Professions (therapist licensing): COMMONWEALTH V. DUBIN (COA 921/2007)

COMMONWEALTH V. DUBIN
GOVERNMENT: REGULATORY LAW – PROFESSIONS, LICENSING OF THERAPISTS

2006-CA-001173
PUBLISHED: REVERSING AND REMANDING WITH DIRECTIONS
PANEL: TAYLOR PRESIDING; MOORE CONCURS; DIXON CONCURS WITH RESULT ONLY
FRANKLIN COUNTY
DATE RENDERED: 09/21/2007

KY State Board of Physical Therapy (BPT) appeals TC’s ruling in favor of Dubin Ortho Centre on the issue of whether Dubin’s practice of using 2 specific billing codes (CPT Codes 97001 and 97002) reserved for physical therapy treatment violated KRS 327.020 since the treatment was rendered by a doctor rather than a licensed physical therapist. Dubin successfully argued to the TC that KRS 311.550(10) defining the scope of the practice of medicine controlled in this case, and encompassed physical therapy services. BPT conversely argues on appeal that the clear wording of the more specific, and therefore controlling, statute governing physical therapy treatment required a licensed physical therapist before the 2 billing codes could be legally used.

The COA examined the legislative intent behind both statutes in an effort to reach a reasonable interpretation that gives the most effect to both statutes. The COA concluded that while a physician may render the same or similar treatment as a physical therapist, he/she may not refer to the treatment as physical therapy or bill it as physical therapy services using the 2 codes at issue. The COA therefore reversed the TC’s decision and directed it to grant BPT injunctive relief against Dubin to restrain the use of the subject billing codes since the case evidence revealed the PT services patients received at Dubin were rendered by an athletic trainer who was not licensed as a physical therapist pursuant to KRS 327.020.

By Chad Kessinger
Schiller Osbourn Barnes & Maloney

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