2662. It is the intent of the Legislature that the board shall seek ways and means to identify and rehabilitate physical therapists and physical therapist assistants whose competency is impaired due to abuse of dangerous drugs or alcohol so that they may be treated and returned to the practice of physical therapy in a manner which will not endanger the public health and safety.
2663. The board shall establish and administer a diversion program for the rehabilitation of physical therapists and physical therapist assistants whose competency is impaired due to the abuse of drugs or alcohol. The board may contract with any other state agency or a private organization to perform its duties under this article. The board may establish one or more diversion evaluation committees to assist it in carrying out its duties under this article. Any diversion evaluation committee established by the board shall operate under the direction of the diversion program manager, as designated by the executive officer of the board. The program manager has the primary responsibility to review and evaluate recommendations of the committee.
2664. (a) Any diversion evaluation committee established by the board shall have at least three members. In making appointments to a diversion evaluation committee, the board shall consider the appointment of persons who are either recovering from substance abuse and have been free from substance abuse for at least three years immediately prior to their appointment or who are knowledgeable in the treatment and recovery of substance abuse. The board also shall consider the appointment of a physician and surgeon who is board certified in psychiatry.
(b) Appointments to a diversion evaluation committee shall be by the affirmative vote of a majority of members appointed to the board. Each appointment shall be at the pleasure of the board for a term not to exceed four years. In its discretion, the board may stagger the terms of the initial members so appointed.
(c) A majority of the members of a diversion evaluation committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. Any action requires an affirmative vote of a majority of those members present at a meeting constituting at least a quorum. Each diversion evaluation committee shall elect from its membership a chairperson and a vice chairperson. Notwithstanding the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act (Article 9 (commencing with Section 11120) of Chapter 1 of Part 1 of Division 3 of Title 2 of the Government Code), relating to public meetings, a diversion evaluation committee may convene in closed session to consider matters relating to any physical therapist or physical therapist assistant applying for or participating in a diversion program, and a meeting which will be convened entirely in closed session need not comply with Section 11125 of the Government Code. A diversion evaluation committee shall only convene in closed session to the extent it is necessary to protect the privacy of an applicant or participant. Each member of a diversion evaluation committee shall receive a per diem and shall be reimbursed for expenses as provided in Section 103.
2665. Each diversion evaluation committee has the following duties and responsibilities:
(a) To evaluate physical therapists and physical therapist assistants who request participation in the program and to make recommendations. In making recommendations, the committee shall consider any recommendations from professional consultants on the admission of applicants to the diversion program.
(b) To review and designation of treatment facilities to which physical therapists and physical therapist assistants in the diversion program may be referred.
(c) To receive and review information concerning physical therapists and physical therapist assistants participating in the program.
(d) Calling meetings as necessary to consider the requests of physical therapists and physical therapist assistants to participate in the diversion program, to consider reports regarding participants in the program, and to consider any other matters referred to it by the board.
(e) To consider whether each participant in the diversion program may with safety continue or resume the practice of physical therapy.
(f) To set forth in writing the terms and conditions of the diversion agreement that is approved by the program manager for each physical therapist and physical therapist assistant participating in the program, including treatment, supervision, and monitoring requirements.
(g) Holding a general meeting at least twice a year, which shall be open and public, to evaluate the diversion program's progress, to prepare reports to be submitted to the board, and to suggest proposals for changes in the diversion program.
(h) For the purposes of Division 3.6 (commencing with Section 810) of Title 1 of the Government Code, any member of a diversion evaluation committee shall be considered a public employee. No board or diversion evaluation committee member, contractor, or agent thereof, shall be liable for any civil damage because of acts or omissions which may occur while acting in good faith in a program established pursuant to this article.
2666. (a) Criteria for acceptance into the diversion program shall include all of the following:
(1) The applicant shall be licensed as a physical therapist or approved as a physical therapist assistant by the board and shall be a resident of California.
(2) The applicant shall be found to abuse dangerous drugs or alcoholic beverages in a manner which may affect his or her ability to practice physical therapy safely or competently.
(3) The applicant shall have voluntarily requested admission to the program or shall be accepted into the program in accordance with terms and conditions resulting from a disciplinary action.
(4) The applicant shall agree to undertake any medical or psychiatric examination ordered to evaluate the applicant for participation in the program.
(5) The applicant shall cooperate with the program by providing medical information, disclosure authorizations, and releases of liability as may be necessary for participation in the program.
(6) The applicant shall agree in writing to cooperate with all elements of the treatment program designed for him or her.
Any applicant may be denied participation in the program if the board, the program manager, or a diversion evaluation committee determines that the applicant will not substantially benefit from participation in the program or that the applicant's participation in the program creates too great a risk to the public health, safety, or welfare.
(b) A participant may be terminated from the program for any of the following reasons:
(1) The participant has successfully completed the treatment program.
(2) The participant has failed to comply with the treatment program designated for him or her.
(3) The participant fails to meet any of the criteria set forth in subdivision (a) or (c).
(4) It is determined that the participant has not substantially benefited from participation in the program or that his or her continued participation in the program creates too great a risk to the public health, safety, or welfare. Whenever an applicant is denied participation in the program or a participant is terminated from the program for any reason other than the successful completion of the program, and it is determined that the continued practice of physical therapy by that individual creates too great a risk to the public health, safety, and welfare, that fact shall be reported to the executive officer of the board and all documents and information pertaining to and supporting that conclusion shall be provided to the executive officer. The matter may be referred for investigation and disciplinary action by the board. Each physical therapist or physical therapy assistant who requests participation in a diversion program shall agree to cooperate with the recovery program designed for him or her. Any failure to comply with that program may result in termination of participation in the program.
The diversion evaluation committee shall inform each participant in the program of the procedures followed in the program, of the rights and responsibilities of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant in the program, and the possible results of noncompliance with the program.
(c) In addition to the criteria and causes set forth in subdivision (a), the board may set forth in its regulations additional criteria for admission to the program or causes for termination from the program.
2667. All board and diversion evaluation committee records and records of proceedings and participation of a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant in a program shall be confidential and are not subject to discovery or subpoena.
2668. (a) A fee to cover the actual cost of administering the program shall be charged for participation in the program. If the board contracts with any other entity to carry out this article, at the discretion of the board, the fee may be collected and retained by that entity.
(b) If the board contracts with any other entity to carry out this section, the executive officer of the board, or his or her designee, shall review the activities and performance of the contractor on a biennial basis. As part of this review, the board shall review files of participants in the program. However, the names of participants who entered the program voluntarily shall remain confidential, except when the review reveals misdiagnosis, case mismanagement, or noncompliance by the participant.
(c) Subdivision (a) shall apply to all new participants entering into the board's diversion program on or after January 1, 2007. Subdivision (a) shall apply on and after January 1, 2008, to participants currently enrolled as of December 31, 2007.
2669. Participation in a diversion program shall not be a defense to any disciplinary action which may be taken by the board. This section does not preclude the board from commencing disciplinary action against a physical therapist or physical therapist assistant who is terminated unsuccessfully from the program under this section. That disciplinary action may not include as evidence any confidential information.