Physical Therapy Board To Be Audited Over Complaint Handling

California Assemblymember, Mary Hayashi (D-Hayward), last week requested the Joint Legislative Audit Committee audit the Physical Therapy Board of California (PTBC).

In a letter written in May, Hayashi asked for an investigation into the relationship between the PTBC and professional organizations within the profession, as well as the board’s handling of complaints against physical therapists.

The California Physical Therapy Association (CPTA), which represents physical therapists, says it will cooperate with the Physical Therapy Board of California, if asked.

“As charged by the Legislature, the PTBC is responsible for protecting the public and consumers from the unprofessional, incompetent and criminal practice of physical therapy. Although CPTA is not always in agreement with the PTBC, our organization fully understands and respects the authority of the PTBC and its mission to protect consumers and enforce the law.”
- Dr. James Syms, PT, DSc, ATC, SCS, CPTA President

The cost of the audit, scheduled to be completed by spring 2012, is estimated to be almost $190,000.

physical therapy associationDr. Syms said “CPTA believes compliance with California laws and regulations is a critical responsibility of any state licensing board and the decision to audit a licensing board should be taken extremely seriously to ensure the audit is being performed in the public’s interest and not to intimidate or influence the actions taken by a board or its staff.”

In June 2011, Hayashi proposed the legislation “Physician Self Referral for Profit” bill (AB 783), that died in Committee. CPTA believes her decision to request the audit may have been largely based on policymakers’ vote against her proposed bill.

Because the Moscone-Knox Act prohibits medical and podiatric corporations from employing physical therapists, the PTBC has a responsibility to alert physical therapists to examine their employment relationships.

It has been suggested that a small number, perhaps around two percent of California physical therapists are employed illegally by medical and podiatric corporations. Assembly Member Hayashi’s thinks many more, perhaps thousands of physical therapists will be impacted if the current law is enforced.

The California Physical Therapy Association says it serves members and assists non-members to comply with the current law, which prohibits medical and podiatric corporations from employing physical therapists. Dr. Syms says the association is interested in reviewing the audit report next spring.

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