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File a Complaint

  • CAPTE considers complaints about programs that are accredited, or are seeking accreditation by CAPTE, and complaints about CAPTE itself.

    Formal Complaints About Programs

    CAPTE has a mechanism to consider formal complaints about physical therapy education programs (PT or PTA) that allege a program is not in compliance with one or more of CAPTE's Evaluative Criteria (for complaints about events occurring before December 31, 2015) or the Standards and Required Elements (for complaints addressing events occurring January 1, 2016 and thereafter) or has violated any of CAPTE's expectations related to academic integrity. CAPTE will consider two types of complaints: those that involve situations subject to formal institution/program due process policies and procedures and those that involve situations not subject to formal due process procedures:

    • If the complainant is involved with an institution/program grievance subject to formal due process and procedure, CAPTE requires that the process be completed prior to initiating CAPTE's formal complaint process, unless the complaint includes an allegation that the institution/program process has not been handled in a timely manner as defined in the institution/program policy, in which case CAPTE will consider the complaint prior to completion of the grievance process. Evidence of completion of the institutional process or of the untimely handling of such must be included in the complaint materials.
    • If the complaint is related to situations that fall outside of formal due process policies and procedures, the complaint may be filed at any time.

    CAPTE will not consider complaints that fall outside its jurisdiction/authority as expressed in the Evaluative Criteria (or Standards and Elements, as appropriate) and the academic integrity statements. When appropriate, complainants will be referred to other organizations to pursue their concern(s).

    CAPTE will not intervene on behalf of individuals or act as a court of appeal for faculty members or students in matters of admission, retention, appointment, promotion, or dismissal. CAPTE will take action only when it believes practices or conditions indicate the program may not be in compliance with the Evaluative Criteria for Accreditation (or the Standards and Required Elements, as appropriate) or the statements listed above.

    In order for CAPTE to consider a formal complaint, several conditions must be met:

    • The complaint must be specifically linked to the relevant Evaluative Criteria (or Standards and Elements, as appropriate) (PT or PTA) or to the integrity statements.
    • The complainant must have exhausted all remedies available through the institution, if appropriate.
    • The complaint must be submitted in writing, using the format prescribed by CAPTE, and must be signed by the complainant.
    • The event(s) being complained about must have occurred at least in part within three (3) years of the date the complaint is filed.

    In reviewing and acting on a complaint, CAPTE cannot and does not function as an arbiter between the complaint and the institution. Should CAPTE find that a complaint has merit and that the program is out of compliance with the Evaluative Criteria (or the Standards and Elements, as appropriate) or the integrity statement(s), CAPTE can only require the program to come into compliance with the Evaluative Criteria (or the Standards and Elements, as appropriate). CAPTE cannot force a program into any specific resolution of the situation that resulted in the complaint.

    To obtain the materials necessary for submitting a complaint, contact the APTA Accreditation Department at 703/706-3245 or at accreditation@apta.org.

    Complaints will ordinarily be reviewed at the next meeting at which complaints may be reviewed (late January, mid-April, late July/early August, early November) following receipt of the complaint. In order for the process to be completed in time for considered review by CAPTE, complaints must be received no later than ninety (90) days prior to a meeting. At its discretion, CAPTE may choose to consider complaints between its regularly scheduled meetings. Ordinarily, such consideration will occur only when delay in consideration of the complaint could have a serious adverse effect on either the complainant or the institution.

    Anonymous Complaints About Programs

    Complaints that are submitted anonymously are not considered to be formal complaints and will not be reviewed by CAPTE. Depending on the circumstances and severity of the complaint, it may or may not be forwarded to the program for information purposes only. The decision to forward is made by the Director of the Accreditation Department. A record of anonymous complaints will be maintained by the Department of Accreditation.

    Complaints About CAPTE

    Anyone may file a signed complaint about the agency with CAPTE. Complaints about the agency's criteria, its procedures or other aspects of the agency's work, including its staff and volunteers, will be considered by CAPTE. To be considered as a formal complaint against CAPTE, however, a complaint must involve issues other than concern about a specific program action.

    Complaints must be submitted in writing. The event(s) being complained about must have occurred at least in part within one (1) year of the date the complaint is filed. The complaint must be identified as a complaint and submitted independent of any other documentation submitted to CAPTE. The complaint must 1) set forth and clearly describe the specific nature of the complaint, 2) provide supporting data for the charge, 3) specify the changes sought by the complainant, and 4) identify the person making the complaint.

    Complaints are submitted to the Department of Accreditation, APTA, 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, Virginia, 22314. CAPTE acts on these types of complaints at its next regularly scheduled meeting following receipt of the complaint.

  • American Physical Therapy Association | 1111 North Fairfax Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-1488 703/684-APTA (2782) | 800/999-2782 | 703/684-7343 (fax)