I know that many states have made it illegal for any doctor to employ physical therapists. How many states is it legal in? I am currently doing my affil in Georgia and I have heard many PTs complaining about this. The PT will refer the patient to an orthopedic and the MD in turn refers the patient to his own therapist. Sometimes the patients aren't even informed that they have a choice of clinics, they are just told that they have to go to their physical therapist because then the MD can keep better up to date on their progress. I was just curious as to what the law actually states, and what states have a law against it. Thanks
Joined: August 25, 2000
Hello, Here is info from the APTA website. This topic is not new. Its been happening for a while. See below
"Emerging Issues Worksheet
Issue: POPTS/Self-Referral/Incident To
Background: More accurately described as a ?re-emerging issue,? the challenges associated with physician referrals for physical therapy services to entities in which they have a financial interest are not new. However, recent member surveys indicate a resurgence in the growth of physician owned PT services and recently issued Stark II regulations only served to broaden the exceptions to the self-referral prohibition.
In response to actions taken by the APTA House of Delegates last year, a seven-member task force was formed to secure enactment of federal and state laws and regulations to prohibit physician ownership of PT services and to respond to the spread of POPTS arrangements. The task force formulated a strategic plan and has begun developing initiatives and resources to address various aspects of the POPTS problem, including a comprehensive resource manual, a ?Take Action Packet? for Component legislative activities, a ?survival kit? to assist practitioners confronted with POPTS arrangements, conducting additional research on the impact of POPTS, and providing syllabus information to PT education programs to teach students about professional autonomy and control of PT practice.
A recent Attorney General?s opinion in South Carolina has sparked new opportunities and challenges by declaring that the state PT practice act prohibits physical therapists from being employed by physicians. The South Carolina experience will offer new insights into legislative, regulatory, and legal strategies in combating POPTS ? including the hiring of unqualified personnel to provide ?incident to? services under the physicians? direction. The HHS Office of Inspector General is expected to issue a compelling report that could raise new questions and concerns about the use of unqualified personnel in physician practices.
Facilitator Questions for the Group
Results from membership surveys indicate that physical therapists confronted by POPTS care passionately about the issue, while those in other settings are less interested. Is APTA giving appropriate priority to the POPTS issue, or should the Association be focusing resources on other issues?
Do the POPTS Strategic Plan and initiatives of the POPTS Task Force address the key priorities and objectives for combating POPTS? Are there other objectives and activities that should be given higher priority?
What membership issues and concerns are likely to arise from efforts such as those of South Carolina to prohibit physicians from hiring PTs? What can APTA do to help address these issues?
Possible Policy Position:
APTA has very clear policy seeking to prohibit physician ownership of physical therapy services, support strengthening of self-referral prohibition laws, and prohibit physicians from employing unqualified personnel to provide ?incident to? services."