Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Colorado Dry Needling Lawsuit Dismissed

December 14, 2017

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Dec. 13, 2017 DENVER – The Colorado Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association was very pleased to receive the opinion and order from the Denver District Court, under presiding District Judge A. Bruce Jones, that the lawsuits seeking judicial review or a declaratory judgement against physical therapists performing dry needling in Colorado have been denied. The ruling was entered 12-12-2017 at 11:51 a.m. Key to the ruling is that the Colorado PT Board acted within its statutory authority and that “there is sufficient elasticity in the Act’s definition (PT Practice Act) of physical therapy to encompass dry needling.”The ruling upholds prior Colorado Legislative Legal Services review in 2013 that the PT practice act encompasses dry needling under mechanical stimulation with the use of a device (filament/needle). This ruling upholds the Colorado Chapter’s position that the Colorado PT practice is inclusive of language that “provide for new developments in physical therapy practice”. We do recognize that this is a legal interpretation, and does bring to a close the current debate (legally) on the issue of whether the Colorado Board of Physical Therapy had the statutory authority to promulgate Rule 211 in 2011. Prior legislative debate on this issue has been split, but in the majority favor that the PT Practice Act is correctly interpreted to encompass dry needling. As we move into the legislative session and the sunset process of the PT practice Act, the Chapter will remain diligent in seeking to strengthen the PT Practice Act in Colorado, such that future challenges to the scope of practice of physical therapists will not be put forth based upon statutory language that presents the opportunity for alternate interpretation. The Chapter is pleased that the due diligence, task force work, legal services provided and the filing of an Amicus brief to the court has generated a very positive outcome. Many were involved in this effort. Work may yet need to be done with the sunset process, but we will continue to be prepared. This verdict is positive for Coloradan’s who seek health care from physical therapists. It does not limit the scope of any other practitioner. Respectfully, Cameron MacDonald President, Colorado Chapter, American Physical Therapy Association