BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    

                         SENATE COMMITTEE ON EDUCATION
                              Gloria Romero, Chair
                           2009-2010 Regular Session

          BILL NO:       AB 2382
          AUTHOR:        Blumenfield
          AMENDED:       April 12, 2010
          FISCAL COMM:   Yes            HEARING DATE:  June 23, 2010
          URGENCY:       No             CONSULTANT:Kathleen Chavira

           SUBJECT  :  California State University Doctor of Physical  
          Therapy degree
          Notwithstanding the Masterplan for Education, which  
          designates the University of California as the only  
          California public postsecondary education segment  
          authorized to award a doctoral degree, should the  
          California State University be authorized to award the  
          Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)?

          Should the requirements of a private professional entity be  
          the basis for determining the educational programs offered  
          by California's public postsecondary education  

          Does the need to offer affordable physical therapy programs  
          to California residents outweigh concerns about Masterplan  
          principles or concerns about catering to the  
          interests/agendas of private professional organizations?


           This bill authorizes the California State University (CSU)  
          to award a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT), establishes  
          constraints on the funding and fees for these degree  
          programs, and requires their joint evaluation by the CSU,  
          Department of Finance (DOF) and the Legislative Analyst's  
          Office (LAO) by January 1, 2015, as specified. 


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          Current law provides that the primary mission of the  
          California State University is undergraduate and graduate  
          instruction through the master's degree, but authorizes the  
          CSU to offer joint doctoral degrees with the University of  
          California (UC), or with one or more independent  
          institutions of higher education, only as specified.   
          Current law, in setting forth the missions and functions of  
          California's public and independent institutions of higher  
          education provides, among other things, that UC has the  
          sole authority in public higher education to award the  
          doctoral degree in all fields of learning, except that it  
          may agree with the CSU to award joint doctoral degrees in  
          selected fields. (Education Code 66010.4)

          Notwithstanding the differentiation of mission and function  
          of the public institutions of higher education, current law  
          authorizes the CSU to independently award the Doctor of  
          Education (Ed.D) degree focused solely on preparing  
          administrative leaders for California public K-14 schools.   
          (EC 66040-66040.7)

           This bill  :

          1)   Authorizes the CSU to award a Doctor of Physical  
               Therapy (DPT), notwithstanding the Masterplan and its  
               differentiation of mission and function, in order to  
               meet specified physical therapy needs in California,  
               subject to compliance with the following conditions:

                    a)   Limits the authority to award a doctorate to  
                    the discipline of physical therapy.

                    b)   Requires that the amount of state full-time  
                    equivalent student (FTES) funding per student be  
                    at the agreed upon marginal cost calculation that  
                    the CSU receives and further:

                      i)             Requires that FTES funding for  
                    the new students in these                          
                    programs come from within the CSU's agreed upon    
                    enrollment levels in the annual Budget Act.


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                      ii)     Prohibits enrollment in these programs  
                    from altering the ratio of graduate instruction  
                    to total enrollment and diminishing the growth of  
                    enrollment of undergraduate programs. 

                    c)   Requires that the degree be focused on  
                    preparing physical therapists to provide health  
                    care services, and that it be consistent with  
                    meeting the requirements of the Commission on the  
                    Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education  

                    d)   Affirms the authority of the California  
                    Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC) to  
                    review, evaluate and make recommendations  
                    relating to any and all programs established  
                    under the bill's provisions. 

                    e)   Caps the fees that may be charged students  
                    in these programs at the rate charged for  
                    students in state-supported DPT programs at the  
                    UC (including joint programs of the CSU and UC).

                    f)   Requires that start-up funding for these  
                    programs be met within existing academic program  
                    support budgets, without diminishing the program  
                    support offered to undergraduates.

                    g)   Prohibits funding of these programs from  
                    resulting in reduced undergraduate enrollment at  
                    the CSU.

          2)   Requires the CSU, DOF and LAO to jointly conduct a  
               statewide evaluation of the implementation of the DPT  
               programs authorized by this bill. More specifically  

                    a)             Requires the evaluation be  
                    submitted to the Legislature and Governor by  
                    January 1, 2015.

                    b)             Requires the evaluation consider  
                    the number of new programs implemented, as  


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                    specified, the extent to which the programs are  
                    fulfilling identified needs for physical  
                    therapists, information on subsequent job  
                    placement and employment of graduates, program  
                    costs, fund sources, and cost per degree awarded,  
                     the cost of programs to students, as specified,  
                    and the degree of compliance with the bill's  

           1)   Need for the bill  .  In January 2009, the CAPTE,  
               recognized by the United States Department of  
               Education (USDE) as the entity for accrediting  
               entry-level physical therapist and physical therapist  
               assistant education programs, announced the adoption  
               of new Evaluative Criteria for the Accreditation of  
               Education Programs for the Preparation of Physical  
               Therapists.  These programs are now required to  
               culminate in the awarding of a DPT degree in order to  
               be accredited.  The CAPTE will begin enforcing this  
               criterion effective December 31, 2015.  Educational  
               programs that continue to award the master's degree  
               have until December 31, 2017, to come into compliance  
               or have their accreditation withdrawn. 
                In California, physical therapists must be licensed to  
               practice by the Physical Therapy Board of California.   
               Obtaining a license requires a master's degree in  
               physical therapy, passage of the National Physical  
               Therapy Examination (NPTE), the California Law  
               Examination (CLE), and a criminal history fingerprint  
               background check.  According to the CAPTE, graduation  
               from an accredited program is required for licensure  
               to practice physical therapy in all 50 states, the  
               District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.  The CSU  
               currently offers a master's in physical therapy at  
               four of its campuses and a Joint DPT is offered  
               through San Francisco State University and UC San  
               Francisco. Without this bill, the CSU master's  
               programs in physical therapy will be forced to close,  
               as these graduates will be ineligible for licensure  
               and unable to enter the profession after 2017.


