The Pinoy PT Crisis

Posted by Abdel Kadz on Thursday, June 07, 2007 with No comments
There is a herculean problem beleaguering the Filipino physical therapy community this very moment. The Federation of State Boards of Physical Therapy (FSBPT), the agency tasked to administer the National Physical Therapy Examinations, has issued a statement ordering the holding of the “scores of all candidates who graduated from Philippine physical therapy education programs and sat for the National Physical Therapy Examination [NPTE].” This took effect last May 16, 2007.

This action of the FSBPT was due to “recalled questions” that Philippine review centers give to their reviewees in the hope that these will help them in passing the PT licensure examinations in the United States. A particular review center was raided by representatives of the FSBPT and the NBI last January, and these “questions” were confiscated along with enrolment forms and other documents the agencies deem are crucial to their investigation. Recalled questions are those questions that examinees who already took the examinations commit to memory and are then given to the review centers to be used as a means to help its reviewees to be “better” prepared for the NPTE, and in the process, totally disregarding and breaching the FSBPT confidentiality and security clause that “STRICTLY PROHIBITS ANY SHARING OF ANY INFORMATION WHATSOEVER ABOUT ANY QUESTION CONTAINED WITHIN ANY PAST OR PRESENT NPTE.” With this selfish action, it resulted to the tarnishing of the integrity of Filipino health care, and as well as putting into bad light the entire Filipino PT community.

I was surprised to learn of this issue just recently, and as a PT “who graduated from Philippine physical therapy education programs,” I cannot help but be disappointed with FSBPT and be irate at these review centers. Disappointed, because I personally feel that their action is discriminatory, for they have only zeroed in on those “who graduated from Philippine physical therapy education programs.” It’s not just “anybody.” It's not the hispanics, the blacks, caucasians, and any other race for that matter. It's the Filipino PT. It's professionals like ME. Period. If that's not discrimination, then I don't know what that is.

I have two friends who reviewed with the center involved, and they’re at a standstill now considering that the center’s enrolment forms were confiscated. When they will sit for the NPTE in the future, it may be “construed” that these questions came into their possession or knowledge, however hypothetical, and their scores will be held, and the FSBPT will then “psychometrically analyze the data, and seek input from the testing community, legal staff, jurisdictions and government authorities of the Philippines" before their scores will be finally released.

I have been optimistic with my application to work in the United States as a physical therapist before this issue. But now, I’m having second thoughts. I’m still in the first stage of the process, and after the release of my credentials evaluation result, it would be the NPTE for me. To prepare for that, time must be spent in the review, and this is where review centers come in. My employer said not to enroll yet until all the other centers are “cleared” for doing otherwise may jeopardize my ability to obtain a license in the future. But still, there are those who are willing to take such drastic measures just to have RPT affixed after their name. But we’re professionals for crying out loud, so why resort to this form of cheating?

I’m crestfallen that, for the nth time, it’s the Juan dela Cruzes who are at fault. From the Nursing licensure leakage, which has now become a/n (inter)national scandal, to this. We Filipinos, when will we ever learn?