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The Pennsylvania Code website reflects the Pennsylvania Code changes effective through 54 Pa.B. 2336 (April 27, 2024).

49 Pa. Code § 40.52. Unprofessional conduct; physical therapists.

§ 40.52. Unprofessional conduct; physical therapists.

 A physical therapist who engages in unprofessional conduct is subject to disciplinary action under section 11(a)(6) of the act (63 P. S. §  1311(a)(6). Unprofessional conduct includes the following:

   (1)  Harassing, abusing or intimidating a patient.

   (2)  Revealing information obtained as a result of the therapist-patient relationship to a third party who is not involved in the patient’s care, without the prior written consent of the patient, except as authorized or required by statute.

   (3)  Failing to exercise appropriate supervision over a person who is authorized to render services only under the supervision of the physical therapist.

   (4)  Accepting a patient for treatment or continuing treatment if benefit cannot reasonably be expected to accrue to the patient, or misleading a patient as to the benefits to be derived from physical therapy.

   (5)  Unconditionally guaranteeing the results of physical therapy treatment.

   (6)  Practicing physical therapy while the ability to practice is impaired by alcohol, drugs or a physical or mental disability.

   (7)  Charging a patient or a third-party payor for a physical therapy service which is not performed.

   (8)  Receiving a fee for referring a patient to a third person.

   (9)  Advertising physical therapy services in a false, misleading or deceptive manner.

   (10)  Assigning or delegating to physical therapist assistants or supportive personnel activities prohibited from assignment or delegation under § §  40.32, 40.53 and 40.171 (relating to functions of supportive personnel; nondelegable activities; accountability; and functions of physical therapist assistants).

   (11)  Violating a provision of the act or this chapter which establishes a standard of conduct.

   (12)  Failure to maintain adequate patient records. Adequate patient records include at a minimum sufficient information to identify the patient, a summary of the findings of the examination, an evaluation, a diagnosis, the plan of care including desired outcomes, and the treatment record.


   The provisions of this §  40.52 issued under sections 3, 5 and 10 of the Physical Therapy Practice Act (63 P. S. § §  1303, 1305 and 1310); amended under sections 3(a), 6(d.1), 8(b), 9.1, 9.2 and 11(a)(6) of the Physical Therapy Practice Act (63 P. S. § §  1303(a), 1306(d.1), 1308(b), 1309.1, 1309.2 and 1311(a)(6)); and section 812.1 of The Administrative Code of 1929 (71 P. S. §  279.3a).


   The provisions of this §  40.52 adopted October 4, 1985, effective October 5, 1985, 15 Pa.B. 3513; amended July 24, 1992, effective July 25, 1992, 22 Pa.B. 3872; amended August 27, 2004, effective August 28, 2004, 34 Pa.B. 4697. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (290329) to (290330).

Notes of Decisions

   Unprofessional Conduct

   Act of removing 90 patient files from hospital’s premises for 1 year and 4 months due to physical therapist’s inability to complete documentation of patient files in a timely manner, related to the level of care provided to a patient and not to an administrative practice, was unprofessional conduct that subjected hospital to liability and jeopardized the level of care provided to a patient; therefore, the State Board of Physical Therapy properly found that physical therapist was subject to disciplinary action. Korch v. State Board of Physical Therapy, 900 A.2d 941, 947 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2006).

   Physical therapist’s removal of 90 patient files from hospital employer for 1 year and 4 months due to his inability to complete the necessary documentation in a timely manner and only returned the files after legal counsel demanded they be returned, supported State Board of Physical Therapy’s imposition of formal reprimand and $1,000 civil penalty. Korch v. State Board of Physical Therapy, 900 A.2d 941, 943, 947 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2006).

Cross References

   This section cited in 49 Pa. Code §  40.67 (relating to continuing education for licensed physical therapist); 49 Pa. Code §  40.69 (relating to professional liability insurance); 49 Pa. Code §  40.206 (relating to confidentiality—waived); 49 Pa. Code §  40.302 (relating to procedural matters); and 49 Pa. Code §  40.304 (relating to disciplinary action).

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