Physiotherapists provide critical care services to patients. If you are considering opening a physiotherapy practice, you will first need to understand which industry standards apply. We have created a legal checklist to help acquaint you with your obligations so you can focus on the welfare of your patients.

1. Registering as a Physiotherapist

Physiotherapists can apply for a prescribed qualification with the Australian Health Practioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) which supports the Physiotherapy Board of Australia. You will need to pay an initial fee as well as an annual registration fee.

The Board also has continuing professional development standards and will require you to sign a declaration of compliance each time you renew your registration.

2. Medicare Registration

Before opening your new practice, you should also apply for a Medicare Provider number. This is important because clients can claim healthcare rebates as part of their healthcare plans.

3. Industry Membership

Registered physiotherapists have access to the Australian Physiotherapist Association (APA). The APA represents approximately 75% of Australian physiotherapists. The industry body has developed voluntary standards for its members to deliver quality and safe health care. They also provide a national accreditation scheme for private practices.

4. Starting Your Business

When setting up your physiotherapy practice, you will need to choose the most appropriate business structure. We recommend a company structure. A company is a separate legal entity, which reduces your personal liability and protects your assets. This structure is also beneficial if you intend to grow your business (for instance, by franchising) or sell as it helps with succession planning. 

5. Registering for an ABN, TFN and GST

As a company, you will need to apply for the following registrations

  • Australian Company Number; 
  • Australian Business Number (ABN); and 
  • Tax File Number (TFN). 

If you anticipate your annual turnover to be more than $75,000, you will also need to register for the goods and services tax (GST). You can register for GST at the same time as your ABN and TFN.

6. Protecting Your Name With a Trade Mark

If you have chosen a unique name for your practice, you may consider registering a trade mark to secure proprietary rights over your business name. A good trade mark should be unique. For instance, Physioworks, Physiomaxx and Lifestyle Physio. Marks that are too descriptive of the goods and services you provide will be difficult to register.

7. Advertising Standards

Certain states and territories monitor advertising standards. For instance, section 133 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (NSW) No 86a regulates advertising in the health services industry. In particular, your physiotherapy business must not:

  • engage in conduct that is misleading, deceptive or false;
  • offer a gift or discounts to attract clients;
  • use testimonials;
  • create an unreasonable expectation of the benefits of treatment; or
  • encourage the unnecessary use of treatment.

8. Leasing Premises

Unless you intend to purchase a property outright, you’ll likely enter into a retail or commercial lease. It’s important to understand your rights and obligations under the lease. In particular, you should try and negotiate the following key terms before signing: 

  • the rental amount;
  • a rent-free period;
  • an option period to extend the lease;
  • what you can use the premises for; and
  • whether you can sub-lease or license the property.

9. Employing Staff

Building a team is a significant step, and you should carefully consider their role in your practice. Will there be other physiotherapists or helping with administrative tasks? Are they casual, part-time or full-time employees? This classification determines what type of employment agreement you will require and what award (if any) applies. 

If you choose to engage physiotherapists as contractors rather than employees, you will need a contractor’s agreement. This agreement will outline, among other things: 

  • the scope of work, 
  • use of equipment (if any), and 
  • obligations concerning insurance. 

10. Insurance

The Board has outlined that all physiotherapists require professional indemnity insurance. Physiotherapists need to submit a declaration which confirms that they have insurance and a Certificate of Currency provided by their insurer to receive their annual registration from the Board. Further, you also have to obtain work cover insurance in the event one of your employees sustains an injury at work.

12. Terms and Conditions

When engaging clients online or physically in your practice, you should have well-drafted terms and conditions to govern the relationship between your practice and your client. This document will ensure that payment terms, obligations and privacy, amongst other key considerations, are clearly set out.

***

If you have any questions or need assistance opening up your physiotherapy business, get in touch with our business lawyers on 1300 544 755. 

About LegalVision: LegalVision is a tech-driven, full-service commercial law firm that uses technology to deliver a faster, better quality and more cost-effective client experience.
Sophie Glover

Get a Free Quote Now

If you would like to receive a free fixed-fee quote or get in touch with our team, fill out the form below.

  • We will be in touch shortly with a quote. By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails from LegalVision and can unsubscribe at any time. See our full Privacy Policy.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Privacy Policy Snapshot

We collect and store information about you. Let us explain why we do this.

What information do you collect?

We collect a range of data about you, including your contact details, legal issues and data on how you use our website.

How do you collect information?

We collect information over the phone, by email and through our website.

What do you do with this information?

We store and use your information to deliver you better legal services. This mostly involves communicating with you, marketing to you and occasionally sharing your information with our partners.

How do I contact you?

You can always see what data you’ve stored with us.

Questions, comments or complaints? Reach out on 1300 544 755 or email us at info@legalvision.com.au

View Privacy Policy