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Fraud Sentencing Reminds Us Who Cannot Bill for Physical Therapy

Posted on July 1, 2019 by Chapter Staff
Originally Published in HAPTA’s e-Newsletter, What’s HAPTAnin’ – July 2019

After the May 2019 sentencing of Aiea physical therapist Garrett Okubo to 42 months in prison for fraudulent billing of nearly $4 million for physical therapy treatment, much of which was provided by unlicensed personnel, HAPTA wishes to remind PTs and PTAs that techs or other aides may not provide billable physical therapy services in Hawaii.

Former HAPTA Ethics Committee Chair Cindy Tamayo explained the law in this 2018 HAPTA e-Newsletter article:

According to Section 461J-2.3 of the Hawaii Physical Therapy Practice Act – Physical therapist use of support or auxiliary personnel , a licensed physical therapist is only allowed to use the “assistance of licensed PTAs, or support or auxiliary personnel in the practice of physical therapy.”  The practice act definition limits “support or auxiliary personnel” to a “temporary physical therapist licensee or a physical therapy student who performs duties delegated by a supervising physical therapist.”

A supervising physical therapist “must be accessible through telecommunications at all times and have the ability to be on site within 2 hours if their presence is needed.” (Emphasis added.)

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