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NPDB Basis for Action

Explaining disciplinary action categories

The Basis for Disciplinary Action Definitions and Descriptions is a tool to assist regulatory bodies categorize basis (or bases) for disciplinary action.  It includes guidelines and examples to help state licensing authorities understand how to report disciplinary actions they take.


Need to report disciplinary actions?

Email us at FSBPT encourages anyone reporting physical therapy disciplinary actions to use these definitions. This will establish a level of consistency that will allow the data to be used to determine trends, focus on prevention and evaluate the effectiveness of remedial actions.


Any questions?

Email us at FSBPT welcomes questions and comments about this document. We hope to continually update this document to reflect the issues that jurisdictions face in dealing with disciplinary actions of licensees.


Alert system for public protection

Once decisions are made about sanctioned individuals, the information is stored in FSBPT's Exam Licensure and Disciplinary Database (ELDD). This database serves as an alert mechanism for physical therapy licensing boards.

For example, if a licensee holds multiple licenses and gets disciplined in one jurisdiction, FSBPT's ELDD will alert the other jurisdictions in which the individual is licensed. This prevents sanctioned individuals from moving across state lines to avoid the effects of disciplinary action.

Beyond this, however, the database is a rich source of data that can help licensing boards formulate decisions based on evidence.


Background information

The ELDD uses the same Basis for Action Categories as the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB) since all jurisdictions are required to report to the NPDB and to keep things as simple as possible for the FSBPT members filling out NPDB reports. Historically, the NPDB provided no specific definitions for these Basis for Action Categories. Without specific definitions for the categories, it is nearly impossible to determine when to use one category versus another. As a result, every jurisdiction was categorizing the data differently. Without consistency, the data has limited, if any use.

In 2008, to help solve this problem, the FSBPT Board of Directors appointed the Disciplinary Categories Task Force to develop definitions and guidelines for how and when to use the categories. The task force was represented by four different jurisdictions as well as a board attorney. Over the course of several months, they defined and refined the categories. They used sample cases to test their definitions. A basis for disciplinary action definitions and descriptions reference document was created and shared with the physical therapy boards.

In 2019, representatives from the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards (ASPPB), Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB), Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP), National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN), and FSBPT began working with HRSA and the NPDB to promote consistency in code use across jurisdictions and professions. They reviewed current usage by profession, looked for redundancies and overlap, explored what could be missing and created updated language, guidelines, and examples. This work was sent to the NPDB for their review and the consortium proposed they adopt these guidelines and examples for use and training. The NPDB put this into the Federal Register for public comment and after a few minor changes they formatted and published these changes to their website. The new code list is effective 12/16/2022.


More tools

Below are more tools that we have developed for state licensing authorities in the regulation of physical therapy.