WSR 04-03-119

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH


(Board of Physical Therapy)

[ Filed January 21, 2004, 11:31 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 98-13-014.

Title of Rule: WAC 246-915-182 Sexual misconduct.

Purpose: This rule provides protection to the public from unethical physical therapists inappropriately using their position of a health provider to foster an unprofessional, sexual relationship.

Other Identifying Information: The Board of Physical Therapy is empowered to adopt rules relating to standards of appropriateness of physical therapy care. The Uniform Disciplinary Act of RCW 18.130.180 describes the proposed conduct of a physical therapy provider. The proposed rule addresses issues of unprofessional sexual misconduct with current and former physical therapy clients.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 18.74.023(3), 18.74.025, 18.130.050(1), and 18.130.180(24).

Statute Being Implemented: Chapter 18.74 RCW.

Summary: The proposed rule defines inappropriate and unprofessional sexual misconduct in the physical therapist-client relationship.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: Rules will prevent physical therapists from engaging in sexual conduct or sexual activity with current and former clients.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Kris Waidely, Program Manager, 310 Israel Road S.E., Tumwater, WA 98501, (360) 236-4847.

Name of Proponent: Department of Health, governmental.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: The proposed rule defines inappropriate and unprofessional sexual misconduct in the physical therapist-client relationship. The proposed rule addresses issues of unprofessional sexual misconduct with current and former physical therapy clients. This rule provides protection to the public from unethical physical therapists inappropriately using their position of a health provider to foster an unprofessional, sexual relationship.

Proposal does not change existing rules.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. This agency has not conducted a small business [economic] impact statement. The proposed rule does not impose more than minor costs on small business per RCW 19.85.030.

RCW 34.05.328 applies to this rule adoption. This rule is legislatively significant because the proposal may be used to impose a penalty if violated.

Hearing Location: Department of Health, 310 Israel Road S.E., Room 139, Tumwater, WA 98501, on February 27, 2004, at 1:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Kris Waidely by February 23, 2004, TDD (800) 833-6388 or (360) 236-4847.

Submit Written Comments to: Department of Health, Kris Waidely, P.O. Box 47868, Olympia, WA 98504-7868, fax (360) 664-9077, by February 23, 2004.

Date of Intended Adoption: February 27, 2004.

December 19, 2003

Kris Waidely

Program Manager

OTS-6735.1


NEW SECTION
WAC 246-915-182   Unprofessional conduct -- Sexual misconduct.   (1) The physical therapist shall never engage in sexual contact or sexual activity with current clients.

(2) Sexual contact or sexual activity is prohibited with a former client for two years after cessation or termination of professional services.

(3) The physical therapist shall never engage in sexual contact or sexual activity with former clients if such contact or activity involves the abuse of the physical therapist-client relationship. Factors which the board may consider in evaluating if the physical therapist-client relationship has been abusive includes, but is not limited to:

(a) The amount of time that has passed since therapy terminated;

(b) The nature and duration of the therapy;

(c) The circumstances of cessation or termination;

(d) The former client's personal history;

(e) The former client's current mental status;

(f) The likelihood of adverse impact on the former client and others; and

(g) Any statements or actions made by the therapist during the course of therapy suggesting or inviting the possibility of a post termination sexual or romantic relationship with the former client.

(4) The physical therapist shall never engage in sexually harassing or demeaning behavior with current or former clients.

(5) These rules do not prohibit:

(a) The provision of physical therapy services on an urgent, unforeseen basis where circumstances will not allow a physical therapist to obtain reassignment or make an appropriate referral;

(b) The provision of physical therapy services to a spouse, or family member, or any other person who is in a preexisting, established relationship with the physical therapist where no evidence of abuse of the physical therapist-client relationship exists.

[]

Legislature Code Reviser 

Register

Washington State Code Reviser's Office