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.



AHA, Inc. Code of Ethics Grievance Submission Instructions 

The Code of Ethics Grievance Review Process was developed to safeguard licensed professionals incorporating equine movement into their  practice against unethical behavior or actions which go against the American Hippotherapy Association, 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. 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. 

Form Submission

The complaint form may be submitted online by clicking on this link Complaint Form for Alleged Violation of AHA, Inc. Code of Ethics. The complainant must include all information in the required fields as well as attaching supporting documentation for the complaint to be accepted and processed.  Anonymous complaints will not be accepted.

Supporting Documentation

Supporting documentation must be attached to the complaint form. If confidential information is
included in the documentation any identifying information must be redacted. Documentation
may include but is not limited to the following:

● Relationship with the respondent
● Circumstances of the alleged violation
● Dates when alleged violations occurred
● Copies of communications that are relevant to the complaint
● Copies of correspondence if this complaint was filed with another organization (e.g. licensing Board)

Grievance Review Process

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

1. The respondent will be contacted by a representative of the Code of Ethics Grievance
Committee to receive their input into the complaint;
2. A copy of the complaint form and all supporting documentation will be provided to the
individual/facility/private practice against whom the complaint has been filed with the
complainant’s personal information redacted;
3. The Code of Ethics Grievance Committee will attempt to resolve the issues around the
4. If there is no satisfactory resolution the issue will be referred 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 a copy of the AHA, Inc. Member Code of Ethics