I’ve paid for my Annual Practising Certificate. Why do I need to pay an additional amount for the Disciplinary Levy?
The Disciplinary Levy is ring-fenced for the costs arising out of the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal (HPDT) proceedings and the appointment of (and any investigation by) a Professional Conduct Committee (PCC). The Physiotherapy Board’s Disciplinary Reserve Policy is to maintain a $294,000 reserve for upcoming PCC and HPDT costs.
Why is the increase almost $100?
The number of complaints related to conduct matters has increased this year. The Board currently has 12 active PCCs, some of which relate to complaints from the previous year. PCCs cost the Board on average $16,500; an HPDT proceeding costs $64,500. These costs fluctuate depending on the complexity of the matter. The increased number of complaints has consequences for the Disciplinary Reserve, which is projected to be in deficit by $144,034 by 2018 if the Disciplinary Levy is not increased and the current volume of conduct complaints and notifications continue as projected.
The principle purpose of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (2003) (HPCA Act) is to protect the health and safety of the public by providing for mechanisms to achieve this. One of the mechanisms includes systems and processes for complaints and disciplinary activity – funded by a levy on practitioners.
Will the Levy be reduced in the future?
The Disciplinary Levy is ring-fenced for PCC and HPDT hearings only, and calculated on average historical and projected future costs related to PCC and HPDT proceedings. Any future reduction in hearings may result in a reduction in the Disciplinary Levy.
Why should I contribute to the HPDT and PCC costs for other physiotherapists?
The Disciplinary Levy is paid by an individual or class of the profession to fund some of the costs relating to PCCs and HPDTs. It does not cover all disciplinary costs – just those mandated in the HCPA Act.
Physiotherapy in New Zealand is a health profession established by legislation, with robust disciplinary processes to give assurance to the public. As with all professional groups (e.g. lawyers) the disciplinary costs of those practitioners who are before a disciplinary body falls on the profession at large.
The HPCA Act states:
‘Under section 131 of the HPCA Act the Board:
(1) …may from time to time, by notice in the Gazette, impose on every health practitioner registered with the [Board] a disciplinary levy of any amount that it thinks fit for the purpose of funding the costs arising out of:
(a) the appointment of, and any investigation by, any professional conduct committee (PCC); and
(b) Proceedings of the [Health Practitioners Disciplinary] Tribunal.
Why can’t just those physiotherapists who drive the costs pay?
The HPCA Act does not provide for an “individual practitioner disciplinary fee”; it is a levy to the profession for a specific purpose. As such the profession contributes via the mechanism of a levy for some of the remaining costs. As above, this is the regulatory system that Parliament has put in place for health professionals in New Zealand.
The HPDT determines the level of costs awarded against practitioners. The level of cost recovery historically is 30-50% of the total cost of the proceeding. If the practitioner before the HPDT is found not guilty of the charges then they don’t pay HPDT costs. These are paid out of the Disciplinary Reserve.
Won’t my insurance cover these PCC and HPDT costs?
Insurance may give practitioners protection, depending on the terms of their policy, but it does not cover wider PCC or HPDT costs.
You can read the full consultation document on the Disciplinary Levy increase consultation here.