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House perfects physical therapy, new business legislation

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — As the upper chamber remains mired in a filibuster, the House gave initial approval to a handful of bills dealing with physical therapy and business incentives. 

On Tuesday, the House perfected HB 1555 from Rep. David Gregory which repeals the requirement for a physical therapist to need a prescription or a referral from a doctor to see a patient. 

“Our physical therapists are extremely well trained to evaluate the functional limitations and impairments of patients,” Gregory said on the floor.

The bill also stipulates that a physical therapist must consult with an approved health care provider within 10 visits or 21 business days if they find a patient’s condition is beyond their scope of practice or if the person’s condition has not improved.

I think they are the only allied health profession that requires a referral,” Democratic Rep. Jo Doll, a physical therapist, said. “OT [occupational therapy] doesn’t, speech doesn’t, so there’s really no reason for it.”

Additionally, the House perfected legislation to allow prospective physical therapists to apply for certification 90 days before graduation with evidence of eligibility for graduation. From Rep. Brenda Shields, HB 2149 was given the green light without much fanfare. 

“I think this bill would be good for patients in Missouri. It would allow more access to care, and it would allow greater care and better care because these physical therapists aren’t losing their skills waiting to take a test,” GOP Rep. Jon Patterson, a physician, said. 

Rep. Travis Fitzwater’s “Right-to-Start Act” also worked its way through the lower chamber this week, unanimously passing out of Fiscal Review on Thursday. 

His HB 1590 would require the Office of Administration (OA) to compile an annual report regarding the contracts awarded to businesses that have been in business for less than three years as well as minority-owned businesses — and how those numbers compare to the total number of contracts awarded. 

OA would also be instructed, beginning in 2024, to make recommendations to the General Assembly on how to improve access for newer and minority-owned businesses. 

“What we want to do in our state is have a policy agenda that says we encourage you to start a business, to take the risk to go out and fulfill your dreams, take care of your families and your communities by starting a business, and hiring new people,” Fitzwater, a Republican who represents Callaway and Cole counties, said. 

Democratic Reps. LaKeySha Bosley and Tracy McCreery successfully included the provisions pertaining to minority-owned businesses on the House floor. 

Fitzwater’s bill also modifies tax deductions for business income and establishes the Office of Entrepreneurship within the Department of Economic Development.