The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal has released its decision following a hearing in Auckland on March 11, 2019 concerning a charge laid by a Professional Conduct Committee appointed by the Physiotherapy Board against David Nonoa, a physiotherapist.
The charge was related to four matters of professional conduct over an 11-year period:
Firstly, in 2012 and 2013, Mr Nonoa was alleged to have invoiced the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) for services under another physiotherapist’s ACC provider number when this physiotherapist did not provide these services;
secondly from 2004 to 2015, he invoiced ACC for treatment provided to close family members when treatment was not provided in circumstances permitted by the Physiotherapy Board or ACC’s Treatment Provider Handbook;
thirdly he failed to obtain independent verification from a third party when claiming ACC payments for treating family members; and
fourthly, when providing treatment to his family members he failed to keep accurate and/or adequate patient records in respect of the family members he treated.
Mr Nonoa accepted the charge and that his conduct represents professional misconduct under sections 100(1)(a) and 100(1)(b) of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003. The Tribunal found that Mr Nonoa was clearly in breach of ethical and professional standards, which question his honesty and integrity in his dealings with ACC.
The HPDT ordered that Mr Nonoa be censured, fined $5000, and have conditions imposed on his scope of practice, including a requirement for supervision of Mr Nonoa by a qualified physiotherapist approved by the Board, for 12 months at his own cost.
Mr Nonoa was also ordered to pay $13,260 in costs (15% of Tribunal and PCC costs).
The Board takes matters concerning inappropriate claiming for treatments very seriously as they bring discredit to the physiotherapy profession and reduce public trust and confidence in the profession.
The Board considers this case to be a timely reminder for practitioners to reacquaint themselves with the standards, particularly those relating to record keeping, and treatment of whānau, family members and others close to you.