I am receiving more and more reports about physiotherapists sending patients for personal training or Pilates and enabling patients to submit receipts for these services under the physiotherapist’s registration number. Guess what? In many cases this is inappropriate and you could get in serious trouble.
The ONLY time that your credentials can be used to bill for physiotherapy is when the treatment is truly physiotherapy and it has been provided by you or by someone acting as your assistant.
There are cases where a patient presents with a health problem that requires a supervised exercise problem as part of a physiotherapy treatment plan. In such situations, the exercise program can be a legitimate element of the physiotherapy care.
The physio might manage the exercise program directly or might have someone else manage that part of the patient’s care. The minute that someone else is managing a part of a physiotherapy treatment plan on behalf of a physiotherapist, they are acting as a physiotherapy assistant.
It doesn’t matter if they are a registered kinesiologist, an athletic therapist or a personal trainer: all of the requirements of the standard for Physiotherapists Working with Physiotherapist Support Personnel apply.
Does the College really take these cases seriously? Ask the three physiotherapists who’ve been to Discipline in the past 14 months for failure to meet the standard of care for the use of assistants in their work with personal trainers or athletic therapists. Ask the handful of physiotherapists who are presently under investigation for referring their healthy patients to gyms and Pilates classes and billing their sessions as preventative physiotherapy.
Every one of you who uses your credentials as a way of getting free non-physiotherapy services for your patients is undermining the credibility of the profession.
I know that your patients ask for it. That doesn’t make it right.
Council approved a new draft Standard for consultation called Physiotherapists Working with Assistants at its last meeting.
Read it. Think about it. Let us know if you think it needs to be changed before it’s made final. Watch your inbox and the website for a chance to tell us what you think about the changes and additions over the coming weeks.
And if you know a physiotherapist who is not meeting the Standard – do them a favour and send them the link or make them a copy of it – get them to read it before they read their name on the Discipline page of our website.