4755-27-05 Code of ethical conduct for physical therapists and physical therapist assistants.

An individual licensed by the physical therapy section has a responsibility to report any organization or entity that provides or holds itself out to deliver physical therapy services that places the licensee in a position of compromise with this code of ethical conduct.

(A) Ethical integrity.

Licensees shall use the provisions contained in paragraphs (A) (1) to (A)(10) of this rule as guidelines for promoting ethical integrity and professionalism. Failure to comply with paragraphs (A)(1) to (A)(10) of this rule may be grounds for disciplinary action pursuant to section 4755.47 of the Revised Code and in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code.

(1) A licensee shall respect the rights and dignity of all patients and provide compassionate care as described in paragraphs (A)(1)(a) and (A)(1)(b) of this rule.

(a) A licensee shall recognize individual differences with patients and shall respect and be responsive to those differences.

(b) A licensee shall be guided by concern for the physical, psychosocial, and socioeconomic welfare of patients.

(2) A licensee shall exercise sound judgment and act in a trustworthy manner in all aspects of physical therapy practice. Regardless of practice setting, the physical therapist shall maintain the ability to make independent judgments. A licensee shall strive to effect changes that benefit patients.

(3) A licensee shall only seek compensation that is reasonable for the physical therapy services delivered. A licensee shall never place the licensee's own financial interests above the welfare of the licensee's patients. A licensee, regardless of the practice setting, shall safeguard the public from unethical and unlawful business practices.

(4) A licensee shall not intentionally or knowingly offer to pay or agree to accept any compensation, directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, to or from any person or entity for receiving or soliciting patients or patronage, regardless of the source of the compensation.

(5) A licensee shall not influence a patient or the patient's family to utilize, purchase, or rent any equipment based on the direct or indirect financial interests of the licensee. Recommendations of equipment must be based solely on the therapeutic value of that equipment to the patient. A licensee who owns or has a direct financial interest in an equipment or supply company must disclose the financial interest to the patient if the licensee sells or rents, or intends to sell or rent, to the patient.

(6) A licensee shall ensure the patient's rights to participate fully in their care, including the patient's right to select the physical therapy provider, regardless of the practice setting.

(7) A licensee shall respect the rights, knowledge, and skills of colleagues and other health care professionals.

(8) A licensee shall safeguard the public from underutilization or overutilization of physical therapy services.

(9) A licensee shall provide accurate and relevant information to patients about the patients' care and to the public about physical therapy services.

(10) A licensee shall report to the physical therapy section any unprofessional, incompetent, or illegal behavior of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant of which the licensee has knowledge.

(B) Ethical conduct.

Ethical conduct includes conforming to the minimal standards of acceptable and prevailing physical therapy practice. Conduct may be considered unethical regardless of whether or not actual injury to a patient occurred. Failure to comply with paragraphs (B)(1) to (B)(15) of this rule may be grounds for disciplinary action pursuant to section 4755.47 of the Revised Code and in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code.

(1) A licensee shall adhere to the standards of ethical practice by practicing in a manner that is moral and honorable. A licensee may be disciplined for violating any provision contained in division (A) of section 4755.47 of the Revised Code.

(2) A licensee shall not cheat or assist others in conspiring to cheat on the national physical therapy examination or the state jurisprudence examination.

(3) An individual shall not practice physical therapy without a valid license, or without holding student status, including:

(a) Practicing physical therapy while an individual's license is suspended or revoked.

(b) Practicing physical therapy with an expired license or when no longer enrolled as a student in an accredited entry level physical therapy educational program.

(4) A licensee shall obtain informed consent from the patient.

(a) A licensee, unless otherwise allowed by law, shall not provide patient care without disclosing to the patient or the patient's representative, the benefits, substantial risks, if any, or alternatives to the recommended examination or intervention.

(b) Information relating to the therapist-patient relationship is confidential and may not be communicated to a third party not involved in that patient's care without the prior written consent of the patient or the patient's representative, or unless otherwise allowed by law. Information must be disclosed when required by law for the protection of the patient or the public.

(5) A licensee shall adhere to the minimal standards of acceptable prevailing practice. Failure to adhere to minimal standards of practice, whether or not actual injury to a patient occurred, includes, but is not limited to:

(a) Failing to assess and evaluate a patient's status;

(b) Performing or attempting to perform techniques, procedures, or both in which the licensee is untrained by education or experience;

(c) Delegating physical therapy functions or responsibilities to an individual lacking the ability or knowledge to perform the function or responsibility in question;

(d) Causing, or permitting another person to cause, physical or emotional injury to the patient, or depriving the patient of the individual's dignity;

(e) Providing treatment interventions that are not warranted by the patient's condition or continuing treatment beyond the point of reasonable benefit to the patient.

