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Help Wanted (for Insurance Fraud)

Mar 11, 2020

Imagine that you’re a new physiotherapy grad or new to the profession in Canada. One day while looking at job ads on Kijiji you see a posting looking for a PT – you don’t need any experience and the salary is beyond your expectations.

The job is at a fitness facility and the owner seems really eager to hire you. She doesn’t really ask about your education, skills or qualifications and you’re hired on the spot. You fill out all the paperwork and provide your registration number.

You’ll only have to do assessments at the fitness facility a couple times a month and sometimes you’ll even travel to other parts of the province to do assessments. Seems like a lot of money for not a lot of work – and you enjoy the idea of having more time to focus on other things like friends and family.

You decide to take the job. The gym owner doesn’t have a background in physiotherapy or another health profession, but she’s owned or managed multiple fitness facilities over the years. She even works as a physiotherapist assistant (PTA). There are other PTAs who work at the clinic, but you’ve never met them.

One day you decide to attend a College outreach session. After listening to the Practice Advisor talk about the standards, you start to question some things.

  • Why haven’t you conducted any re-assessments for any patients?
  • You thought that your boss was being helpful but now you’re wondering if she was actually coaching you on how to create a diagnosis and treatment plan that included personal training. Come to think of it, were you coaching the patient on what to say so they could access free personal training?
  • You have no idea when your patient gets hurt because no one tells you. None of the PTAs ever contact you with any questions about treatment plans. Do you even know their names?
  • Why is your boss so focused on the business side of things? Doesn’t she care about the patient’s wellbeing?

Here’s the thing… you’re being used for your name and registration number.

The reality is even if you quit the company, it’s likely that they will keep using your name and registration number until they find another physiotherapist to take your spot. They don’t care about you or your livelihood and they certainly won’t support you during an investigation.

This may seem crazy to some PTs but this is happening, and more vulnerable people like new graduates or new Canadians are often the ones getting sucked in to these situations.

When you get caught, usually by a patient or an insurance company, and the College is made aware of the situation, you won’t be able to say that you didn’t know. You should know that you cannot meet the standards of the profession working in a place like this.

Don’t ignore the red flags – if something is too good to be true, it probably is.

The Bottom Line

Please be really careful about who you decide to work for. It’s difficult to turn down an offer when there is so much money attached to it but the consequences for you as a professional will be serious and you will have to deal with this all alone. Your boss will not be there to support you.

If this sounds like you, it’s important that you take measures to stop these practices as soon as possible. Be proactive and the College will do our best to work with you to find an appropriate solution. Contact the Intake and Resolution Specialist at 416-591-3828 ext. 227.

If you have general questions about the standards and how to apply them to your practice, please call the Practice Advisor at 1-800-583-5885 (extension 241) or email advice@collegept.org.

 

 

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  1. Vivienne | Apr 13, 2020
    imagine this blog post written now during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Now add the fever-pitch surroundining telehealth pushed by the profession, notably the private, for-profit clinics.  The ethical considerations that continue to go largely unaddressed are being pushed to the background in the discussion.  Unless the profession wants a future that includes its members working in a telerehab 'call-centre', PT needs to learn to put the brakes on its immediate existential anxieties.  Now is not the time to be impulsive regardless of the urgency to demonstrate physio has a legitimate place.  Do the homework first.  

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