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Sample Violations and Complaints

Review Before you File

If you suspect your physical therapist (PT) or physical therapist assistant (PTA) might be a violator, see our list of sample violations and a sample complaint and investigation process.


Contact a state licensing board. Each state has its own forms and processes.


Sample Violations

Although each state defines violations that are punishable under their practice act, here are examples of possible violations:

  • Obtaining or attempting to obtain a license or certificate by fraud or misrepresentation.
  • Practicing or offering to practice beyond the scope of the practice of physical therapy.
  • Acting in a manner inconsistent with generally accepted standards of physical therapy practice, regardless of whether actual injury to the patient is established.
  • Failing to adhere to the recognized standards of ethics of the physical therapy profession.
  • Failing to maintain adequate patient records. For the purposes of this paragraph, “adequate patient records” means legible records that contain at minimum sufficient information to identify the patient, an evaluation of objective findings, a diagnosis, a plan of care, a treatment record, and a discharge plan.
  • Failing to supervise physical therapist assistants or physical therapy aides in accordance with this act and board rules.
  • Failing to report to the board, where there is direct knowledge, any unprofessional, incompetent, or illegal acts that appear to be in violation of this act or any rules established by the board.
  • Engaging in sexual misconduct. For the purpose of this paragraph sexual misconduct includes:
    • Engaging in or soliciting sexual relationships, whether consensual or non-consensual, while a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant/patient relationship exists.
    • Making sexual advances, requesting sexual favors or engaging in other verbal conduct, or physical contact of a sexual nature with patients or clients.
    • Intentionally viewing a completely or partially disrobed patient in the course of treatment if the viewing is not related to patient diagnosis or treatment under current practice standards.
  • Aiding and abetting the unlicensed practice of physical therapy.
  • Participating in physical therapy services in which the referral source has a financial interest dependent upon the revenue generated by the services.
  • Directly or indirectly requesting, receiving, or participating in the dividing, transferring, assigning, rebating or refunding of an unearned fee, or profiting by means of a credit or other valuable consideration such as an unearned commission, discount or gratuity in connection with the furnishing of physical therapy services. This does not prohibit the members of any regularly and properly organized business entity recognized by law and comprising physical therapists from dividing fees received for professional services among themselves as they determine necessary.
  • Promoting any unnecessary device, treatment intervention, or service resulting in the financial gain of the practitioner or of a third party.
  • Providing treatment intervention unwarranted by the condition of the patient or continuing treatment beyond the point of reasonable benefit.
  • Participating in underutilization or overutilization of physical therapy services for personal or institutional financial gain.
  • Charging fraudulent fees for services performed or not performed.
  • Making misleading, deceptive, untrue, or fraudulent representations in violation of this act or in the practice of the profession.
  • Practicing as a physical therapist or working as a physical therapist assistant when physical or mental abilities are impaired by the use of controlled substances or other habit-forming drugs, chemicals, or alcohol, or by other causes.
  • Practicing physical therapy with a mental or physical condition that impairs the ability of the licensee to practice with skill and safety.
  • Interfering with an investigation or disciplinary proceeding by failure to cooperate, by willful misrepresentation of facts, or by the use of threats or harassment against any patient or witness to prevent that patient or witness from providing evidence in a disciplinary proceeding or any legal action.
  • Failing to maintain patient confidentiality without documented authorization of the patient or unless otherwise required by law. All records used or resulting from a consultation by means of telecommunications are part of a patient’s records and are subject to applicable confidentiality requirements.


Sample Complaint and Investigation Process

Each state has its own process and complaint form. You must use the process and form designated by your state.

However, the Ohio OTPTAT Board has given us permission to reprint their complaint and investigation process (August 2019) for your information. This is provided so that you can see a typical complaint process.

Explanation of the Complaint and Investigation Process

  1. The Ohio Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Athletic Trainers Board has the responsibility to enforce the laws and rules governing the practice of occupational therapy, physical therapy, athletic training, orthotics, prosthetics and pedorthics. The Board has the authority to deny an application, discipline a licensed individual or remove a license indefinitely. The Board’s legal jurisdiction is only over the individuals it licenses, not health care companies or other health care providers.
  2. Complaints can be submitted via website at A complaint form may also be obtained under the “Enforcement” section of the Board’s website ( ).
  3. After receipt of a signed/dated formal complaint, including a written narrative of who, what were, when, how, and to what extent, the Board’s enforcement staff will determine if the complaint falls within the jurisdiction of the Board’s authority and if it violates the Ohio Revised Code and/or the respondent’s (the licensee who is the subject of the complaint) practice act. If the complaint is within the jurisdiction of the board and is in violation of law, a member of the enforcement staff will be assigned the case and may ask for evidence such as: documentation, physical evidence, video, medical records and/or clarification of the information already provided by the complainant. Depending upon the complexity of the complaint, the investigative process may take six months or longer to complete.
  4. The Board in most cases will also conduct interviews on the complainant, victim, witnesses and the respondent as part of the investigation of the case.
  5. When a violation cannot be substantiated following an investigation, a case may be closed with no formal action. Cases closed without formal action are not a matter of a public record.
  6. When an investigation indicates that a violation appears to have occurred, the Board may seek to negotiate the discipline and other terms through a consent agreement, which must be agreed upon by the respondent and the Board. Consent agreements are a matter of a public record.
  7. When a violation is believed to have occurred but no consent agreement is offered or agreed upon by the respondent, the Board may file formal charges presented in a "Notice of Opportunity for Hearing." The respondent may request a public administrative hearing within thirty (30) days of the mailing of the notice.
  8. If an administrative hearing is scheduled, the complainant, victim and witnesses may be subpoenaed to provide testimony in front of a hearing officer. In such a case, the Assistant Attorney General assigned to the Board assists in the preparation of witness testimony and presentation of evidence. The respondent also has the right to an attorney and to call witnesses and present evidence and examine the complainant, victim and witnesses testifying on behalf of the Board. The hearing officer will then produce a report to the Board on his or her recommendations regarding the case.
  9. The Board may accept, reject, or modify the hearing officer’s report and recommendation(s). The respondent is then notified of the Board’s decision with regards to disciplinary action. The respondent has the right to appeal the Board’s decision through the appropriate court of common pleas. Disciplinary actions resulting from administrative hearings are a matter of public record.
  10. Public records related to discipline are available on the OTPTAT Board website ( and via the public license look-up at . Additionally, to obtain disciplinary information regarding a licensee, an individual may mail, fax, or e-mail the Board with a public records request.