In recent years, the physical therapy has become more and more extensive. How to schedule corresponding treatments efficiently in rehabilitation hospitals has attracted the attention of many scholars. A typical physical therapy treatment can be divided into three stages, i.e., the beginning, the treating and the ending. Moreover, only the beginning and the ending stages require a therapist. The treating stage does not. In addition, a physical therapy treatment requires to occupy a bed and an instrument related simultaneously. In order to solve challenging scheduling problems, a genetic algorithm based on Waiting Time Priority Algorithm (WTPA) is designed. Finally, an instance from the rehabilitation department in a hospital is tested. By comparing with the classical simulated annealing algorithm (SA), it verifies the effectiveness and efficiency of the genetic algorithm designed. Copyright © 2021 Published under licence by IOP Publishing Ltd.