Fulton County Superior Court invalidates restriction barring foreign-educated physical therapists from taking the National Physical Therapy Examination (NPTE)
On February 9, 2011, the Superior Court of Fulton County, Atlanta invalidated a 2010 ban prohibiting physical therapy applicants trained in Philippines, India, Pakistan, and Egypt from taking the national physical therapy licensing examination available to all other physical therapy candidates. In Dakanay v. Georgia State Board of Physical Therapy et al., File No. 2010 CV 192875, the Superior Court ruled that the testing ban was invalid and unenforceable under Georgia law.
The prohibition was instituted by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy, Inc. (Federation) – a private vendor with whom the Georgia Board contracts to administer the NPTE. The Georgia Board subsequently adopted this testing ban. The prohibition barred plaintiffs from taking the NPTE even though they had satisfied all of the governing legal and regulatory requirements necessary to sit for the examination under Georgia law. Defendants contended that the testing prohibition was necessary to protect the integrity of the NPTE, claiming that statistical evidence demonstrated that individuals educated in the Philippines, Egypt, Pakistan and India had a higher propensity to cheat on the NPTE. The Federation and Board sought to administer a separate examination – one that was not yet created – to individuals educated in these four countries.
The suit against the Georgia Board and the Federation was in Georgia state court. Latham argued that requiring all applicants to sit for a uniform licensing examination was critically important to protecting public health and safety in Georgia because it ensured that all applicants licensed by the state are equally competent and qualified. The Court agreed and its February 9, 2011 Order explained that “the imposition of non-uniform examination requirements on otherwise qualified candidates based solely on the country in which they received their physical therapy training” was illegal. The Court also entered an injunction prohibiting the use of any non-uniform examination requirements on any qualified applicants seeking physical therapy licensure in Georgia.
Michael LeMonier, CEO of MedPro Staffing, Co-Chaired the Regulatory Committee for AAIHR and was instrumental in coordinating the overall effort which culminated into this victory. He stated, “This legal victory sends a strong message to the Federation and State Boards that a single test to license Physical Therapists will promote a high quality of standardized care.”
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