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           2)   Slippery slope  ?  Staff notes that a similar issue  
               arose a few years ago when the American  
               Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), a national  
               professional organization representing audiologists  
               and also the accrediting body for professional  
               preparation programs in audiology, speech and language  
               pathology, mandated that beginning in 2007  
               audiologists would be required to earn a doctorate to  
               attain professional certification.  Schools that did  
               not offer a doctorate in audiology would lose their  
               accreditation.  At the time, the CSU offered five  
               master's level audiology programs and one joint  
               doctoral program between San Diego State University  
               and UC San Diego.   The Legislature chose not to  
               provide this authorization to the CSU.

               Staff notes that it was not then, nor is it now, the  
               CSU or an independent accrediting or educational  
               evaluating organization that is mandating this change  
               in physical therapy programs.  Again, it is a private  
               professional association that is not only the sole  
               accrediting agency but is also the sole provider of  
               individual certification and the national licensing  
               exam.  Should a single private agency, in essence,  
               dictate the programs that California public colleges  
               must offer?  Shouldn't the schools play a role in  
               determining what their educational standards should  
               be? How many other private professional agencies will  
               follow suit?

           3)   What is the DPT  ? According to the California Physical  
               Therapy Association, a DPT is a clinically based,  
               professional doctoral degree, and as such, is  
               distinguished from doctoral degrees conferred by the  
               UC that are research or academically based. According  
               to information provided by the sponsor, the programs  
               currently in place at the CSU require no additional  
               funding to convert to a DPT and have the faculty,  
               expertise, equipment and labs prepared to train  
               physical therapists at the doctoral level.  

           4)   Why not a joint degree  ? Under current law, the CSU is  
               authorized to offer joint degrees with either the UC  
               or private higher education institutions.  Arguably,  


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               under this authority, the need to offer the DPT could  
               be met by expanding the type of partnership that  
               exists between UCSF/SFSU. It is unclear why only one  
               such program has been fully developed (the joint DPT  
               program with CSU Fresno is reportedly "in  
               transition"), as the UC did not respond to staff's  
               request for information regarding the subject of this  

           5)   California's physical therapy programs  .  Of the14  
               education programs in physical therapy within  
               California, nine are offered by private institutions,  
               culminate in a DPT and range in cost from about  
               $73,000 to $122,000. Of the five programs offered by  
               public institutions, only the UCSF/SFSU Joint program  
               offers a DPT and CSU Fresno, CSU Long Beach, CSU  
               Northridge and CSU Sacramento offer a masters degree  
               and range in cost from $15,000-$38,000.

               According to the CSU, their programs are heavily  
               subscribed, with CSU Northridge reporting that in 2010  
               they received 483 applications for 40 spots with an  
               average increase in applicants of 25 percent per year.  
               Of approximately 464 graduates of physical therapy  
               programs in the state per year, the four CSU campuses  
               produce about 148 (32 percent).

           6)   Workforce trends  .  According to the Labor Market  
               Information Division (LMID) of the California  
               Employment Development Department, in California, the  
               need for physical therapists is expected to increase  
               due to growth in the general and aging population, the  
               widespread interest in health, and the growth of  
               sports medicine.  The demand for physical therapists  
               is expected to grow much faster than the average  
               growth rate for all occupations, with jobs expected to  
               increase by 29.7 percent (4,400 jobs) between 2006 and  
               2016.  In addition, the LMID reports that the median  
               annual salary for physical therapists in California in  
               2010 was $82,255.  

           7)   Prior similar legislation  .  

               AB 867 (Nava, 2009) would have authorized the CSU to  


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          award a Doctor of                       Nursing Practice  
          (DNP) degree subject to specified conditions. AB 867    
          passed this committee in June 2009, by a vote of 8-0, but  
          was  subsequently held under submission in the Senate  
          Appropriations Committee. 

               SB 724 (Scott, Chapter 269, Statutes of 2005)  
               established the authority and conditions under which  
               the CSU could offer the Doctor of Education (Ed.D)  
               degree. The authority and conditions established in  
               this bill are almost identical to those established  
               for purposes of the awarding of the Ed.D degree.

          50+ Individual Letters
          California Hospital Association
          California Physical Therapy Association
          California Postsecondary Education Commission
          Intercollegiate Academic Clinical Coordinators Council
          Northern California Clinical Education Consortium
          Occupational Therapy Association of California
          Physical Therapy Board of California


           California Medical Association
          California Orthopedic Association
          California Podiatric Medical Association