BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                  AB 2382
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          Date of Hearing:   April 6, 2010

                       ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON HIGHER EDUCATION
                                 Marty Block, Chair
              AB 2382 (Blumenfield) - As Introduced:  February 19, 2010
           
          SUBJECT  :   California State University: Doctor of Physical  
          Therapy degrees.

           SUMMARY  :   Authorizes the California State University (CSU) to  
          award the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree, as  
          distinguished from the doctoral degree programs at the  
          University of California (UC).  

           FISCAL EFFECT  :   Unknown

           COMMENTS  :    Double-referral  :  This bill is double-referred to  
          the Assembly Business and Professions Committee.  Therefore,  
          this analysis will focus only on the higher education issues  
          related to this bill.

           Background  :  According to the United States Bureau of Labor  
          Statistics, demand for physical therapists (PTs) will increase  
          by 30% from 2008 to 2018, driven by the increasing elderly  
          population, the aging baby boom generation, and changes in  
          insurance reimbursement rates for PT services.  Simultaneously,  
          the Commission on Accreditation for Physical Therapy Education  
          (CAPTE), which has sole responsibility for accrediting PT  
          education programs in the United States, revised its  
          accreditation standards last October to require the DPT as the  
          terminal degree instead of the Master's degree, requiring PT  
          Master's degree programs to convert to DPT programs by December  
          30, 2015.  Programs that do not meet this criterion by that date  
          will be required to come into compliance no later than December  
          31, 2017, or lose accreditation.  

           What is CAPTE  ?  CAPTE is comprised of members of the American  
          Physical Therapy Association-a professional organization whose  
          mission is to represent and promote the PT profession, among  
          other things.  Prospective PTs must have graduated from a  
          CAPTE-accredited program in order to sit for the National  
          Physical Therapy Examination, which is required for licensure.  

           Master Plan  :  One of the major features of the Master Plan for  
          Higher Education is the differentiation of functions among the  








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          public postsecondary segments. One of the advantages of this  
          structure is that it focuses limited state resources on a few  
          key responsibilities in each of the three public sectors.   
          Specifically, UC is given exclusive jurisdiction in public  
          higher education for doctoral degrees (although CSU can award  
          joint doctorates), with the exception of the Doctor of Education  
          (Ed.D) degree.  CSU was granted the authority to offer the Ed.D  
          degree because data indicated that California lagged behind the  
          nation in Ed.D degrees per K-12 students, and UC did not offer  
          Ed.D programs. 

           Existing DPT programs  :  As of January 2010, there were 203 DPT  
          programs (96%) and only nine Master's programs (4%) accredited  
          nationally.  There are currently nine private DPT programs in  
          California and one public program-a joint DPT between San  
          Francisco State University and UC San Francisco.  The programs  
          average about 40 students, take approximately three years, and  
          cost $27,000 to $40,000 per year.  CSU operates four PT Master's  
          programs at its Fresno, Northridge, Long Beach, and Sacramento  
          campuses.  CSU Fresno does offer a nine-month DPT option upon  
          completion of a Master's degree in partnership with UC San  
          Francisco.  According to the author, the existing DPT programs  
          cannot accommodate the demand, and the void is being filled by  
          private proprietary institutions, such as National University,  
          which is establishing a program in Los Angeles.  

           Need for this bill  :  Without legislation, four of CSU's PT  
          Master's programs will lose their accreditation by the end of  
          2017.  The sponsor, the California Physical Therapy Association  
          (CPTA), points out that CSU's Master's degree programs in  
          audiology faced a similar situation a few years ago when the  
          national accrediting body for audiology increased the terminal  
          degree requirement to the doctorate.  As a result, CSU's  
          audiology programs lost accreditation and are no longer offered.  
           CPTA also argues that CSU would provide a more affordable  
          option for students seeking at DPT that existing private  
          programs or joint programs with UC.  

           Difference between the DPT and Master's degrees  :  Master's  
          degree programs typically are two to two and one-half years in  
          length, while doctoral degree programs last three years.   
          Doctoral programs include a more robust clinical education and  
          diagnostic education. 
           
          What's the cost  ?  Doctoral degree programs are more costly to  








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          operate than baccalaureate or master's level programs.  However,  
          representatives from the existing CSU Master's degree programs  
          maintain that their current curriculum is equivalent to a DPT,  
          and no additional funds will be needed for program planning,  
          facilities, or faculty growth.  Staff suggests the following  
          language, consistent with existing law that authorizes CSU to  
          provide the Ed.D, to clarify costs as follows:  

               Funding on a per full-time equivalent student (FTES) basis  
               for each new student in the degree program shall be within  
               the California State University's enrollment growth levels  
               as agreed to in the annual Budget Act.  Enrollments in the  
               degree program shall not alter the California State  
               University's ratio of graduate instruction to total  
               enrollment, and shall not diminish enrollment growth in  
               university undergraduate programs. Funding provided from  
               the state for each FTES shall be at the agreed-upon  
               marginal costs calculation that the California State  
               University receives for graduate enrollment.

           California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) approval  :   
          Current law generally requires colleges to seek and receive  
          approval by CPEC prior to commencing new programs of study.  It  
          is unclear if CSU DPT programs authorized by this bill are to be  
          subject to or exempted from this process.  As the process serves  
          to improve the quality of programs, avoid duplication, and  
          ensure best use of state resources, staff recommends that this  
          bill be amended to clarify that although this bill authorizes  
          CSU to offer DPT degree programs, such programs are not exempted  
          from any existing review and approval processes. 

           Definition of DPT  :  Staff recommends this bill be amended to  
          define the DPT degree.  

           Statewide evaluation  :  Staff recommends that CSU work with the  
          Department of Finance 
          and the Legislative Analyst's Office to jointly conduct a  
          statewide evaluation of the new programs implemented under this  
          article, providing data consistent with that provided on the  
          implementation of the Ed.D, as appropriate.  The results of the  
          evaluation shall be reported, in writing, to the Legislature and  
          Governor on or before January 1, 2015.

           Larger issue  :  This bill represents a larger issue facing  
          California and future professionals: national associations  








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          setting their own standards and then requiring schools to teach  
          to those standards or lose their accreditation.  Shouldn't the  
          schools play a role in determining their educational standards?   
          The state must choose between allowing the private sector to  
          provide this education (at a high cost to students) or funding  
          public education program to comply with increased degree  
          requirements.  Students must pay for additional education and  
          delay their entry into the workforce, and the economy could  
          suffer as the time and costs associated with increased education  
          requirements serve as a disincentive for students to enter the  
          profession.  Should the state undertake a review of these  
          professional programs with accreditation increases on the  
          horizon and develop options instead of waiting for its existing  
          programs to face the loss of accreditation?

           CSU position  :  CSU is neutral on this bill.

           Related legislation  :  AB 867 (Nava) of 2009, pending in the  
          Senate Appropriations Committee, would grant CSU the authority  
          to award the Doctor in Nursing Practice degree.  AB 724 (Scott),  
          Chapter 269, Statutes of 2005, authorized CSU to award the Ed.D,  
          DPT and the Doctor in Audiology degree.  The latter two  
          provisions were removed due to objections by UC.

           REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION  :   

           Support 
           
          California Hospital Association
          California Physical Therapy Association
          53 individuals

           Opposition 
           
          California Medical Association
          California Orthopaedic Association
           
          Analysis Prepared by  :    Sandra Fried / HIGHER ED. / (916)  
          319-3960