Friday, July 23, 2010

URGENT: USA cred. authority (FSBPT) bans Philippines graduates from physical therapy exam for 1+ year (NPTE)

I want to invite you to read about a recent controversial decision that has affected an entire country and would like to hear your feedback.  Plus, if you agree with me on this post and you live in the United States, please write to your congressman.

I have outlined my points below.
  • WHO. A non-profit organization, called Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT) certifies most physical therapy / physical therapy applicants in the United States. 
    • Presumably, most of the income that they earn every year originate from the state governments' referrals for their exams and services and any taxpayer funded support from those respective state health boards. 
    • This non-profit, pseudo-government organization holds a virtual monopoly on physical therapy exams.
    • As part of their service to the government and the American public, FSBPT investigates whether test exam questions are being recalled from previous test takers and are being shared.  
    • Their security checks attempt to ensure the protection of the American public by making sure all physical therapy exam passers have the knowledge to practice this health profession.
  • WHAT.  In the past, FSBPT has found cheaters in the United States and other countries.  
    • This time they found alleged cheaters in Manila, Philippines, specifically in one island. In particular, a review center called St. Louis Review Center (SLRC) stood out as the biggest issue "...and its alleged owners/operators, Gerard L. Martin, Roger P. Tong-An and Carlito Balita...".
    • Instead of banning graduates from that review center or from that area, they banned graduates of the entire country from taking the normal NPTE exam.  
    • To sum it up: potential issue in one island, FSBPT bans 7,100 islands.
    • When asked, if there were Philippine PT graduates that already live in the U.S. and never stepped foot in the alleged review center, would they also be banned from taking the normal exam?  Answer: They are still banned. Here is their full e-mail:

    • On Sat, Jul 17, 2010 at 1:31 AM,
                Shana Dawkins wrote:           Don,
      Testing is being halted for new PT and PTA NPTE registrations for graduates of Egyptian, Indian, Pakistani and Philippine programs. This applies even to candidates residing in the U.S. 
      You will be required to take the NPTE-YRLY if you wish to test when it becomes available and will not be eligible until then.
      Separate PT and PTA examinations, called the NPTE-YRLY, will be developed for Egyptian, Indian, Pakistani and Philippine programs.
      The Federation estimates that the new examinations will be available in fall 2011. The plan is to continue to offer the NPTE-YRLY once a year for graduates of those programs going forward.
      The locations at which this test will be given have not yet been determined. This decision is final and there are no exceptions.
      Please contact our office by phone if you have additional questions rather than responding to this email.
      Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy
      124 West Street South Third Floor
      Alexandria, VA 22314 703-739-9420

      From: Don Sausa
      Sent: Wednesday, July 14, 2010 1:12 PM
      Subject: NPTE for Philippines graduate living in US?
      I understand there's security concerns in test/exam centers in the Philippines. How about for graduates already in the United States and are U.S. citizens living here but graduated from a Philippines school? Are those individuals banned too from taking the test? Even though they've never been to a Philippines review center?

