procedure if you do it once, or twice a day, or even a few times a week."

Check out the video below of the physical therapist rally this morning.

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Andrew Garber
Covers politics and state government from Olympia.

Jennifer Sullivan
Covers the state Legislature from Olympia.

Chantal Anderson
Covers the state Legislature from Olympia.

Emily Heffter
Writes about the city of Seattle and local politics.

Mike Lindblom
Covers transportation.

Jim Brunner
Writes about money and power from Seattle.