Joseph P. Hougnon, Attorney at Law

How Physical Therapists Are Regulated in California


There are almost 20,000 licensed physical therapists in California. As important members of the healthcare community, they provide a critical service by helping patients gain and regain mobility in a number of situations after an injury or an accident. They are responsible for evaluating a patient’s physical status, establishing a plan of care and goals, and then administering treatments to provide optimal health.

Under the oversight of the Department of Consumer Affairs, the Physical Therapy Board of California regulates and oversees the practices and conduct of physical therapists in the state. This includes administering disciplinary actions after a complaint has been filed against a licensed physical therapist in violation of the Physical Therapy Practice Act.

The Board can take a range of actions against a therapist if they warrant that discipline should take place in response to a complaint.

This can include the issuance of citations for relatively minor violations. Citations can be ordered where no monetary fine is levied, or a fine can be levied and must be paid by the licensee.

More serious accusations can result in a hearing. Without the assistance of a physical therapist license attorney in Sacramento, a decision can be rendered with a wide range of outcomes:

  • Issuance of a probationary license
  • Interim suspension order
  • Petition to revoke probation
  • Public reproval
  • Revoked
  • Revoked, stayed, probation
  • Suspension
  • Surrender of license – the most serious of all outcomes, the right to practice physical therapy ends.

It should also be noted that the Board not only regulates complaints directly related to a licensee’s practice, they will initiate disciplinary proceedings against a physical therapist who has pled guilty to or been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor involved in a DUI, a crime of violence, fraud, or other dishonesty.

Retaining the Services of a Physical Therapist License Attorney

As you can see, the Physical Therapy Board of California has broad and sweeping powers that cannot only significantly impact the career of a physical therapist, they can go so far as to end a career.

That’s why, if you are a physical therapist and a complaint is filed against you, it is imperative that you retain the services of an experienced physical therapist license attorney as soon as possible. You must be aggressive, proactive, and strategic when defending your license and your reputation against possible penalties.

Joseph P. Hougnon serves clients in Sacramento and other nearby northern California communities.

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About the Author

Since 1996, Joe Hougnon, Esq. has provided the best legal services for DUI, Criminal charges & personal injury cases in northern California.