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Chiropractic News

June 2008

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Ask the Attorney: PT-DC relationships: Check the rules

I am a licensed chiropractor and would like to make a connection with a physical therapist (PT). May I do this?

If I do this, may I refer to the PT? If I am not permitted to hire or form a business with a PT, can I perform the therapy, since I received PT training in chiropractic school?

The answers to your questions depend on where you are located, the identity of the third-party payor, and your scope of practice.

For example: You and a PT may form a Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC) in New York, but you are not be permitted to make direct referrals to the PT.

The PT, subject to certain conditions, is permitted to treat his or her own patients. As co-owners of the PLLC, you may both share in the profits of this venture.

In New Jersey, a chiropractor may refer directly to a PT unless the third-party payor is Medicare. (Medicare does not permit referrals from a DC to a PT in any part of the country.)

Unless you are also a registered PT, you may not hold yourself out to be a PT in New Jersey or imply that you are providing physical-therapy services; there must be a licensed PT on the premises who will provide such services.

The prohibition against providing physical therapy does not apply in Florida where a chiropractor may provide physical-therapy services (except for Medicare


PTs are specifically prohibited from practicing chiropractic medicine in Florida. They must refer patients to a chiropractor for spinal manipulation. A PT must obtain a practitioner of record (including, but not limited to, a DC), who must review and sign a plan of treatment if treatment by the PT will exceed 21 days for a condition not previously assessed by a practitioner of record.

The issues that arise in the various states are numerous and varied. I have always been in favor of having integrated services available to the patient. I believe that differing viewpoints about treatment can only result in better care for the patient.

PTs can and do bring a lot to the healthcare table, but it is imperative to both you and the PT that you comply with the laws, rules, and regulations of your state when you form a connection. Check your state regulatory agency and consult with a healthcare attorney before entering into an agreement.

Deborah Green, Esq., practices law in New York and Florida. If you have any questions concerning legal healthcare issues, call 954-923-0923 or e-mail her at

DISCLAIMER: This column is provided for educational purposes only. The information presented is not as legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is hereby established.

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