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Toni Talks about PT Today

Not Much of an Investigation

Published September 11, 2012 4:04 PM by Toni Patt

Several months ago, I described losing my job because I reported another therapist to the PT licensing board in Texas. To review, briefly I was sent to a facility by my contract company. When I arrived, I found the therapist I was replacing hadn't bothered to write notes for several weeks. I contacted company, expecting support. Instead I was told to not only ignore the situation but also not report it to the board. Last week I received a response.

According to the Executive Council of Physical Therapy and Occupational Examiners of Texas, the committee found no evidence of any violation of the practice act and closed the matter. It turns out the investigation consisted of the board contacting the accused therapist and asking him for a written response. Based on that response, a decision was made. Now I can't speak for everyone but if I'm accused of wrongdoing, especially if it affects my employment, I'm going to deny it. He did.

A copy of his response was included in what I received. He admitted to having missed a few notes because he was busy but wrote them immediately upon return. I bet he got writer's cramp since one chart was missing more than 20 notes. He also denied the tech was supervising patient, stating the clinic is small and the tech is always in line of sight. It doesn't matter if I'm looking right at someone; if that person is operating outside his scope of practice, it's still wrong. He omits a description of what that tech is doing in his line of sight.

Obviously the best way to investigate this would have been to send someone to the clinic to review charts. The accused therapist might have corrected the ones I referenced but a random audit might have turned up something different. When I was there I got the impression this was a chronic problem so going back a month or two might have been, and still would be, telling.

This whole situation is wrong in so many ways. According to the response, I'm the one with questionable ethics and morals for even suggesting such a thing. He references contacting the company who fired me for verification of his claim. I'm sure they provided it, as the owner is tight with someone on the board. Mind you, this is a company that brags about how ethical and honest it is, except it would seem when in danger of losing a contract.

Nor can such a serious claim be investigated by a letter. Really? What kind of response did they think they would get? The board doesn't seem to be taking this very seriously. If this is how complaints are investigated, I'm concerned about more serious allegations. Does anything rate a real investigation? It makes me wonder if there are people practicing in Texas who shouldn't be. If the board isn't policing us, who is?

This isn't the first event this year that has made me question my profession. I feel I should follow up but am now concerned I'll bring a level of hell onto my head. And I thought the evil empire was bad. People aren't going to report anything if they are made out to be the problem instead of the solution. The saddest part is, I will sooner or later cross paths with my old employer. I have lost all respect for them. I have nothing more to say but will say a prayer for them.

1 comments

Copying the notes would have verified your claim and protected the patients involved.  When reporting to the state boards about misconduct ensure you have hard evidence to support your allegations.  

Some states have an investigator for all people who are licensed whether they are a beautician, contractor or a therapist. The investigators are probably under time constraints to close cases and submit their findings to the board.

A note to the Office of Inspector General about the situation may solve some of the problems.

Jason Marketti September 13, 2012 1:01 AM

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