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February 2, 1970

Role of the Physical Therapist

Author Affiliations

Clara Maass Memorial Hospital Belleville, NJ

JAMA. 1970;211(5):831. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170050065027

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To the Editor.—  An article appearing in The Journal requires clarification (210:1527, 1969).The statement is made: "Physical therapists evaluate the physical capabilities and disabilities of patients and plan treatment programs for patients. Physical therapists receive referrals for services to patients from licensed physicians, surgeons, and dentists." My position as president of the New Jersey Society of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and as spokesman for the membership of this organization necessitates my attempting to clarify the role of the physical therapist.According to the article, it might be construed that the therapist would be, or might be, involved in diagnosis and prescription writing. This is not the case.An ethical licensed physical therapist treats a patient only within the confines of the prescription given by the patient's physician.If the therapist develops an opinion or witnesses a reaction which does not meet the goals of the prescription, he conveys