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Law allows college physical therapy faculty to create nonprofit practices

Daemen College officials and two state lawmakers Monday announced a change to state law that will allow licensed physical therapy faculty to form nonprofit practices to treat patients and provide clinical settings for students in the field.

The amendment will affect three Buffalo-area colleges and universities – Daemen, D'Youville College and the University at Buffalo – and 19 schools across New York. The change to the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law was passed in the State Legislature in a 164-0 vote.

State Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer and Assemblyman Ray Walter, both Amherst Republicans, who sponsored the legislation, discussed it Monday in the Research & Information Commons at Daemen, the college that initiated the amendment.

Edwin Clausen, president of Daemen, thanked the two lawmakers for pushing the legislation and believing in what the college wanted to achieve. "Without you, this never could have happened," he said.

Ranzenhofer said Daemen was the driving force in bringing about the change. "This was a long overdue piece of legislation," he said. "There was really no sound reason in that law for that loophole to exist."

The state senator said the amendment was beneficial for everyone – the students, the colleges and universities and the state.

"Today is a day of celebration," Ranzenhofer said. "It's not often you can introduce a bill and get it passed in that year."

Monday, Walter told the nearly 30 people at Daemen that the legislation will bring down the costs of health care. Michael S. Brogan, a physical therapist and vice president for academic affairs at Daemen, said the amendment will allow colleges to operate clinics to "serve those who are in need" and may be in an underserved area.

"Those people who have little insurance or no insurance may be able to seek physical therapy treatment through these types of clinics," Brogan said.

Daemen was awarded a $530,000 grant in February to open a Physical Therapy Wound Care Center in Cheektowaga. The legislation announced Monday will allow a physical therapy practice to be established at the center.

jharris@buffnews.com