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Senate Bill 325 (As Introduced)Contact: Office of Policy and Legislative Affairs Agency: Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Topic: Respiratory Therapists
Position: The Department of Consumer and Industry Services does not support the bill.
Background: According to the proponents of respiratory therapist licensure, only about 80% of the 4,500 individuals claiming to be respiratory therapists in Michigan are competent. In recent years, there have been a number of accounts of sometimes fatal errors being made by individuals claiming to be respiratory therapists, but who did not have the knowledge to accurately practice in this field. As a result, over thirty eight states have mandated some form of credentialing for respiratory therapists. Similar bills have been introduced in the past legislative sessions.
Description of Bill: The bill defines the terms ‘respiratory care services' and ‘registered respiratory therapist' and establishes a registration process for respiratory therapists under the Public Health Code. A ‘registered respiratory therapist' is defined as an individual who is responsible for providing respiratory care services who is registered under the proposed article as a registered respiratory therapist. ‘Respiratory care services' means the provision of preventative services, diagnostic services, therapeutic services, and rehabilitative services under the prescription of a physician to an individual with a disorder, disease, or abnormality of the cardiopulmonary system, as diagnosed by a physician.
The bill requires the department to consult the international reciprocity agreement between the National Board for Respiratory Care and the Canadian Society of Respiratory Therapists in responding to an application from an individual registered in Canada. The document entitled "American Association for Respiratory Care Clinical Practice Guidelines" issued by the American Association for Respiratory Care is adopted by reference. The department would be responsible for promulgating the following minimum education requirements for registration as a respiratory therapist: completion of an accredited respiratory therapist training program, a two year associates degree, and possession of the National Board for Respiratory Care credential as a registered respiratory therapist. Following promulgation of the department's rules, certain titles and abbreviations related to the profession would be protected from use by unregistered individuals.
Any individual claiming to be a ‘respiratory therapist' or a ‘registered respiratory therapist' would be required to be registered. Fees for this registration would include an application processing fee of $20 and an annual registration fee of $75.
The department is required to issue a registration for individuals possessing certain national credentials and applying within 1 year of the effective date of the bill.
Lastly, the bill would not require new or additional third party reimbursement for services rendered by a registered respiratory therapist.
Arguments For: By requiring registration of respiratory therapists Michigan would be taking a step towards ensuring quality health care services for consumers. Respiratory therapy is a profession where mistakes can cause serious injury and even death. The proposed registration program would protect the public from serious harm by assuring that individuals calling themselves respiratory therapists are what they claim to be. Michigan would join over thirty eight states across the nation that have regulated this profession.
Arguments Against: A state registration program for respiratory therapists is not necessary. They are already certified nationally by the National Board for Respiratory Care. This credential would become a requisite for state licensure, which means that individuals would have to pay twice for what is essentially the same certification.
The main beneficiaries of a new licensure or registration program are all too frequently the regulated profession rather than the general public. Rather than addressing a serious threat to the public safety, new licensure or registration programs are often used to restrict entry to a profession and have the effect of increasing the cost of the services to the public.
Fiscal Information: There would be an initial expenditure of approximately $80,000 to cover administrative costs incurred by the implementation of this new licensing category. However, the licensing fees collected from applicants would offset a portion of these costs.
Administrative Rules Impact: The Department of Consumer and Industry Services would be required to promulgate rules detailing the registration requirements for respiratory therapists. The department would also be permitted to amend, update, or supplement guidelines adopted by reference in Section 18605 of the bill. The department is also required by rule to prescribe continuing education requirements as a condition for registration renewal.
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