REGULATORY LAW (PROFESSIONS): Physician permitted to use physical therapy billing codes: Dubin Orthopaedic Center PSC v. State Board of Physical Therapy (SC 4/23/2009)

Dubin Orthopaedic Center PSC v. State Board of Physical Therapy
2007-SC-000756-DG April 23, 2009
Opinion by Justice Abramson. All sitting, all concur.

The State Board of Physical therapy sought to enjoin Appellant—an orthopedic surgeon—from using AMA billing codes related to physical therapy, citing KRS 327.020(3) which prohibits anyone other than board-licensed physical therapists from calling themselves physical therapists or billing for physical therapy services. The trial court denied the Board’s request for injunctive relief, but the Court of Appeals reversed, holding that while Appellant was authorized to provide the type of treatment he did, KRS 327.020 still applied to him, precluding Appellant from using the insurance codes or the phrase “physical therapy” when describing his services.

The Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals, citing the plain language of KRS 327.020(1), which states “nothing contained in this chapter shall prohibit any person licensed in this state under any other law from engaging in the practice for which such person is duly licensed.” The Court added that the statute’s purpose is to protect the public against unqualified providers, not to protect physical therapists against competition from other qualified health care providers.

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