Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program

The Physical Therapy Board of California (PTBC) is one of several professional regulatory boards and bureaus that exist within the Department of Consumer Affairs. The PTBC has the primary responsibility of licensing and regulating licensed physical therapists (PT) and physical therapist assistants (PTA) in California. The PTBC's responsibilities come from the Physical Therapy Practice Act, which is composed of California statutes that give the PTBC, among other functions, the authority to manage a Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program for PT and PTAs. The Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program must comply with the provisions in Business and Professions Code 2662-2669.

The Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program is a voluntary, confidential program for PT and PTAs who may be impaired due to chemical dependency. The goal of the Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program is to protect the public by early identification of impaired PT and PTA by providing PT and PTAs access to appropriate intervention programs and treatment services. Public safety is protected by suspension of practice, when needed, and by careful monitoring of the PT and PTAs.

PTBC's Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program Requirements and Costs

WHAT SERVICE DOES THE PROGRAM PROVIDE?

For the Public:

  • Immediate intervention to protect the public, as soon as a licensees recognizes a need to enter treatment prior to causing harm to a patient
  • Confidential consultation with the concerned public, employers, co-workers, family members, friends and consumers of physical therapy
  • Assistance in preparing to talk to a PT or PTA about an apparent problem
  • Consultation with employers to assure a safe and smooth transition back to providing physical therapy treatment for the PT or PTA participant

For the PT or PTA in the Program:

  • Confidential consultation when considering entering the program
  • Assessment and referral for appropriate detoxification or treatment
  • Development of a rehabilitation plan for chemical dependency
  • Monitoring and reassessing the PT or PTA and modifying the rehabilitation plan as necessary
  • Random body fluid testing
  • Referrals to local support services
  • Encouragement, support, and guidance for the PT or PTA.

WHY IS THE PROGRAM NEEDED?

PT and PTAs are not immune from the diseases of chemical dependency. Experts estimate that at least 10% of the general population will have a problem with alcohol or drugs at some point in their lives. Health care professionals, including PT and PTAs, may be particularly susceptible to substance abuse problems due to the stresses of working in a health care environment and due to an increased opportunity to obtain controlled substances.

Many PT and PTAs who experience problems with chemical dependency are able to find the help and support they need to stay clean and sober without PTBC involvement.

Unfortunately, most people suffering from chemical dependency deny the problem. Many times they are the last to recognize and admit that they need help. If chemical dependency problems are left untreated, they may eventually jeopardize patient health and safety. They can also threaten the life of the person afflicted.

In these cases, it becomes imperative that those individuals who detect a chemical dependency health problem in a PT or PTA take action. Without intervention, diseases have predictable courses and outcomes. The PTBC's Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program aims to identify symptoms, intervene, and change the outcomes.

The Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program also provides an effective alternative to the traditional disciplinary process.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE?

PT and PTA's Who:

  • are licensed and practicing in California
  • are abusing alcohol or drugs to the extent that their PT or PTA practice may be affected, and
  • voluntarily agree to enter the program and provide consent for appropriate medical or psychiatric evaluations

HOW DOES A PT or PTA GET INTO THE PROGRAM?

PT or PTAs enter the program in one of two ways:

  • Self-Referral – PT and PTAs who would like assistance may contact the program directly.
  • Board-Referral – PT and PTAs are referred to the Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program by the PTBC as a result of a disciplinary action due to chemical dependency.

IS THE SUBSTANCE ABUSE REHABILITATION PROGRAM SUCCESSFUL?

Yes! To complete the Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program, a chemically dependent PT or PTA must demonstrate a change in lifestyle that supports continuing recovery and have a minimum of 24 consecutive months of clean, random, body-fluid tests.

The success of the Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program is due to close monitoring of participants for an average of three years, but more importantly, it is attributable to the encouragement, support and guidance provided to PT and PTAs by other PT and PTAs.

IS THE PROGRAM CONFIDENTIAL?

Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program staff are available for confidential consultation regarding possible referral to the Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program.

The confidentiality of participants is protected by law. Once a PT or PTA enters the program, the information gathered to assist in developing a rehabilitation plan, and all other information in their record, is confidential.

When a PT or PTA successfully completes the Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program, the Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program records are destroyed. If a PT or PTA does not successfully complete the program, the original complaint, if any, is investigated by the Board's Enforcement Program. (As of January 1, 2000, Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program records may be forwarded to the Board's Enforcement Program if a PT or PTA who is terminated from the Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program presents a threat to the public or his or her own health and safety.

WHERE CAN I GET ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE SUBSTANCE ABUSE REHABILITATION PROGRAM?

For general program information, to schedule intake appointments or interventions, and for questions regarding monitoring PT and PTAs in the program, call 1-800-522-9198.

For questions regarding the Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program or the PTBC's role in protecting public safety and identifying impaired practitioners, contact the Board's Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program Manager Monny Martin at (916) 561-8281.

For answers to the frequently asked questions regarding the Substance Abuse Rehabilitation Program, click:
SUBSTANCE ABUSE REHABILITATION PROGRAM FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS