Ethicolegal Issues for Pediatric Physical Therapists

presented by Ron Scott

Accreditation Check:

This course overviews ethicolegal issues affecting pediatric physical therapists, including: Code of Ethics principles, core values, education law, fiduciary duty to patients under care, HIPAA and children, malpractice liability exposure and prevention, restrictive contractual covenants (“covenants not to compete”), and the modern blending of health law and professional ethics. The course content is applicable to pediatric physical therapists and assistants in all settings – clinical, educational, academic and home health. Select case studies and clinical vignettes offer model solutions to problems posed. Salient focus topics addressing problem areas with correlation to APTA’s Code of Ethics are analyzed. Pre and post course questions assess viewers’ knowledge and learning.

Meet Your Instructor

  • Ron Scott, PT, EdD, JD, LLM, MA (Spanish), MSBA, MSPT, BS (HRP)

    Dr. Scott is a health law attorney-mediator and educator. He is a faculty member in seven academic programs, teaching PTs, OTs, DNPs, O&P professionals and others. Dr. Scott’s principal teaching interests include health care ethics, law, management and policy. He developed two widely-utilized health professional practice tools - the systems approach to ethical decision making and the 4-quadrant legal-ethical issues practice grid. Dr. Scott is the author of thirteen textbooks, most recently Legal Aspects of Documenting Patient Care, 4th ed. (Jones & Bartlett, 2013).

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Chapters & Learning Objectives

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  1. Orientation to the Course

    1. Orientation to the Course

    This initial session orients readers to the course and to what might appear to be esoteric (but critically-important to practice success) subject matter – ethicolegal rights and duties. A 5-question pretest precedes presentation of substantive materials.

  2. Foundations of Professional Ethics and Ethicolegal Duties

    2. Foundations of Professional Ethics and Ethicolegal Duties

    This section focuses on the modern-day blending of health law and professional ethics, as reflected by the mutual obligations imposed by professional association codes of ethics and state practice acts. Discussion of fiduciary duty and patient access to care services are also included.

  3. Patient Autonomy

    3. Patient Autonomy

    The section begins with a review of the four fundamental biomedical ethical principles guiding pediatric physical therapy practice: respect for patient autonomy over care-related decision-making, beneficence, nonmaleficence and justice. Discussion naturally flows into exploration of patient informed consent, and the special informed consent issues affecting minor patients. The discussion concludes with the issue of conflicts of interest, and how ethically to avoid them.

  4. Code of Ethics and Core Values

    4. Code of Ethics and Core Values

    This section overviews the APTA Code of Ethics and analyzes how closely the ethical obligations of member-physical therapists are matched by those governing member-physical therapist assistants. The section concludes with discussion of core values – collective and individual.

  5. Education Law and Ethics

    5. Education Law and Ethics

    This section overviews IDEA (the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act), the roles of physical, occupational and speech therapists in serving disabled students and their families, and current case law pronouncements. A case exemplar is presented, along with discussion of academic discipline of staff in education settings.

  6. Malpractice and Adverse Actions for Patient Injuries and Ethics Violations

    6. Malpractice and Adverse Actions for Patient Injuries and Ethics Violations

    This section overviews health care malpractice, venues for processing adverse legal and ethics actions, and special duties owed to 3rd parties incident to patient intervention. Discussion of reporting statutes – for child abuse and neglect and other indicators – ensues.

  7. Contractual Restrictive Employment Covenants: Ethicolegal Issues for Pediatric Physical Therapists

    7. Contractual Restrictive Employment Covenants: Ethicolegal Issues for Pediatric Physical Therapists

    This section overviews restrictive contractual covenants that pediatric physical therapists may encounter. Covenants not to compete are explored in detail, along with a case exemplar. Recommendations for inclusion of a no-covenant-not-to-compete ethics provision for APTA’s Code of Ethics are presented.

  8. HIPAA and Children and End-of-Session Case

    8. HIPAA and Children and End-of-Session Case

    This section discusses the special privacy and information disclosure duties incumbent upon pediatric physical therapists treating children. A summary end-of-session case exemplar is presented, followed by concluding comments.