  • SANCTIONS AGAINST THE PHILIPPINES: Fair Action? Or Discrimination? I have officially sent a request to FSBPT today to see meeting minutes, voting records, and investigation notes to help me understand whether their decision to ban an entire country from the normal NPTE exam was fair.
    • Unequal treatment? Graduates in America were also found cheating in the past and in a more recent case even provided false credentials to get into an exam.  With such blatant fraud, how come U.S.-based graduates aren't also in question and aren't banned from normal NPTE exams? (Obviously, a rhetorical question. My point is, I disagree with discriminating against an entire population. Punish the criminals, not the innocents!)
  • POINT #1 - Federation's Decision Hurts America's Health: America's schools has not been able to sufficiently meet the demands of an aging population.  As more people retire, the needs for nurses and physical therapists have been increasing.  
    • In fact, the demand is so high that Wall Street Journal's Career Journal considers the PT profession to be one of the eight best and most in demand professions in America.  
    • As a case study, a recent article in Puget Sound Business Journal, shows that Washington has over 320,000+ unemployed individuals in public record yet they could not fill any of the physical therapy openings at Symmetry Physical Therapy's clinic.  There's simply no supply.  
    • In my opinion, the Federation's decision to cut the supply will negatively affect patient care.  
  • POINT #2 - Federation's Decision Is Inhumane: The plane ticket to America, meals, hotels, the visa clearance, and the difficulty of going through U.S. immigration rules by itself, could easily cost a college graduate's family well over $5000.  This is coming from a country that has a yearly per capita income of $3,300 (source: CIA World Book).  In layman's terms, an average Filipino family would have to give up almost two years worth of income just to take this exam.
  • POINT #3 - Federation's Decision Is Hurting Innocent People, Including Those In Poverty: The Federation has an impressive list of health professionals in their board of directors. A group of health professionals that know the in's and out's of the health industry. But the relative ease of this decision and re-affirmation of it days later is very concerning and shows a lack of depth or understanding on what they have done to thousands of families. They have punished innocent PT graduates by directly banning an entire country's graduates.
    • There were innocent PT graduates that spent their family's life savings that's in the U.S. already to take the exam and now they have been told to wait one year.  
    • But the truth is: these applicants have to re-take all of the visa work, the immigration work, language tests, and other processes all over again!  
    • They have to once again find the same amount of money (nearly 2 years worth of an average family's income) because the PT graduates' visas and certificates have expiration dates.  They can't stay in the U.S. indefinitely.
    • As we speak, there are now people suffering from this decision -- innocent people, a significant number of which are in poverty. What happened to due process?  Innocent before proven guilty?

1. You can fax FSBPT at (703) 299-3110, and call them at (703) 299-3100 and write to them at 509 Wythe Street, Alexandria, Virginia 22314. You should also e-mail them at: It is important that you send and communicate your dissatisfaction across all lines of communication, to make sure they receive the message.

2. Even if you are not a candidate, if you disagree with the discriminatory actions taken by the FSBPT that affects the life savings of thousands of candidates and applicants, you should communicate your dissatisfaction to FSBPT. Please be cordial as possible, along the lines of: "While I agree that an investigation needs to be conducted, I disagree with discriminating against an entire country."

3. If you are a U.S. citizen or U.S. resident, write to your congressman and senator.  Join the petition and instantly write to your congressman.

4. Write to your attorney general's office (U.S. citizen or legal resident) and ask for an investigation on the legality of such discriminatory practices.

5. Write to your physical therapy state board body.

6. Contact all Asian and Filipino associations and ask them if they should tolerate FSBPT's discriminatory actions.

7. If you are a lawyer or know of a lawyer in your state, ask them if they know of any state statutes that FSBPT may have broken since their ban is across all states against any PT graduate from the Philippines...even if that applicant never set foot in a Philippines review center.

8. Contact physical therapy associations in your state and lobby for support.


Anonymous said...

i am so disapointed with this news....

Anonymous said...

at times I am lossing confidence and hope. I value US companies and agencies to uphold legal process and follow appropriate proceedings yet these actions of FSBPT is so contradictory to what USA is about and to what Pres. Obama projects on the entire world. No matter what their reasons are it should have been done with prior notices or advise that way the effect will not be that drastic and maybe we will understand.

Publisher said...

Don't lose hope!

People that make these decisions do so in a shroud of secrecy behind carefully crafted corporate laws that protect them from accountability and transparency from the American public.

You must let the U.S. Congress know about this abuse of power. It will take time, but justice will prevail.

Unknown said...

I am so disappointed with FSBPT's decision. I left my job 2 months ago to concentrate on my exam.I took it and was just a point away from passing.Despite everything,I didn't lose hope and was planning to retake the exam a month after, only to find out that they suspended it.I am at the darkest hour of my life right now.My only hope was to pass the exam.It seems like they closed all doors to my dreams.
I've been in the States for more than 5 yrs now.I wasn't able to concentrate on the exam for I chose to work to provide for my family in the Philippines and my daughter. Being a single mom,work for me just could not stop.
I called FSBPT,although I know they won't listen to me,told them that I haven't been to the Phils for more than 5 yrs but unfortunately, they said, because I was a graduate there, I am also suspended.
I agree with you, Don, there is discrimmination here. Like I told FSBPT, "What about me, innocent people like me?". I don't understand why a whole nation will be punished because someone did something.
I am still not over my grief. Somehow, my faith is the only thing that keeps me in one piece right now.That somehow, someone will listen and we will be heard.
I just wanna thank you for fighting with us.And I hope there will be an end to this.

