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  • Can I Get a Do-Over? 11 Business Practice Regrets from Real PTs

    Aug 14, 2019

    We all have regrets in life… you might regret eating that third piece of pizza, staying up too late or even some of your career choices.

    Reflection is important but by identifying areas of potential regret, and getting ahead of them, you may avoid some mistakes all together.

    A group of physiotherapists recently chatted with the College’s Practice Advisor about their own professional regrets and shared 11 important lessons that they learned along the way.


    The Registrar was concerned about the business practices of seven physiotherapists who worked at the same (now closed) practice and invited them to the College to meet with the Practice Advisor to discuss the concerns and what good practice looks like.

    The session covered the following standards and resources:

    • Working with Physiotherapist Assistants Standard
    • Fees, Billing and Accounts Standard
    • Record Keeping Standard
    • Consent
    • Starting a New Job Checklist
    • Leaving a Practice Checklist

    The physiotherapists discussed many professional regrets and offered to share them with others so they could benefit from their learnings.

    Before starting a new job:

    "I should have checked with PT peers about the clinic’s reputation. I didn’t know any other PTs in Ontario, but I could have called and talked with people who worked at the clinic to get an idea of what it was like. Knowing what I know now, PTs came and went pretty fast."

    "I wish I had looked at the clinic advertising on their website or researched the clinic before starting. Their online presence suggested their low level of commitment to professionalism and I would have been able to spot bad business practices before I started."

    "I wish I had clearly communicated with the employer around the terms and conditions of billing using my name and registration number. I could have shown the employer (who was not a PT) a copy of the College standard and explained that I must meet those expectations."

    "I wish I had reviewed the contract and had in writing an agreement from the employer that I need to have routine access to any billing and accounts using my registration number and that any errors or billing irregularities will be corrected. I should have been concerned that I was only going in for assessments twice a month."

    "I was new to practice and it took me a few weeks to realize that I was not meeting my professional obligations, particularly the supervision requirements for working with physiotherapist assistants. I lost my autonomy to decide what to assign and when to reassess patients. I was encouraged to keep patients on too long."

    "I hope others take time to discuss the employer’s expectations for PTs when working with assistants and ensure you maintain the ability to make patient-led decisions for quality care. There may be a power imbalance if the PTA is also the clinic owner or manager. It should have been a red flag when the employer insisted that all patient care was assigned to assistants and they would not allow a reassessment until three months had passed."

    Once you have started your position:

    "I regret not starting a peer group to review the standards and discuss concerns. I was so socially isolated and scared. Support from PTs in a group is social and fun. It keeps you engaged and motivates you to continuously meet the standards."

    "I know now to routinely check a selection of invoices for physiotherapy care or products billed using my registration number. I know to keep a written record of the reviews, any errors I discovered and how they were corrected."

    Other general advice:

    "Ask about mentorship opportunities. The benefit of peer mentorship to career development and professional satisfaction cannot be stressed enough. If these opportunities don’t exist it may be an indicator of the type of employer they are. I worked alone, no mentorship and ended up making mistakes."

    "Carve time in your day for proper record keeping. If an assessment and treatment plan is properly documented, it reflects quality physiotherapy care. If the care (who did what and when) is not recorded, a College Committee or lawyer is likely to argue that the care was NOT provided."

    "If you decide to leave a practice, tell the employer (verbally and in writing) to stop using your registration number after you leave. You can check if any automobile insurance is billed using your information by emailing the College and requesting a report."

    Protect Yourself Against Bad Business Practices

    Remember to always Google a clinic before you start working there and if you’re being offered an overly generous salary to do assessments only, it’s probably too good to be true. Don’t get caught up in the money and essentially sell your name and registration number to the facility owner.

    And keep in mind that once you get delisted by an insurance company it’s almost impossible to reverse that decision.

    Questions or Need to Talk?

    Contact the Practice Advice team for free, confidential advice at 1-800-583-5885 ext. 241 or

    Ask the Practice Advisor

    Full story
    • registration number
    • billing
    • business practices
    • treatment
    • assessment
    • clinic owner
    • physiotherapy
    • physiotherapist
    • Delisted
    • business
    • Fraud
  • Five Steps to Minimize the Risk of Infection

    Jul 15, 2019
    Full story
    • protective equipment
    • hand washing
    • public health
    • equipment maintenance
    • infection prevention
    • infection control
  • Patients and Mental Health: Let’s Keep the Conversation Going

    May 08, 2019
    Key take-aways for physiotherapists from the webinar In Harm's Way: Strategies to Support Patients with Mental Health Issues.
    Full story
    • physiotherapist
    • self-harm
    • suicide
    • webinar
    • duty to warn
    • support
    • Patients
    • mental health
    • blog
  • Patient Privacy, Dignity and the Importance of Draping

    Apr 11, 2019
    Full story
    • physiotherapy
    • dignity
    • privacy
    • patient
    • draping
  • Life as a PT in a Rural, Remote or Northern Community

    Mar 18, 2019
    Full story
    • professional standards
    • standards of practice
    • access to care
    • remote
    • Northern Ontario
    • rural
    • blog
    • physiotherapy
  • Empathy: Keeping the Caring in Health Care

    Feb 19, 2019
    Lisa Pretty, Director of Communications and Chair of the Citizen Advisory Group Partnership, breaks down the importance of empathy and the lasting impression it has on patients.
    Full story
    • College of Physiotherapists of Ontario
    • compassion
    • Ontario
    • patient consultations
    • CAG
    • citizen advisory group
    • health care
    • physiotherapist
    • empathy
  • Tele-rehabilitation – Another Tool in Your Toolkit

    Jan 23, 2019
    Full story
    • Tele-practice
    • Telepractice
    • tele-rehab
    • tele-health
    • telehealth
    • wearable
    • videoconference
    • tele-rehabilitation
    • telerehabilitation
    • technology
    • skype
    • remote
    • physiotherapy
    • physiotherapist
    • out of province
    • Ontario
    • Northern Ontario
    • internet
    • cross-border
    • cross border
    • Consent
    • communities
  • Privacy Laws: The Times They Are A-Changin’

    Dec 11, 2018
    Full story
    • Health Information Custodian
    • HIC
    • PIPEDA
    • PHIPA
    • technology
    • patient information
    • security
    • privacy law
    • privacy breach
    • privacy
  • Legalizing Cannabis: What Does it Mean for Physiotherapists?

    Nov 13, 2018
    Full story
    • treatment
    • Consent
    • physiotherapy
    • legalization
    • cannabis
    • blog
  • Supervising Physiotherapy Residents: An Important and Rewarding Role

    Oct 19, 2018
    Peter Ruttan, registered physiotherapist and Investigator at the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario, blogs about the responsibilities of a Practice Supervisor when working with Physiotherapy Residents.
    Full story
    • physiotherapist
    • investigator
    • Peter Ruttan
    • Ontario
    • College of Physiotherapists
    • physiotherapy residents
    • supervision
    • practice supervisor

Contact the Practice Advisor

Free and anonymous counsel for PTs, patients, & the public. Learn More
416-591-3828 ext. 241
1-800-583-5885 ext. 241