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Discipline Summary

Melissa Coiffe (2005)

Following a hearing on November 28, 2005, a panel of the Discipline Committee of the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario found that Ms. Melissa Coiffe committed acts of professional misconduct by:

  • contravening a standard of practice of the profession or failing to maintain the standards of practice of the profession;
  • failing to keep records in accordance with the standards of practice of the profession;
  • engaging in conduct or performing an act relevant to the practice of the profession that having regard to all circumstances would reasonably be regarded by members as disgraceful, dishonourable or unprofessional; and
  • misappropriating property from a client or workplace.

Ms. Coiffe and the College presented an agreed statement of facts, which was accepted by the Discipline Committee panel. Based on the agreed statement of facts, the panel found that during the 2002-2003 school year, while Ms. Coiffe worked in an Integrated Education and Therapy program, Ms. Coiffe made virtually no records or reports in respect of six high need students. When notified of these absent records or reports, Ms. Coiffe failed to provide, make or replace even the essential records or reports for many months. In addition, Ms. Coiffe failed to participate in a chart audit with her employer. The panel also found that Ms. Coiffe failed to perform her duties (or failed to perform her duties on a timely basis), provided misleading information to her employer and failed to provide the expected documentation with respect to two research projects between 2002 and 2004. In addition, Ms. Coiffe failed to respond to numerous communications from her employer and colleagues and failed to attend a scheduled meeting at the College. Ms. Coiffe also breached confidentiality by removing research and clinical information and failing to return the information to her employer.

Ms. Coiffe admitted that her conduct constituted professional misconduct.

The Discipline Committee panel accepted a joint submission on penalty that was presented by the College and Ms. Coiffe (with two minor amendments that were agreed to by the parties). Accordingly, the panel ordered:

  1. A three-month suspension of Ms. Coiffe’s certificate of registration, with two months of the suspension to be remitted if Ms. Coiffe complies with the remainder of the order;

  2. The following terms, conditions and limitations to be imposed on Ms. Coiffe’s certificate of registration, requiring Ms. Coiffe to:

    a) within 60 days, diligently search her possessions for all documents she has relating to her work at the Employer and deliver them to the Centre and then deliver an affidavit to the Registrar that she has done so; and provide an apology to the Centre and her colleagues there for her conduct in a form that is acceptable to the Registrar;

    b) fully cooperate with and participate in all aspects of the Quality Assurance Program as required including a peer review that includes an on-site evaluation. This cooperation includes responding promptly and appropriately to all written and verbal communications from the College and to diligently completing any enhancement opportunities recommended by or any remediation program specified by the Quality Assurance Committee. In connection with this term, condition and limitation, Ms. Coiffe has indicated a desire to have an on-site evaluation and the Panel recommends that the Quality Assurance Committee direct that an on-site evaluation take place;

    c) ensure that performance review reports acceptable to the Registrar be delivered to the Registrar by Ms. Coiffe’s employer on a semi annual basis. A performance report shall be provided for each six months of actual practice of Ms. Coiffe for the next two years. Each performance report shall contain a chart review by Ms. Coiffe’s supervisor (or an alternative person acceptable to the Registrar) of at least five randomly selected client charts. Each performance report shall also contain a section completed by an occupational therapist who attended with Ms. Coiffe on at least two client visits during the six month period and which contains an assessment of Ms. Coiffe’s overall assessment process, clinical reasoning, documentation and follow-up with each client. After one year the Registrar may, at her discretion, waive the need for the latter portion of the performance report (i.e., the occupational therapist attending with Ms. Coiffe on at least two client visits). If Ms. Coiffe’s supervisor and/or occupational therapist colleague is unable or unwilling to assist Ms. Coiffe in fulfilling the obligations of this order the Registrar shall appoint an external reviewer to perform a similar review at Ms. Coiffe’s expense;

  3. Ms. Coiffe to appear before a panel of the Discipline Committee to be reprimanded and that the fact of such a reprimand be recorded in the public portion of the register;

  4. Ms. Coiffe pay to the College $2,500 towards the costs and expenses of investigating and prosecuting this matter, payable in full by June 30, 2006; and

  5. the terms, conditions and limitations set out above to be removed when all have been successfully completed in the opinion of the Registrar.

The Discipline Committee panel concluded that the proposed penalty was reasonable because it safeguarded the public interest while allowing for the rehabilitation of Ms. Coiffe. The panel acknowledged the following mitigating factors: Ms. Coiffe had experienced some personal challenges; Ms. Coiffe was remorseful; and the conduct would not likely be repeated.