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Physician Owned Physical Therapy Services (POPTS) in California. The anti-POPTS movement goes Web 2.0

Posted Feb 28 2011 8:37pm

Physical Therapists in California are taking to all forms of the web and utilizing Web 2.o Principles to oppose recent efforts by the California Medical Association and Legislator Mary Hayashi to LEGALIZE Physician Owned Physical Therapy Services in California through  AB783 . This bill would provide explicit language legalizing the employment of physical therapists by physicians. Those who have followed the POPTS debate in California are left scratching their heads because…

Interestingly, the State of California Legislative Counsel recently rendered an opinion on September 29, 2010 that it is illegal for PTs to be employed by any professional corporation except for those owned by physical therapists. The California Physical Therapy Association provides details

The opinion from Legislative Counsel confirms that, because the California Corporations Code does not specifically include physical therapists on the list of those who may be employed by a medical corporation, a physical therapist is prohibited from providing physical therapy services as an employee of a medical corporation and may be subject to discipline by the Physical Therapy Board of California for doing so.

Now in response to this new, proposed legislation the California Physical Therapy Association released an electronic memo opposing the new bill.

But, a group of concerned consumers (and I am assuming physical therapists) has leveraged technology and taken the movement to a whole new level. They have crated a campaign entitled “Stop POPTS.” So, what Web 2.0 tools are they utilizing? Well here is the list:

But, wait, that is not all! They have also created a Stop POPTS iPetition which currently has over 880 electronic signatures. They were able to amass over 500 within the first 24 hours of creation!

While it is important for our professional organizations to disseminiate opinions, information, and press releases on the national, state, and local level I am always left wondering: Are they effective? Do they even reach, and more importantly affect, the target audiences: the public, legislators, and other health care professionals? Now, the California Medical Association has been able to provide some information through news paper articles and other publicity. Unfortunately, they are able to use their clout as physicians in such outlets, and Joe Public will likely accept what they present at face value (with little questioning or skepticism). Which is a point we sometimes miss. Yes, it is important to spread this information to our PT colleagues, but we need to be reaching the public, legislators, and other health care professionals. Patients, small business owners, and legislators should be outraged! And WE need to light that fire.

Maybe the APTA, the CPTA, AAOMPT, and other organizations should take notes from the Stop POPTS Campaign in California. They are leveraging the web and technology to spread this information virally and aggressively. I believe such an approach is more effective. So, if you support the profession of physical therapy and oppose POPTS please spread the word via facebook, twitter, you tube, and even sign the petition! The Stop POPTS website has an abundance of great information.

Want more Information about POPTS?

Tim Richardson of the blog Physical Therapy Diagnosis recently wrote a post entitled Is Physical Therapy in California a Zero Sum Game?

Last year I authored a long post about POPTS and Referral for Profit on the AAOMPT Student Special Interest Group Blog detailing current rulings in Washington State as well as providing links and information about Stark Laws. The post has a TON of links to other information including APTA press releases and the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (misguided) view points.

What’s your story and opinion about POPTS? How do we spread it? Can we empower patients to tell their stories?

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