Reporting Unlicensed Practices Process & Violations of the AHA, Inc. Code of Ethics



How to File a Complaint with Your State Licensing Board

 By the AHA, Inc. Ethics and Advocacy Committee

Unlicensed practice may be defined as a person claiming to perform activities of a licensed healthcare professional such as Physical Therapy, Speech Language Pathology, and/or Occupational Therapy. When you become aware of unlicensed practice in your state (or another) as a licensed healthcare professional you are ethically* required to report this activity. The best way is to contact that state’s Professional Licensing Board. The best process is to:

  1. Look up the Professional Licensing Board website for the profession the person is claiming to perform.
  2. Verify the licensure status of the individual you are researching.  Is the license current, expired, or unlicensed?
  3. Next find the location on the site to “File a Complaint”.
  4. Find the “Forms” section. You may need to print a form and mail it, or file electronically: this varies by state.
  5. Complete the form using as much detail as possible. If the unlicensed practice has a website or Facebook page promoting the unlicensed activity, take a screenshot for your records. You may need to provide a copy to the Licensing Board, as well.
  6. Most complaint forms may be completed anonymously, however, this makes the complaint hard to track.
  7. The State may choose to investigate.

It is also recommended that you contact the applicable state’s professional therapy organization(s), as they may take immediate action. State OT/PT/SLP associations have been know to write a cease and desist letter regardless of involvement with the licensing board. A list of the state associations for AOTA, APTA and ASHA are found on the AHA, Inc. website under the Resources tab.

You may want to consider alerting the national organization (such as APTA, ASHA, AOTA) governing the unlicensed activity, as well. These organizations write effective cease and desist letters, as well.

*Please refer to the AOTA Code of Ethics, APTA Code of Ethics and ASHA Code of Ethics.


How to File an Alleged Violation of the AHA, Inc. Code of Ethics

It is the duty of all AHA, Inc. members to come forward with evidence of perceived violations of the AHA, Inc. Code of Ethics.  However, each AHA, Inc. member should be mindful of his or her professional obligation regarding confidentiality and possible sanctions for abuse of the complaint procedures.  Your signature on the Complaint form signifies that the complaint is brought to the AHA, Inc. Code of Ethics Grievance Committee in good faith and not for the purpose of resolving private, business, legal, or other disputes for which more appropriate forums exist.

Upon review of your submission, the Code of Ethics Grievance Committee will take the following steps:

  1. anonymous complaints are not accepted;
  2. a copy of the complaint form and all provided documents will be provided to the individual/facility/private practice against whom the complaint has been filed;
  3. the respondent will be contacted by a representative of the Code of Ethics Grievance Committee to receive their input into the complaint;
  4. the Code of Ethics Grievance Committee shall attempt to resolve the issues around the complaint;
  5. if there is no satisfactory resolution the issue will be moved up to the AHA, Inc. Professional Standards Committee and then the AHA, Inc. Board of Directors for final resolution and appropriate action.

To formally file a complaint with the Code of Ethics Grievance Committee Click Here for the appropriate next steps.

 Click Here for AHA, Inc. Member Code of Ethics