Case of the Month

Read real cases and their outcomes

  • Float On, but Don’t Say it’s Physiotherapy

    Jan 23, 2019

    The Case

    The College received a call from a physiotherapist assistant who expressed concerns about a business advertising float therapy and saying it could be covered by physiotherapy health benefits.

    According to information on the company’s website, float therapy consists of 90-minute sessions in a chamber with 12-inches of water and Epsom salts. There is no light, music or distractions throughout the experience. The company further states that float therapy can relieve pain, reduce stress and restore sleep.

    An investigator called the company to ask about physiotherapy and was informed that since float therapy is considered hydrotherapy a physiotherapist could incorporate it in treatment plans.

    The services could be billed as physiotherapy as long as the patient had an appointment with a PT at a clinic nearby before starting the treatments.

    Invoices for float therapy would then be submitted using the PT’s name and registration number.

    The Rules

    Is float therapy relaxing? Maybe. Can it be billed as physiotherapy? Maybe not.

    The scope of practice for physiotherapy is the assessment of neuromuscular, musculoskeletal and cardio respiratory systems, the diagnosis of diseases or disorders associated with physical dysfunction, injury or pain and the treatment, rehabilitation and prevention or relief of physical dysfunction, injury or pain to develop, maintain, rehabilitate or augment function and promote mobility. Additionally, the treatment being recommended must provide clinical value to the patient.

    Further, the Fees, Billing and Accounts Standard indicates that physiotherapists must ensure that any fee, billing or account that uses their name and registration number is an accurate reflection of the services and/or products provided. Physiotherapists must never charge fees or create billings or accounts that are inaccurate, false or misleading.

    The Outcome

    While investigating the tip it became clear that the physiotherapist had already ended their relationship with the company.

    The PT indicated that they began recommending float therapy to some patients as part of a comprehensive physiotherapy program including active exercise.

    They became skeptical when it was clear that patients were not following through with the active portion of the program and discontinued their affiliation with the company.

    The College reminded the PT that insurance companies have become more aggressive in their delisting of health care providers and that billing float therapy as physiotherapy may be labelled as insurance fraud. Once a PT has been delisted it’s very difficult to have that decision reversed.

    The College also recommended that the physiotherapist reflect on the service agreement and analyze if and how float therapy could qualify as physiotherapy

    The physiotherapist had already done all the right things in ending the agreement, so no further action was taken.

    If you’re ever questioning if what you’re doing is actually physiotherapy, please contact the Practice Advice team for anonymous advice at 1-800-583-5885 (extension 241) or advice@collegept.org.

    Fees, Billing and Accounts Standard

    A College of Physiotherapists of Ontario Case of the Month about a PT, a float therapy clinic, and some potentially questionable billing practices.
    Full story
    • insurance
    • Delisting
    • registration number
    • billing
    • fees
    • scope of practice
    • float therapy
    • physiotherapy
    • Case of the Month
  • There is Such a Thing as Too Friendly

    Dec 11, 2018
    A Case of the Month about a physiotherapist becoming too friendly with a patient, with additional reference to record keeping and billing practices.
    Full story
    • patient
    • physiotherapist
    • relationship
    • friendship
    • professional boundaries
    • therapeutic relationship
    • record keeping
    • informed consent
    • Consent
    • mechanical traction
    • insurance
    • accounts
    • billing
    • fees
    • Boundaries
    • Case of the Month
  • When Acupuncture Goes Very, Very Wrong

    Nov 13, 2018
    A Case of the Month about acupuncture treatment going horribly wrong, leading to a complaint against a physiotherapist.
    Full story
    • physiotherapist
    • physiotherapy
    • acupuncture
    • Case of the Month
  • 1,200 Hours Short of a Certificate

    Oct 19, 2018
    A College of Physiotherapists of Ontario Case of the Month about a physiotherapist who did not have sufficient practice hours when applying for a certificate of registration.
    Full story
    • Ontario
    • College of Physiotherapists
    • physiotherapist
    • Case of the Month
    • practice hours
    • registration
    • certificate
  • Can’t We All Just Get Along?

    Sep 17, 2018
    A College of Physiotherapists of Ontario Case of the Month about physiotherapists managing challenging collaborative care relationships.
    Full story
    • specialty designations
    • restricted titles
    • PTA
    • physiotherapist assistant
    • physiotherapist
    • physiotherapy
    • relationships
    • collaborative care
    • Case of the Month
  • Don’t You Forget About Me

    Aug 21, 2018
    College of Physiotherapists of Ontario Case of the Month about a physiotherapist who forgot about a patient during an acupuncture session.
    Full story
    • ICRC Committee
    • essential competencies
    • physiotherapy
    • acupuncture
    • Case of the Month
  • Caught Up in the Cryo Hype

    Jul 18, 2018
    A Case of the Month detailing how a physiotherapist wrongly incorporated cryotherapy in treatment plans and billed the services as physiotherapy, violating the standards of the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario.
    Full story
    • physiotherapist assistant
    • advertising
    • billing
    • physiotherapy
    • cryotherapy
  • You Can’t Laser Over History

    Jun 14, 2018
    June 2018 Case of the Month from the College of Physiotherapists of Ontario. The case outlines the use of laser therapy on a patient with a history of melanoma.
    Full story
    • physiotherapist
    • College of Physiotherapists
    • essential competencies
    • record keeping
    • laser therapy
  • The Snowball Effect

    Feb 20, 2018
    Full story
  • No Laughing Matter

    Dec 11, 2017
    Full story
  • Cheung Charged – Not A PT: Always Check the Public Register Before You Hire

    Nov 13, 2017
    Full story
  • Pilates Problems

    Oct 13, 2017
    Full story
  • Is what you’re doing REALLY physiotherapy? Or is it something else…

    Sep 07, 2017
    Full story
  • I’m Pretty Sure That’s Personal Training, Not Physiotherapy

    May 10, 2017
    Full story
  • Using Restraints on a Patient: Helpful or Harmful?

    May 09, 2017
    Full story
  • Physiotherapists MUST register with the College to Practice in Ontario

    Apr 04, 2017
    Full story
  • Does Past Behaviour Indicate Future Actions?

    Apr 04, 2017
    Full story
  • No Second Chances When It Comes to Patient Care and Record Keeping

    Feb 15, 2017
    Full story
  • How to Be Insensitive with Your Patients?

    Dec 09, 2016
    Full story
  • Three Strikes, You’re SCERPed

    Aug 15, 2016
    Full story

Practice Advice

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Learn More 

practiceadvice@collegept.org
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