Physiotherapists claimed ACC fees for treating each other and family

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Two married physiotherapists who claimed thousands of dollars from ACC for treatments provided to each other and other family members have been found guilty of professional misconduct by the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal.

Physiotherapist.

(File photo). Photo: 123rf

The Auckland pair have admitted the charges, and said they had repaid all $27,273 that was incorrectly charged for, before the hearing.

Both have name suppression.

The husband provided 77 treatments to his wife and 60 treatments to other family members, while his wife provided 195 treatments to her husband and 86 to other relatives.

The Tribunal found they failed to maintain professional boundaries.

It found:

  • There was no justification or exceptional circumstances in treating family, and this was in contravention of ACC’s funding policy
  • The physiotherapists did not maintain appropriate professional boundaries when treating family members
  • The physiotherapists did not provide explicit advice to family members, as part of the consent process, on the issues associated with the treatment of family
  • The physiotherapists did not seek independent verification of their assessments, diagnosis, and management plans, or make a referral to the patient’s GP or to a specialist for verification. Neither considered an alternative provider to take over the management of the family members’ conditions

Each has been fined $3500 and ordered to pay 35 percent towards the Tribunal’s costs.

The husband must practice under supervision for nine months, at his own cost, and undertake an education course within three months.

The wife is no longer working as a physiotherapist, but if she did practice again she must do likewise.

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