Compliance Clock: PT Board moves to continue investigation of POPTS PTs -ARE YOU IN COMPLIANCE?

August 8, 2011

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On Wednesday August 3, at their quarterly board meeting, the Physical Therapy Licensing Board (PTBC) discussed their investigation and enforcement actions related to PTs working for medical corporations.  They heard testimony from the Department of Consumer Affairs, the California Orthopaedic Association, the California Physical Therapy Association, and the California Private Practice Group.

The Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA), which oversees the PTBC, testified that the PTBC should be patient, hold off on any enforcement action, and wait for a “legislative fix”.  DCA also opined that POPTS PTs have been “put into the position they are in”.  The DCA also testified that enforcement of this law should be a “low priority”.

Tim Shannon, lobbyist for the California Orthopaedic Association, whose comments are usually riddled with inaccuracies echoed the DCA’s comments and questioned the availability of funding to enforce the law.

Stoppopts is not surprised by their testimony and sees it as a consistent pattern of excuses intended to delay law enforcement and dismiss concerns regard public protection in favor of pandering to the pocketbooks of powerful special interests, whose members have been implicated in massive health care fraud.  Stoppopts is shocked that the proponents for an inherent conflict of interest would give such testimony in a public forum, especially since the meeting was broadcast on the Internet.  Many viewers have contacted the proponents of legal physical therapy services from across the nation, including higher-ups in Sacramento, Washington DC, and prominent members of the media, to voice their displeasure with this betrayal of the public’s trust.

Next to testify were those supporting law enforcement and public protection.  Dr. Paul Gaspar spoke on behalf of the California Private Practice Group, tax payers, and patients.  He dismissed the notion that POPTS PTs were put in their current position since they, in fact, chose their illegal and unethical employment arrangements.  He expressed his skepticism regarding a “legislative fix” because the legislature has rejected referral for profit PT three times in as many years.  Stoppopts does not believe you can fix a blatantly inherent conflict of interest.  It is Stoppopts opinion that the only reasonable “fix” is to treat it like a cancer, CUT IT OUT!  Finally, Dr. Gaspar pointed out that each day the law goes unenforced, the PTBC and DCA are favoring health care fraud and the illegal/unethical practice of PT over those PTs in good standing with the law who are in the process of losing their jobs or have already lost their jobs.

Doctor Jim Dagostino also commented on the lack of law enforcement.  He noted that no one expected the CPTA to win the recent legislative fight and indicated that law enforcement officials can no longer “kick the can down the road”.  He suggested that the PTBC continue their investigation process to a point near conclusion so that the law could be enforced in the near future if there is no “legislative fix”.  The PTBC seemed convinced by this suggestion and moved to continue the investigation process to a point near conclusion during the next few months.

The PTBC will meet again on November 2, 2011 in Newark.  At that time they will decide what, if any enforcement action to take against POPTS PTs who have not provided a plan to come into compliance with the laws related to PT employment.  Based on the testimony at the PTBC meeting, the CMA insinuation of lawsuit, and the rhetoric from the California Orthopaedic Association, Stoppopts expects there will be no “legislative fix” and reminds those working illegally for medical corporations that they have until September 1st to provide their plan of compliance.  The clock is ticking!

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