The First Try to Legalize “Kickbacks” – AB 1152

February 20, 2011

It all started in 2003 when the Moscone-Knox Act was adapted allowing ONLY naturopaths to employ physical therapists.  In 2009, the California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA), wanting to get in on the “kickbacks”, asked the Department of Consumer Affairs if it was possible to employ physical therapists.  The response from the Dept of Consumer Affairs was that the list of professionals that a medical corporation or a podiatric corporation can employ never included physical therapists.  Therefore, AB 1152 was introduced by Assembly person Joel Anderson.

On July 13th, 2009, bill AB 1152 was heard in the Senate Business and Professions Committee.  Click here for the AB 1152 analysis.

The podiatrists were quickly joined by the California Orthopedic Association (COA), California Medical Association (CMA) and the California Chiropratic Association (CCA) – again, all wanting jumping on the bandwagon in hopes that passage of this bill would formally legalize “kickbacks” from “referral for profit” clinics.

The California Physical Therapy Association (CPTA) opposed this bill citing the following reasons:

  1. This bill allows medical corporations to control the point of access to physical therapy services.
  2. CPTA argues that this practice poses an inherent conflict of interest.
  3. Removes choice for the consumer.
  4. Sets up an unfair competition with physical-therapist owned clinics and could cause many physical therapist-owned clinics to close their doors.
  5. Increases utilization
  6. Increases costs (if there is any doubt there, see our Red Kickback Clock in the right column).

The CPTA also offered an amendment to the bill:  Physical Therapy Corporations should be legalized with the option to allow physical therapists to employ doctors, chiropractors, podiatrists, and other health care providers. In simple terms, “If You Doctors Want to Own Us, We Want the Option to Own You!” The CMA, the CPMA, CCA didn’t go for it of course.

In the end, the Senate Business and Profession Committee, in its wisdom, voted 5 NO, 2 YES for the bill and it was defeated.

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