Monterey License Attorney


Physical Therapist

You have dedicated much time and resources to becoming a certified physical therapist. You have completed your college years, passed the National Physical Therapy Examination, and obtained a professional license. Your license is one of your most essential possessions since your ability to make a living depends on it. That is why putting it on the line with an allegation can be devastating and confusing, given the uncertainty of your future. You need a professional license defense attorney if you are under the Physical Therapy Board of California's investigation.

At Monterey License Attorney, we can answer your questions and represent your interests during every phase of disciplinary action, including investigations, appeals, and administrative hearings.

What Does a Physical Therapist Do?

As a physical therapist, you work with patients to improve their movement and manage their pain using individualized treatment plans. You use many techniques to help the patients, including stretching and strengthening exercises, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, ice/heat, crutches, walkers, wheelchairs, canes, and hands-on therapy.

You work with patients of all ages suffering from fractures, neck and back injuries, sprains, stains, amputations, arthritis, sports- or work-related injuries, injuries resulting from accidents, and neurological disorders. The treatment you choose depends on your patient and their injury. For example, a patient desiring to recover lost mobility following a stroke requires care different from those recovering from sports injuries.

Physical therapists also help patients improve or maintain mobility by developing wellness and fitness programs encouraging healthy and active lifestyles.

The other duties of a physical therapist include the following:

  • Reviewing patients’ medical records and notes or referrals from other medical practitioners.
  • Diagnosing patients’ movements and functions by observing them walk or stand and by listening to their concerns.
  • Developing patients’ individualized care plans, highlighting their goals and the expected outcome.
  • Advising patients on what to expect during the recovery process and how to cope with challenges.
  • Analyzing and recording patients’ progress, modifying the treatment plan, and trying new treatment options as required.

Violations that Can Cause a PT to Face Disciplinary Action

The Physical Therapy Board of California aims to protect patients and the general public and ensure the services PTs offer in California are second to none. The board holds all physical therapists in the state liable under the Physical Therapy Practice Act, the Business and Professions Code, and other regulations to ensure the practice is safe and competent.

To achieve its mandate, the board restricts professional licenses issued, suspends/revokes existing licenses, and imposes probation, among other disciplinary actions. The board will initiate the disciplinary process when a complaint is brought against a certified PT. A patient, colleague, or any other person who feels you engaged in a violation can bring the complaint. The PTBC ( Physical Therapy Board of California) can also initiate an investigation if you are convicted of an offense.

Violations that can result in disciplinary action include the following:

  • A conviction, particularly if it is associated with your practice.
  • Using fraud to obtain your professional license.
  • Engaging in insurance fraud by charging your patients or clients for services you did not offer.
  • Charging or paying for referrals.
  • False or misleading advertising.
  • You suffer from substance abuse or an addiction.
  • Engaging in sexual misconduct with patients or clients.
  • Engaging in verbal abuse or sexual harassment while providing PT services.
  • Suffering from a physical or mental condition, making it challenging to offer professional PT services.
  • Violation of license probation terms.
  • Maintaining poor client records, falsifying or altering client information.
  • Failing or refusing to provide the relevant medical records.
  • Revealing patients’ details by failing to comply with confidentiality guidelines.
  • Hiring uncertified or unqualified employees.
  • Failing to adhere to the laid down chemical control procedures.

What Occurs When an Individual Files a Complaint Against You with the Board?

Upon receiving a complaint, the Consumer Protection Services Program will determine if the allegation is within the board’s jurisdiction. After establishing the jurisdiction, the following happens:

  • The complaint against you is recognized within ten days of receipt, and the board reviews the accusation to determine the following:
  1. Kind of complaint.
  2. If more details are needed about the allegation.
  3. If patients’ medical histories, records, and other pertinent materials are essential.
  • If the accusation involves patients’ healthcare, the complaint and medical records will be forwarded to a consultant to determine billing fraud, incompetence, negligence, and aiding and abetting.
  • If the accusation warrants an investigation, the board will forward your complaint to the Department of Consumer Affairs, Division of Investigation. Then, the Division of Investigation will submit its findings to the licensing board for analysis and suitable actions.
  • If there is a violation:
  1. It should be supported by persuasive evidence before being forwarded to the Office of the Attorney General to bring an administrative action against you.
  2. If a criminal violation is found, the DOI will bring a complaint to the District Attorney’s Office.
  3. If you committed a less egregious violation, you risk facing a citation.
  4. If a violation is not proven, your matter will be resolved, and the complainant will be informed.

Possible Disciplinary Actions

While probation, suspension, or revocation are the main disciplinary actions, they are not the only possibilities.

Issuing Citations

The board can issue a citation under Business and Professional Code 15.9 as an alternative to address a minor violation, not warranting discipline. Citations improve the efficacy of PTBC’s consumer process by offering a way to address less severe offenses. After the board issues a citation, you can:

  • Pay a fine or abide by an Order of Abatement, and your case will be resolved.
  • Request an administrative hearing to appeal the citation.
  • Request an informal conference to determine whether the citation can be affirmed, dismissed, or modified.

Failing to pay the required fine can lead to disciplinary action.

Public Reprovals and Reprimands

Business and Professional Code 495 requires the licensing board to reprove a PT for conduct constituting grounds for professional license revocation or suspension. The board can consider this disciplinary act if one of the circumstances below exists:

  • The crime is an isolated occurrence.
  • You have not been previously disciplined for a similar violation.
  • You were remorseful.
  • You admitted to committing the crime.
  • In a case of a substance abuse-related offense, you have actively participated in recovery programs for more than a year without relapsing.

