WSR 07-12-092



(Podiatric Medical Board)

[ Filed June 6, 2007, 10:05 a.m. , effective July 7, 2007 ]

Effective Date of Rule: Thirty-one days after filing.

Purpose: WAC 246-922-600 Sexual misconduct and 246-922-620 Abuse, the rules establish consistent and enforceable definitions of abuse and sexual misconduct by podiatric physicians with current or former patients. The rules will help podiatric physicians avoid inappropriate behavior and will educate the public on the type of behavior to expect from their podiatric physician.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 18.22.015, 18.130.050.

Other Authority: RCW 18.130.180.

Adopted under notice filed as WSR 06-24-135 on December 6, 2006.

Changes Other than Editing from Proposed to Adopted Version: Language was added noting that the definitions of "podiatric physician," "patient" and "key third party" in new WAC 246-922-600 apply to the same terms in new WAC 246-922-620. These revisions clarify the rules without changing their intended effect as proposed.

A final cost-benefit analysis is available by contacting Arlene Robertson, P.O. Box 47866, Olympia, WA 98504-7866, phone (360) 236-4945, fax (360) 236-2406, e-mail

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 2, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 2, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Date Adopted: June 5, 2007.

Blake T. Maresh

Executive Director


WAC 246-922-600   Sexual misconduct.   (1) Definitions:

(a) "Patient" means a person who is receiving health care or treatment, or has received health care or treatment without a termination of the podiatric physician-patient relationship. The determination of when a person is a patient is made on a case-by-case basis with consideration given to a number of factors, including the nature, extent and context of the professional relationship between the podiatric physician and the person. The fact that a person is not actively receiving treatment or professional services is not the sole determining factor.

(b) "Podiatric physician" means a person licensed to practice podiatric medicine and surgery under chapter 18.22 RCW.

(c) "Key third party" means a person in a close personal relationship with the patient and includes, but is not limited to, spouses, domestic partners, parents, siblings, children, guardians and proxies.

(2) A podiatric physician shall not engage in sexual misconduct with a current patient or a key third party. A podiatric physician engages in sexual misconduct when he or she engages in the following behaviors with a patient or key third party:

(a) Sexual intercourse or genital to genital contact;

(b) Oral to genital contact;

(c) Genital to anal contact or oral to anal contact;

(d) Kissing in a romantic or sexual manner;

(e) Touching breasts, genitals or any sexualized body part for any purpose other than appropriate examination or treatment; (f) Examination or touching of genitals without using gloves;

(g) Not allowing a patient the privacy to dress or undress;

(h) Encouraging the patient to masturbate in the presence of the podiatric physician or masturbation by the podiatric physician while the patient is present;

(i) Offering to provide practice-related services, such as medication, in exchange for sexual favors;

(j) Soliciting a date;

(k) Engaging in a conversation regarding the sexual history, preferences or fantasies of the podiatric physician.

(3) A podiatric physician shall not engage in any of the conduct described in subsection (2) of this section with a former patient or key third party if the podiatric physician:

(a) Uses or exploits the trust, knowledge, influence, or emotions derived from the professional relationship; or

(b) Uses or exploits privileged information or access to privileged information to meet the podiatric physician's personal or sexual needs.

(4) To determine whether a patient is a current patient or a former patient, the board will analyze each case individually, and will consider a number of factors, including, but not limited to, the following:

(a) Documentation of formal termination;

(b) Transfer of the patient's care to another health care provider;

(c) The length of time that has passed;

(d) The length of time of the professional relationship;

(e) The extent to which the patient has confided personal or private information to the podiatric physician;

(f) The nature of the patient's health problem;

(g) The degree of emotional dependence and vulnerability.

(5) This section does not prohibit conduct that is required for medically recognized diagnostic or treatment purposes if the conduct meets the standard of care appropriate to the diagnostic or treatment situation.

(6) It is not a defense that the patient, former patient, or key third party initiated or consented to the conduct, or that the conduct occurred outside the professional setting.

(7) A violation of any provision of this section shall constitute grounds for disciplinary action.


WAC 246-922-620   Abuse.   (1) A podiatric physician commits unprofessional conduct if the podiatric physician abuses a patient or key third party. "Podiatric physician," "patient" and "key third party" are defined in WAC 246-922-600. A podiatric physician abuses a patient when he or she:

(a) Makes statements regarding the patient's body, appearance, sexual history, or sexual orientation that have no legitimate medical or therapeutic purpose;

(b) Removes a patient's clothing or gown without consent;

(c) Fails to treat an unconscious or deceased patient's body or property respectfully;

(d) Engages in any conduct, whether verbal or physical, which unreasonably demeans, humiliates, embarrasses, threatens, or harms a patient.

(2) A violation of any provision of this section shall constitute grounds for disciplinary action.


Washington State Code Reviser's Office