Does it have to be this way?
I think that the difference between a health care profession and a business is simple: it’s in your motive. If you do this for a living to take care of patients, you are a professional. If your top priority is profit, you are a business person.
Before you post angry comments—I don’t mean that health care professionals can’t make a profit. Of course I don’t! I am talking about your primary reason for going to work in the morning. I hope that your first goal is to help patients and the gorgeous consequence of your good work is a healthy income.
The problem arises when patient care is secondary to the bottom line.
When Council was brainstorming business practices that are unacceptable, they quickly came up with the following examples: sales of products or services that do the PT’s profit line more good than the patient; advertising that is misleading or false; using too many support personnel to adequately supervise; using support personnel who aren’t properly trained; telling patients they need care or devices that won’t really do them any good; offering services that are not really physiotherapy but billing patients or third party payors for physio; inadequate, false or incomplete records; false billing. The list went on from here.
Last year Council adopted a policy of zero tolerance for inappropriate business practices. That means that if you are engaged in one of the practices listed above (or something not listed but equally offside) then you are doing a disservice to your profession and to your patients and the College will not accept it.
When the College learns about such a situation, the appropriate College Committee will consider it (that is, you will be evaluated by your peers and appointed members of the public—not by staff, and never by me) and the outcome could be anything from a meeting with the Committee, to compulsory education or could lead to a revocation of your certificate of registration.
We have heard from you: You deplore businesses that put profit before patients and Council agrees with you.
Physiotherapy CAN be a profession and a business—it’s just a matter of putting first things first.