(f) Practicing in a pattern of negligent conduct, which means a continued course of negligent conduct or of negligent conduct in performing the duties of the profession.

(g) Providing substandard care as a physical therapist assistant by exceeding the authority to perform components of physical therapy interventions selected by the supervising physical therapist or through a deliberate or negligent act or failure to act, whether or not actual injury to any person occurred.

(h) Abandoning the patient by inappropriately terminating the patient practitioner relationship by the licensee.

(i) Documenting or billing for services not actually provided.

(6) A licensee shall not engage in conduct that constitutes harassment or verbal or physical abuse of, or unlawful discrimination against, patients, students and/or colleagues.

(7) A licensee shall not engage in any sexual relationship or conduct, including dating, with any patient, or engage in any conduct that may reasonably be interpreted by the patient to be sexual, whether consensual or nonconsensual, while a therapist-patient relationship exists.

(a) A licensee shall not intentionally expose or view a completely or partially disrobed patient in the course of treatment if the exposure or viewing is not related to the patient diagnosis or treatment under current practice standards.

(b) A licensee shall not engage in a conversation with a patient that is sexually explicit and unrelated to the physical therapy plan of care.

(8) A licensee shall not engage in sexual harassment of patients, students, and/or colleagues. Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to, making unwelcome sexual advances, requesting sexual favors, and engaging in other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that results in:

(a) Withholding physical therapy services to a patient;

(b) Creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment; or

(c) Interfering with the patient's ability to recover.

(9) A licensee shall not falsify, alter, or destroy patient/client records, medical records, or billing records without authorization. The licensee shall maintain accurate patient and/or billing records.

(10) A licensee shall not practice physical therapy while the ability to practice is impaired by alcohol, controlled substances, narcotic drugs, physical disability, mental disability, or emotional disability. If a licensee's or applicant's ability to practice is in question, the licensee shall submit to a physical or mental examination or drug/alcohol screens as requested by the physical therapy section to determine the applicant's or licensee's qualifications to practice physical therapy.

(11) A licensee shall not obtain, attempt to obtain, or deliver medications through means of misrepresentation, fraud, forgery, deception, and/or subterfuge.

(12) A licensee shall transfer the continuum of care of the patient, as appropriate, to another health care provider in the event of elective termination of physical therapy services by the licensee.

(13) A licensee shall not aid, abet, authorize, condone, or allow the practice of physical therapy by any person not legally authorized to provide services.

(14) A licensee shall not permit another person to use an individual's wall certificate, pocket identification card, license number, or national provider identifier, as defined in section 4755.56 of the Revised Code, for any illegal purpose.

(15) A licensee shall not misrepresent the credential, title, and/or specialty certifications held by the licensee.

(C) Cooperation.

In accordance with division (A)(24) of section 4755.47 of the Revised Code, licensees shall cooperate with an investigation by the physical therapy section. Failure to cooperate is conduct detrimental to the best interest of the public and grounds for disciplinary action. Cooperation includes responding fully and promptly to any questions raised by the physical therapy section and providing copies of the medical records and other documents requested by the physical therapy section. Failure to comply with paragraphs (C)(1) to (C)(7) of this rule may be grounds for disciplinary action pursuant to section 4755.47 of the Revised Code and in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code.

(1) A licensee shall respond fully and truthfully to a request for information from the physical therapy section.

(2) A licensee shall comply with a subpoena issued by the physical therapy section.

(3) A licensee shall provide information or document within the time frame specified by the physical therapy section.

(4) A licensee shall appear and provide information at an interview requested by the physical therapy section.

(5) A licensee shall not deceive, or attempt to deceive, the physical therapy section regarding any matter, including by altering or destroying any record or document.

(6) A licensee shall not interfere with an investigation or disciplinary proceeding by willful misrepresentation of facts before the agency or the physical therapy section, or by use of threats or harassment against any patient or witness to prevent the patient or witness from providing evidence in a disciplinary proceeding or any other legal action.

(7) A licensee shall not refuse to provide testimony in an administrative hearing.

R.C. 119.032 review dates: 02/04/2014 and 02/04/2019
Promulgated Under: 119.03
Statutory Authority: 4755.411
Rule Amplifies: 4755.47
Prior Effective Dates: 3/20/08, 5/1/09