Gerald said...

The ban that FSBPT is imposing on physical therapists who were educated in Egypt, India, Pakistan and the Philippines is unjust and unreasonable. I wonder what would happen if other institutions would follow FSBPT's example. Imagine the International Olympic Committee saying, "Several American athletes have been found to be using steroids. Therefore, the IOC has decided to ban all Americans from participating in the 2012 London Olympics. The ban is inspired by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy." Now imagine the International Court of Justice saying, "The Nazis have been found to be guilty of genocide. And because they were Germans, this court has decided to punish all Germans by banning them from going out of Germany within the next twelve months. This ban is inspired by the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy." Finally, imagine the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services saying, "The Taliban, a terrorist organization, happens to be based in Afghanistan. Therefore, the USCIS has decided to ban all Afghans from entering the US. This ban is inspired the Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy."

Gerald said...

In January 2007, agents of the NBI, in cooperation with FSBPT, raided the St. Louis Review Center in Manila. Surely, the names of the reviewees were discovered. Did FSBPT ban those reviewees from taking the US National Physical Therapy Examination? No; in April 2007, FSBPT nullified the scores of 20 NPTE takers, but at least they were not banned from taking the NPTE. In July 2010, or three years and six months after January 2007, FSBPT announced a ban on all Philippine-educated physical therapists with regard to the NPTE, even if they have not set foot on SLRC. It's like punishing Cristiano Ronaldo and other Portuguese football players for colonization-related wrongdoings of Portugal generations ago.

Gerald said...

What if the US government becomes inspired by the FSBPT ban and decides to bomb the entire Afganistan just because of the Taliban? Would you think that would be justifiable? And would you think we should just keep quiet about it?

To be silent on the FSBPT ban is to be irresponsible. If we want to make the world a better place in which to live, we should condemn discriminatory acts like what the Nazis did to Anne Frank and her family, and like the "separate but equal" policy that was prevalent in the US before the Civil Rights Act was passed.

And so let us continue to complain about FSBPT's uncivilized act.

Bubba said...

I just have a question on something you wrote. You said "I understand there's security concerns in test/exam centers in the Philippines."
My question is if you think that it is odd that the TOEFL is given locally in the Philippines? Why can't FSBPT have a database of thousands of questions that are freely available and you don't know what questions you may get in the test? They can even add new questions as they see fit. I think that the test is a measure of a person's knowledge. Does it really matter where or how a person obtained the knowledge.
Also, FSBPT has taken this action based on their allegations and not on any legal basis. Absolutely nothing has been proven in any court of law. This is indeed discriminatory.
I am an American living in the Philippines and want to be sure everybody knows that FSBPT is a private company and not affiliated with the USA government in any way. Yes, I have been busy writing my congressmen.

Publisher said...


TOEFL is an international English exam and isn't necessarily tied to a government agency or state board.

You ever wonder why the U.S. govt only buys American made cars? There's some politics in play, even if Japanese and German cars are often considered better quality.

These semi-private organizations and state boards are govt funded or indirectly receiving taxpayer support. IMHO, with high unemployment in America, I doubt it would "look good" for them to officially test for and invite foreign trained medical practitioners in foreign lands. This is true even if there's still a lack of nurses, and PTs in America. Washington state has over 300k people unemployed yet no one applies for the PT posts for months on end.

Thanks, -Don

Anonymous said...

last few month back ,an indian nurse was raped in US,if india blamed the US and banning all the nurses to travel to US because of security then who will take of their health industry within a week US become cementry,all we need to do is to pressurize our country people to come and protest against this ban

Anonymous said...

It is good that there is a ban on these countries I have worked with so many so called professional PT that had no clue as to what they were doing. I am not surprised