Instead of prosecuting or bringing a formal allegation against you, BPC 2660.3 requires the PTBC, upon your agreement or stipulation, to issue a public letter of reprimand following an inspection or investigation. Typically, the public letter of reprimand can include paying the investigative cost and completing specified education or training.

Terms and Conditions of Probation

Discussed below are the conditions imposed in every probation case:

  • License suspension — The Board will suspend your license if you are found guilty of the charge.
  • Recovery of Costs — The court will require you to refund the licensing board the verified costs and reasonable prosecutorial and investigative costs the PTBC incurs.
  • Comply with all laws — You should obey every local, state, and federal law, statute, and regulation governing physical therapists and fully adhere to any probation order.
  • Complying with court orders — You should obey all court orders. Contempt of a court order is considered a probation violation.
  • Quarterly reports — You should provide quarterly reports, per penalty of perjury. Remember to disclose whether you complied with the probation conditions.
  • It would help if you obeyed PTBC’s probation monitoring program.
  • Engaging in an interview with the PTBC’s probation monitor or an assignee — You should appear physically or in a form designated by the Board’s Probation Monitor whenever requested.
  • Notifying employers of your probationary status — You shall inform all current and potential employers of your probation conditions and their grounds.
  • Prohibited use of false names — You shall not use assumed names and should not use any name not legally identified or resulting from a lawful name change.
  • Maintaining a valid license — During probation, you should keep a valid, current professional license with the PTBC, even when your license is suspended or probation is tolled.
  • Completing probation — You shall abide by every financial obligation within 180 calendar days before completing probation unless otherwise stated in the Decision and Order. After completing probation successfully, you will get a full reinstatement.
  • Costs of probation monitoring — You should pay the costs PTBC incurs to monitor you throughout the entire probation period. You will receive a quarterly debit. You should pay these costs directly to the licensing board. Failure to reimburse the costs within sixty days after being billed violates your probation order. Your license shall suffer a lack of reinstatement or renewal if you cannot refund the required probation monitoring costs.

Why Seek Legal Representation?

A professional license defense attorney is committed to defending professionals and their sources of income. They can help you at different stages of your case, including applications for licensing, defense of Accusations, Petitions for reinstatement or termination of probation, investigations conducted by the licensing board, and appeals.

A defense lawyer ensures you receive a favorable outcome during a disciplinary proceeding in the following ways:

Evaluating the Charges You Are Facing

By law, the licensing board should give you adequate information to build your defense against your allegations. Your defense attorney can assess the accusation that forms the basis of the disciplinary case.

Petitioners, in some instances, overplay accusations against the respondent. For example, a disgruntled client could formally complain and have you reprimanded.

Your attorney can assess the presumed facts and analyze whether the available witnesses and evidence strengthen or refute the complaint. Depending on their investigations, you and your attorney could develop a practical plan to handle the disciplinary hearing and fight for your future, career, and livelihood.

Guarantee an Unbiased Process

While preparing your defense to respond to the accusation, your attorney will ensure you get due process. Procedural rules guide licensing boards when conducting a disciplinary hearing. Your experienced attorney can confine the licensing board to those stipulated rules, protecting your rights.

Developing a Defense Strategy

At Monterey Professional License Defense Attorneys, our legal team can review the appropriate action plan by assessing your case facts and taking a proactive, aggressive, and understanding approach.

Based on the circumstances of your case, your defense plan of action can include the following:

  • Arranging a consultative meeting with the PTBC’s investigating officer or Deputy Attorney General to provide proof to either deny the accusation that improper conduct happened or lessen the severity of the punishment.
  • Retaining an investigator to cross-examine witnesses, issue subpoenas relating to relevant documents, secure computer data, and assess the scene of evidence;
  • Create a rehabilitation action plan for chemical reliance issues, which can consist of a psychological assessment and chemical tests to eliminate any dependency on chemicals or, where necessary, suggest counseling to deal with any substance abuse matters, which eventually can mitigate accusations with the PTBC.
  • Establishing an emotional and mental recovery package — Sometimes in life, you experience tragic loss, domestic abuse, depression, or stress for a prolonged period. In these cases, the PT does not require punishment by the board. Instead, they need a recommendation or referral to consult a qualified counselor who can help them develop an effective coping and recovery strategy.
  • Helping the PT compile the correct mitigation records to obtain a rehabilitation plan and prepare for the hearing.

Assisting You in Recovering Your License

You will seek license reinstatement and resume work after facing the repercussions of your penalty.

If the board sets an expiration date for your punishment, you could automatically have your license back after the period expires. If you should file an appeal to the board to remove the suspension, your knowledgeable defense lawyer will guide you accordingly throughout the reinstatement process.

Find a Knowledgeable Professional License Defense Lawyer Near Me

As a physical therapist, you play a significant role in assisting patients in alleviating pain, gaining mobility, and improving their general health following an accident or injury. Obtaining your PT professional license takes numerous years of financial investment and hard work. Nonetheless, you risk losing your license if a patient brings a complaint against you or you make a wrong decision on the job. At Monterey License Attorney, we can assist you in fighting for your rights and livelihood. Our experienced legal team understands what you are going through and the formal proceedings and disciplinary actions that follow a complaint against a PT. We can collect and analyze evidence about complaints and accusations brought against you to develop the most effective defense strategy and obtain the most favorable case outcome.

Please contact us at 831-296-1191 to learn how we can help you. 

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