Professional Practice Structures

To obtain information on all the types of professional practice structures authorized by law, please access the following link. Additional information regarding private practice and professional partnerships will be provided.

The main focus of this section is on corporations. Before entering into any type of corporation or professional partnerships, legal advice is recommended.

  • Some licensees set up their business as a professional service corporation (PC). A professional service corporation is authorized to practice the profession of the licensee(s) who own(s) it.
  • Some licensees set up their businesses as a professional service limited liability company (LLC) or a registered limited liability partnership (LLP). These entities are authorized to practice the profession(s) of their owners/partners.
  • Licensed occupational therapy professionals may not set up a general business corporation (GBC) to provide professional services.
  • Except where specifically authorized by law, a general business corporation may not
    • provide professional services to the public
    • exercise any judgment over the delivery of professional services
    • have employees who offer professional services to the public
    • hold itself out as offering professional services
    • share profits or split fees with licensed professionals
  • A GBC may employ licensed professionals to provide in-house services to its own employees. For example, General Motors may employ an occupational therapist or an occupational therapy assistant (under supervision) to provide services to the employees of General Motors. However, General Motors may not set up a business to provide occupational therapy services to the public.
  • A GBC may be a referral service agency, a management services corporation, or an employment agency. For example, a GBC may do the following:
    • refer OTs and OTAs to work as employees of a health care facility
    • find jobs for licensed professionals
    • find licensed professionals for potential employers
    • manage the services of licensed professionals. This may include providing services to the professional for a fee, eg., scheduling or billing.

    Example: A GBC has an arrangement with Hospital A to do its payroll, and the same GBC also finds licensees to work on contract at that facility. Even though the GBC is providing payroll services, Hospital A must be the payer of the check. There must be a clear distinction between who is providing the professional services (Hospital A) and who is providing the management services (the GBC).

  • A professional corporation may not serve as a management services corporation. A PC may only provide services in its field. For example, a hypothetical PC named "Occupational Therapy For Everyone, PC" may only provide occupational therapy services. It cannot offer physical therapy services, massage services or any other professional services. Also, because it is allowed only to provide professional services, it can only manage the services that it provides. That is, it cannot provide strictly management services to other OTs.
  • A professional service limited liability company may provide professional services in more than one profession* provided that the company includes an "owner" (i.e., member) licensed in each of the professions in which the company will offer services. For example, the hypothetical LLC, Health Professionals, has seven members: an acupuncturist, an audiologist, a nurse, an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, a psychologist, and a speech-language pathologist. This LLC may provide services in all of these professions. It may not, however, provide respiratory therapy or chiropractic services, because none of its "owners" are licensed in those two professions. Additionally, only professionals licensed in one of the areas that the PLLC is authorized to practice may become a member or owner of that entity.

*Note that this does not apply in the professions of medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, dentistry, engineering, architecture, land surveying and landscape architecture.

Last Updated: November 15, 2011