On 04 – 05 June 2019 the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal (HPDT) considered a charge laid by the Professional Conduct Committee against Mr Michael Evans physiotherapist of Gisborne (the physiotherapist).
The charge alleged that between 2013 and 2016 the physiotherapist had, on approximately 251 occasions, invoiced ACC for more than 12 hours of service in one day, including on 10 occasions when he invoiced for over 24 hours in one day; on approximately 19 occasions made claims to ACC for two treatments provided on the same day to the same patient under two different claim forms; and on approximately 54 occasions provided ACC funded treatment to his family members contrary to the ACC Treatment Provider Handbook.
The physiotherapist admitted the particulars and the hearing proceeded on the basis of an agreed summary of facts.
The Physiotherapist admitted his conduct was contrary to his professional obligations and agreed to repay all invoiced treatments for all days that exceeded a 14 hour day within the 3 year period of offending. Full payment of $75,056.81 was made on 16 May 2017.
As the Physiotherapist took full responsibility for his conduct the ACC did not bring a criminal prosecution. An investigation by the ACC’s Integrity Services found there was no evidence of fraud. The evidence pointed to negligent record keeping rather than criminal intent.
The Tribunal was satisfied that the charges were made out as malpractice, negligence and conduct likely to bring discredit to the profession.
The Tribunal censured the physiotherapist, suspended his registration for a period of 2 months; imposed conditions on resumption of practice and fined him $5,000. The Tribunal ordered that the physiotherapist pay a contribution of $33,738 towards the costs of the Tribunal and PCC.