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North Carolina Physical Therapy Unprofessional Conduct

Unlawful Practice

Except as otherwise authorized in this act, if any person, firm, or corporation shall:

  • Practice, attempt to practice, teach, consult, or supervise in physical therapy, or hold out any person as being able to do any of these things in this State, without first having obtained a license or authorization from the Board for the person performing services or being so held out;
  • Use in connection with any person's name any letters, words, numerical codes, or insignia indicating or implying that the person is a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant, or applicant with "Graduate" status, unless the person is licensed or authorized in accordance with this Article;
  • Practice or attempt to practice physical therapy with a revoked, lapsed, or suspended license;
  • Practice physical therapy and fail to refer to a licensed medical doctor or dentist any patient whose medical condition should have, at the time of evaluation or treatment, been determined to be beyond the scope of practice of a physical therapist;
  • Aid, abet, or assist any unlicensed person to practice physical therapy in violation of this Article; or
  • Violate any of the provisions of this Article; said person, firm, or corporation shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined or imprisoned, or both fined and imprisoned, in the discretion of the court. Each act of such unlawful practice shall constitute a distinct and separate offense.

Grounds for Disciplinary Action

Grounds for disciplinary action shall include but not be limited to the following:

  • The employment of fraud, deceit or misrepresentation in obtaining or attempting to obtain a license, or the renewal thereof;
  • The use of drugs or intoxicating liquors to an extent which affects professional competency;
  • Conviction of an offense under any municipal, State, or federal narcotic or controlled substance law, until proof of rehabilitation can be established;
  • Conviction of a felony or other' public offense involving moral turpitude, until proof of rehabilitation can be established;
  • An adjudication of insanity or incompetency, until proof of recovery from the condition can be established;
  • Engaging in any act or practice violative of any of the provisions of this Article or of any of the rules and regulations adopted by the Board, or aiding, abetting or assisting any other person in the violation of the same;
  • The commission of an act or acts of malpractice, gross negligence or incompetence in the practice of physical therapy;
  • Practice as a licensed physical therapist or physical therapist assistant without a valid certificate of renewal;
  • Engaging in conduct that could result in harm or injury to the public.

Behaviors and activities that may result in disciplinary action by the Board include the following:

  • Recording false or misleading data, measurements, or notes regarding a patient;
  • Delegating responsibilities to a person when the licensee delegating knows or has reason to know that the competency of that person is impaired by physical or psychological ailments, or by alcohol or other pharmacological agents, prescribed or not;
  • Practicing or offering to practice beyond the scope permitted by law;
  • Accepting and performing professional responsibilities which the licensee knows or has reason to know that he or she is not competent to perform;
  • Performing, without adequate supervision as described in the rules in this Chapter, professional services that the licensee is authorized to perform only under the supervision of a licensed professional, except in an emergency situation where a person's life or health is in danger;
  • Harassing, abusing, inappropriately touching, or intimidating a patient either physically or verbally;
  • Failure to exercise supervision over persons who are authorized to practice only under the supervision of the licensed professional;
  • Promoting an unnecessary device, treatment intervention, nutritional supplement, product, or service for the financial gain of the practitioner or of a third party as determined by the investigative committee;
  • Offering, giving, soliciting, receiving, or agreeing to receive any fee or other consideration to or from a third party for the referral of a client;
  • Failure to file a report, filing a false report, or failure to respond to an inquiry from the Board within thirty (30) days from the date of issuance or impeding or obstructing such filing or inducing another person to do so;
  • Revealing identifiable data, or information obtained in a professional capacity, without prior consent of the patient, except as authorized or required by law;
  • Guaranteeing that a patient will benefit from the performance of professional services;
  • Altering a license or renewal card by changing any information appearing thereon;
  • Using a license or renewal card that has been altered;
  • Permitting or allowing another person to use his or her license or renewal card for the practice of physical therapy;
  • Delegating professional responsibilities to a person when the licensee delegating such responsibilities knows or has reason to know that such a person is not qualified by training, by experience, or by licensure to perform such responsibilities;
  • Violating any term of probation, condition, or limitation imposed on the licensee by the Board;
  • Soliciting or engaging in any activities of a sexual nature, including kissing, fondling, or touching any person while the person is under the care of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant;
  • Billing or charging for services or treatment not performed; (20) making treatment recommendations or basing a patient's continued treatment on the extent of third party benefits instead of the patient's condition;
  • Willfully or intentionally communicating false or misleading information regarding a patient;
  • Harassing, abusing, or intimidating any person, either physically or verbally, while engaged in the practice of physical therapy;
  • Using a form of a license or renewal card that was not issued by the Board or is not current;
  • Failing to record patient data within a reasonable period of time following evaluation, assessment, or intervention;
  • Failing to pay the costs of investigation or otherwise to comply with an order of discipline;
  • Failing to maintain legible patient records that contain an evaluation of objective findings, a diagnosis, a plan of care including desired outcomes, the treatment record including all elements of 21 NCAC 48C .0102(l) or 21 NCAC 48C .0201(f), a discharge summary or episode of care including the results of the intervention, and sufficient information to identify the patient and the printed name and title of each person making an entry in the patient record;
  • Charging fees not supported by documentation in the patient record;
  • Furnishing false or misleading information on an application for licensure and licensure renewal; and
  • Engaging in misrepresentation or deceit or exercising undue influence over a patient or former patient for the financial gain of the licensee.


N.C. Gen. Stat. § 90-270.36

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 90-270.35

21 NCAC 48G .0601

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