Protect Your Physical Therapy License in Indiana
Anyone whose job requires licensing can agree: a complaint against their license would be one of the most stressful and trying things that could happen in their professional life. This is especially true for those who hold a physical therapy license in Indiana.
As many can attest, physical therapists play an important and impactful role in the recovery of their patients. That’s thanks to extensive, costly education and training, as well as a passionate dedication to the job itself. However, all this hard work could go up in smoke the moment a single complaint is made against an Indiana physical therapy license.
If your physical therapy license in Indiana is at risk, you need to speak with an experienced Indianapolis attorney as soon as possible. No matter the severity of the complaint, or the validity of the allegations, it’s vital that you protect the investment you’ve made in your career and ensure that you can continue practicing for years to come.
If you’d like to speak with an Indiana physical therapist license lawyer today, contact Keffer Hirschauer LLP at 317-857-0160 or schedule a free case consultation using our online contact form. Our team of Indiana professional license defense attorneys understand the significance of your physical therapy license and have the license defense experience needed to protect your livelihood.
Requirements for Obtaining a Physical Therapy License in Indiana
Anyone who seeks to obtain a physical therapy license in Indiana must provide satisfactory evidence that they meet the qualifications set forth by the Indiana Physical Therapy Board in Indiana Code 25-27-1-6. This includes evidence that the potential applicant has no previous convictions for a crime that would have a direct bearing on the applicant’s ability to practice physical therapy in a competent manner and that they have not been the subject of a disciplinary action initiated by the licensing agency of another state or jurisdiction on the grounds that the applicant was unable to practice as a physical therapist without endangering the public.
If an applicant is denied licensure or certification due to lack of qualification, they may appeal the board’s decision within 15 days of receiving notification of the board’s decision. In turn, upon receiving an appeal the board shall set the matter for an administrative hearing under Indiana Code 4-21.5.
If qualified, per the description above, the applicant then must satisfy all of the requirements set forth in Indiana Code 25-27-1-6. As stated in this chapter, the first requirement that hopeful licensees must meet is the completion of their application, which is to be submitted on MyLicense.IN.gov. The applicant must also successfully pay the $100 application fee and provide proof of graduation from an accredited professional physical therapist education program that maintains standards equivalent to those adopted by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE).
Following the completion of the application, the applicant must submit to a national criminal history background check and submit proof of a passing score (a converted score of 75) on the Official National Physical Therapy Exam. This can be done via a score transfer report from the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT).
Indiana Physical Therapy Licensure and the Physical Therapy Compact
It’s important to note that Indiana is one of several dozen states that is a member of the Physical Therapy Compact. This agreement between member states allows licensed physical therapists to practice across state lines within the compact, subject to certain conditions and requirements.
In addition, the compact includes provisions for oversight, discipline, and information sharing among member states to ensure patient safety and quality of care. It is important to note that each state’s participation in the compact may have additional requirements and conditions beyond those outlined by the compact itself.
Legal Requirements for Maintaining Your Physical Therapy License in Indiana
Most of the laws regulating a physical therapy license in Indiana can be found in Indiana Code 25-27-1. This chapter outlines a variety of unlawful practices, prescribes standards of practice for physical therapists, and the possible penalties for any violations.
One of the primary legal requirements found in this chapter involves a physical therapist’s authority to practice. Under Indiana Code 25-27-1-2.5, any physical therapy treatment exceeding 42 calendar days must be based on an order from a licensed medical care provider, as described in Indiana Code 25-27-1-2(b). Furthermore, you could be subject to discipline if you are charged with a crime or face a civil suit for insurance claim, Medicare, or Medicaid fraud.
Physical therapists also may not allow their name or license to be used by another who provides service that is outside the scope of the other’s experience, training, and competence. For example, allowing or causing a physical therapist assistant or aide to perform functions that should only be performed by a licensed physical therapist can result in a professional complaint and discipline, including being charged with a Class B Misdemeanor, per Indiana Code 25-27-1-12.
Indiana Health Professions Standards of Practice
As required by Indiana Code 25-27-1-16 anyone who holds an Indiana physical therapy license must abide by the standards set forth in the Indiana Health Professions Standards of Practice, located in Indiana Code 25-1-9-4.
Under this set of standards, a person’s Indiana physical therapy license may be at risk if the Board deems them unfit to practice due to failure to keep up to date with current professional practices, professional incompetence, physical or mental disability, or addiction to drugs or alcohol. It’s also not uncommon for the Board to question a therapist’s fitness to practice following a conviction for a crime that directly impacts your professional competence or that could be considered injurious to the public.
One standard to take note of is the catch-all provision that prohibits physical therapists from “knowingly violating any state statute or rule, or federal statute or rule that regulates the profession.” This standard is up to interpretation, but the key word here is “knowingly.” The issue here is establishing the licensee’s state of mind, and whether they knew or should have known that they were in violation. Making this determination — or defending against an allegation regarding the licensee’s state of mind — requires refined legal strategy and litigation skills best left to experienced Indiana physical therapist license lawyers.
Suspension and/or Revocation of a Physical Therapy License in Indiana
If a complaint is made against a physical therapy license in Indiana, the licensee will likely be called in front of the Indiana Physical Therapy Board for a hearing. If the board ultimately finds that the evidence supports the allegations against the licensee, they may be subject to one or more disciplinary consequences. Per, Indiana Code 25-1-9-9, the possible sanctions include:
- Permanent revocation of a practitioner’s Indiana physical therapy license
- Suspension of a practitioner’s Indiana physical therapy license
- Censure by the Board
- Receipt of a written reprimand by the Board
- Civil penalty of not more than $1,000
The Importance of Hiring a Professional License Defense Attorney
Some of the prohibitions listed in the Standards of Practice are clearly intended to prevent physical therapists from harming their patients; and in some cases, even if the patient doesn’t allege that they have been harmed, the Board may still pursue discipline for failure to meet the Standards of Practice. However, as touched on earlier, some prohibitions are written rather broadly and can be open to interpretation. This is especially when it comes to whether the actions in question placed a patient in harm’s way or had a direct, negative impact on the physical therapist’s ability to practice competently; or the behavior, intent, or state of mind of the licensee.
Take, for example, a conviction of a first-time DUI in Indiana. If the board determines that this conviction has a direct bearing on the physical therapist’s ability to practice competently, their license could be at risk. But how this first-time DUI directly impacts the therapist’s ability to practice competently is sometimes debatable, which is why it is so important to have a qualified Indiana professional license defense attorney by your side during this time.
Need to Speak with an Indiana Physical Therapy License Lawyer?
Given the Indiana Physical Therapy Board’s one-sided authority over physical therapy licenses in Indiana, it’s vital that any licensee facing discipline retain the services of an Indiana physical therapist professional license attorney. If you choose to work with one of the Indiana professional license defense attorneys at Keffer Hirschauer LLP, we’ll make sure that you are not held to a standard that is stricter than what is provided under the law. Furthermore, we will fight for your license and career by ensuring a fair process, thorough investigation of the claims and analysis of the evidence, and robust and skillful argument of your position on the allegations.
If you’re facing a suspension of your physical therapy license in Indiana and want to speak with an experienced license defense attorney today, give us a call at 317-857-0160 or complete our online contact form to schedule a free consultation. Our attorneys are available to review the complaints made against you and help you understand the best path to take moving forward.