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Did You Make a New Year’s Resolution to Lose Weight this Year?

Jan 22, 2018

Guest Blogger:

Anita Ashton
Associate Registrar Professional Conduct & Registration
College of Physiotherapists of Ontario

I did…but I am not going to a physiotherapist to help me achieve this goal, are you? Or are your patients or clients? As a new year begins people re-evaluate their fitness goals and many will return to the gym in January.

It is NOT a physiotherapist’s job to help people get in shape and lose weight.

Over the last year, undercover patients have visited a number of Ontario practices where they asked about losing weight. They had no other health condition or difficulty with movement, but the PT assessing them worked really hard to find a problem and then suggested that they needed to develop their core strength (I mean, who doesn’t?) and this was the start of the “free personal training program” which was invoiced to insurance companies as physiotherapy.

Are you shocked?

If this is you, don’t be fooled into thinking that you are providing physiotherapy when what you are really doing is providing your name and registration number to a facility so they can bill personal training as physiotherapy.

This is insurance fraud and you risk losing your licence to practice as a PT if you engage in this kind of practice.

Insurance companies are calling us to tell us about these practices, as are patients and health care providers. We’ve heard from newer PTs who have called the College seeking advice when they started a new job with an employer that asked them to do this.

So are you really practicing physiotherapy?

Start 2018 off right and reflect on your current practices:

  • Are you on contract with a company which has an agreement to provide “physiotherapy” in a fitness facility?

  • Are you including subjective and objective measures in your assessment?

  • Are you just doing assessments?

  • Have you met the PTAs that you will be working with?

  • Are they starting “treatment” before you have even done an assessment?

  • Do they actually carry out the treatment plan that you set?

  • How do you monitor your patient’s progress?

  • Is the treatment plan tailored to the insurance coverage available?

  • Is the treatment provided clinically indicated and within your scope?

  • Are you reviewing the invoices that are being produced using your name and registration number?

  • Is the name of the physiotherapist assistant you work with on the invoice?

Contact the Practice Advisor

If these questions have caused you to stop and consider the care you are providing, get in touch with the Practice Advisor and talk it through. Contact the Practice Advisor by email at or by calling 647-484-8800 or 1-800-583-5885.

Also, feel free to give our recent Cases of the Month a read!

Remember, if an insurance company identifies concerns with your practice they can refuse to reimburse your patients for the care delivered. Patients don’t like this.

If you didn’t already know, the College has a zero tolerance approach when it comes to bad business practice.
“The public interest depends on the integrity of the profession. Protecting the integrity of the profession demands zero tolerance of inappropriate business practices.”
This isn’t lip service. Have a look at some of the recent Discipline Hearings for real life examples. No one wants to see their name on this list.

Discipline Hearings and Decisions

If you know of someone who is conducting themselves and their practice in a way that does not reflect the values of the profession, please tell us. Contact or learn more about the complaints process.

Physiotherapists play such an important role in self regulation. It’s a scary thing to contact the College about a peer, but it’s the right thing to do. 

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