File Number: Phys20/471P
Practitioner: Allan David Pearce
Hearing Start Date:
Hearing End Date:
Claiming - inappropriate (Established)
Name Suppression to Witness/s and/or Family of parties
Permanent order for suppression of the names and identifying features of the practitioner's family members named in the Charge
Permanent suppression order in relation to the financial and income statements for the practitioners and the names of the other physiotherapy clinics, not owned by the practitioners, where they have been identified in the evidence
Precis of Decision:
On 16 June 2020 the Tribunal considered two separate charges laid by a Professional Conduct Committee against Mr Allan David Pearce and Mrs Tahna Kim Pearce, both registered physiotherapists of Auckland (the Physiotherapists). The Physiotherapists are a married couple and agreed that the charges could be heard together. The Tribunal agreed that this was appropriate as the charges were not contested by the Physiotherapists.
The charges related to treatments claimed from the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) for treatments provided to each other and other family members between December 2014 and January 2017.
Mr Pearce provided the following treatments:
- 77 treatments to his wife;
- 60 treatments to other family members
Mrs Pearce provided the following treatments:
- 195 treatments to her husband;
- 86 treatments to other family members
The total financial benefit to Mr Pearce was $8,915.16 and the total financial benefit to Mrs Pearce was $18,358.27. All incorrectly claimed money has been repaid to ACC prior to the Tribunal hearing.
Mrs Pearce is no longer practising as a physiotherapist.
The hearing proceeded on the basis of an agreed summary of facts. The Physiotherapists admitted the charges and that their conduct amounted to professional misconduct.
The Tribunal found:
There was no justification or exceptional circumstances in treating family which was in contravention of ACC’s funding policy.
The Physiotherapists did not maintain appropriate professional boundaries when treating family members.
The Physiotherapists did not provide explicit advice to family members as part of the consent process on the issues associated with the treatment of family.
The Physiotherapists did not seek independent verification of their assessments, diagnosis and management plans or make a referral to the patient’s GP or to a specialist for verification. Neither considered an alternative provider to take over the management of family members’ conditions.
The Tribunal was satisfied that each of the particulars of the charges were established both separately and cumulatively. The conduct of the Physiotherapists amounted to professional misconduct.
- censured both Physiotherapists;
- fined each Physiotherapist $3,500.00;
- ordered that Mr Pearce must practice for nine months under the supervision of a Board approved supervisor at his own cost;
- ordered that Mr Pearce must undertake an education course within 3 months.
- ordered that in the event Mrs Pearce recommences practice she must practise for nine months under the supervision of a Board approved supervisor at her own cost;
- ordered that in the event Mrs Pearce recommences practice she must undertake an education course within 3 months; and
- ordered both Physiotherapists pay 35% of the cost of investigating, prosecuting and hearing their individual charge.