WSR 04-08-102

PERMANENT RULES

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH


(Board of Physical Therapy)

[ Filed April 6, 2004, 2:43 p.m. ]

Date of Adoption: February 27, 2004.

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. 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 proper conduct of a physical therapy provider. The proposed rule addresses issues of unprofessional sexual misconduct with current and former physical therapy clients.

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Amending [new section] WAC 246-915-182 Sexual misconduct.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 18.74.023(3).

Other Authority: RCW 18.74.025, 18.130.050(1), and 18.130.180(24).

Adopted under notice filed as WSR 04-03-119 on January 21, 2004.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 1, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 1, Amended 0, Repealed 0.
Effective Date of Rule: Thirty-one days after filing.

February 27, 2004

Sam Stockton, PT, Chair

Board of Physical Therapy

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.

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