You are faced with a difficult decision when you become aware of a professional dispute or disciplinary hearing. You have spent your career providing excellent patient care, while abiding by the rules and regulations required of a physical therapist. Perhaps the complaint has come from a difficult patient, or is a simple misunderstanding. Your first instinct may be just to explain the situation, expecting the complaint to go away. Unfortunately, these disputes can easily take a turn, and you could find yourself defending your professional licensure.
A disciplinary proceeding could threaten your livelihood, your career, your reputation, and your entire life. It is important to take these situations seriously, but understand that if you take the appropriate actions early on, you will have the best chance to put this process behind you. Reaching out to a qualified professional license defense attorney as soon as you learn of an investigation will put you in the best position to defend your rights.
No-Obligation Case Assessment
I have represented physical therapists, and other medical professionals before disciplinary and licensing hearings for more than a decade. I have the experience and understanding to put you at ease, and help you through these difficult proceedings. The specific facts of your situation are important for me to understand before we can discuss your case. For this reason I offer a no-obligation consultation so that we can sit down, and go over all your options. After your assessment, you will leave with an understanding of how the proceedings work, what your options are going forward, the likelihood of success, and have all your questions or concerns answered. Understanding what's ahead will put your worst fears to rest, knowing that you are in good hands.
What to Expect
In Washington State, disciplinary proceedings involving physical therapists are governed by the Department of Health under their various boards and commissions. Once a complaint is filed, it will be investigated in order to determine whether there are grounds for action, and if the department has the authority to take such action.
If there is no cause for action, the case will be closed. However, if they find evidence of a violation, the case will be presented to a panel to further action against the therapist. Penalties for a professional violation could include fines, counseling, training, suspension or revocation of your license. Once you become aware of an investigation, you should consider speaking with an attorney specializing in representing physical therapists before ethical or disciplinary proceedings.
While this is intended to give you a general overview of what you might be facing, each case is unique based on the individual facts. During a no-obligation assessment, I will be able to fully analyze your case, and give you a clear understanding of what lies ahead. The earlier you speak with an experienced attorney, the more options you will have.
The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) acknowledges that when disputes arise, it may be impossible to know what a third party's final decision may be, and you should consider seeking advice of legal counsel to assist you with deciding how to proceed.
The scope of practice and licensing for Physical Therapists in Washington State are detailed here: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=18.74
For more information on the Washington State Department of Health complaint and disciplinary process: http://www.doh.wa.gov/LicensesPermitsandCertificates/FileComplaintAboutProviderorFacility