AN ACT AMENDING THE RESPIRATORY CARE PRACTICE ACT.
Amends GS 90-648, definitions section of the Respiratory Care Practice Act, adding "the therapeutic effectiveness of medical equipment used in respiratory care treatment for an individual patient" to the definition for practice of respiratory care. Makes technical changes. Clarifies that the term also means any act by which an individual holds himself or herself out to the public or represents that the individual is authorized to practice respiratory care in this state.
Amends the definition of support activities clarifying that the term does not include evaluation or assessment of the therapeutic effectiveness of any respiratory care treatment or respiratory care equipment for an individual patient. Makes technical and conforming changes.
Amends GS 90-652 (Powers and duties of the Board), eliminating the requirement that applicants must submit a form consenting to a criminal record check and the use of their fingerprints (GS 90-652(1)). Expands the power of the board to include the investigation of activities of persons not licensed under this Article whom the NC Respiratory Care Board (Board) has reasonable cause to believe is engaged in the practice of respiratory care. Also authorizes the Board to designate one or more employees to issue and serve subpoenas and other papers on its behalf. Service is permitted in accordance with any other methods of service allowed by law.
Makes technical changes.
Amends GS 90-653 (Licensure requirements; examination) to require that a form signed by the applicant consenting to a criminal record check and the use of fingerprints and other identifying information must be sent in with a completed application in order to meet licensure requirements.
Requires that applicants submit to the Board written, verified evidence that the applicant has successfully completed the minimal requirements of an associate's degree respiratory care program approved by the Commission for Accreditation for Respiratory Care or its successor and the program must submit a verified transcript directly to the Board.
Requires that applicants submit to the Board evidence that they have earned the advanced level credential or its successor awarded by the National Board for Respiratory Care, Inc. Deletes a requirement that the Board administers the specified examination for applicants at least three times a year. Provides that the Board will state the terms and conditions of use for the respiratory therapist license.
Makes technical and conforming changes.
Amends GS 90-656, Provisional license, providing that the Board can grant such license to any applicant who has completed three specified requirements, including successful completion of the minimal requirements of an associate's degree program in respiratory care, approved as specified, and that applicants have submitted written evidence that they have earned entry level credentials or its successor awarded by the National Board for Respiratory Care, Inc. Provides that the provisional licenses issued are effective for up to one year and can be renewed annually as specified for a total period not to exceed five years from the initial effective date (previously, could only issue such licenses for 12 months).
Amends GS 90-659 (Suspension, revocation, and refusal to renew a license), giving the Board authority to impose probationary conditions on a license, which can include placing limitations on the practice of respiratory care, reprimand, assessing monetary redress, or requiring satisfactory completion of treatment or educational programs.
Expands the instances in which the Board has authority to impose restrictions concerning (1) conduct that employs fraud, deceit, bribery, or misrepresentation to obtain or renew a license; (2) a licensee or applicant that has developed a physical or mental impairment that renders the licensee or applicant unfit to practice respiratory care with reasonable skill and competence and in a manner not harmful to the public; (3) a licensee or applicant that has failed to respond within a reasonable period of time and in a reasonable manner, as determined by the Board, to inquiries from the Board concerning any matter affecting a license to practice respiratory care; (4) a licensee or applicant that has developed an impairment caused by the licensee or applicant's use of alcohol, drugs, or controlled substances that interfere with the ability of the licensee or applicant to practice respiratory care with reasonable skill, competence, and in a manner not harmful to the public; (5) a licensee or applicant that has practiced respiratory care outside the boundaries of demonstrated competence or the limitations of education, training, or supervised experience; (6) a licensee or applicant that has had a license for the practice of respiratory care, in any other jurisdiction, suspended or revoked or has been disciplined by any licensing or certification board in any other jurisdiction for conduct that would subject the licensee or applicant to disciplinary action under this Article; and (7) a licensee or applicant that is a hazard to the public health by reason of having a serious communicable disease.
Gives the Board authority to deny an initial application for a license as a respiratory care practitioner without a hearing for not submitting a complete application. Additionally, if, after notice is issued, a licensee or applicant fails to appear for a scheduled hearing, the Board may hear the evidence of those present and dispose of the matter on the basis of the evidence present. Provides that the Board and its members or staff are not civilly or criminally liable for exercising, in good faith, the powers and duties authorized by law and given to the Board.
Provides protection from liability for persons, partnerships, firms, associations, authorities or other entities acting in good faith for reporting, assessing, monitoring, or providing expert medical opinion to the Board in regards to violations of this section and requirements. Protection from liability is also extended for initiating or conducting proceedings against a licensee or applicant if a complaint is filed or action taken is in good faith, testifying before the Board in good faith, and making a recommendation to the Board in the nature of peer review.
Allows a licensee to, with consent of the Board, voluntarily relinquish a license. However, the Board may delay or refuse to grant consent in order to investigate pending complaints or allegations against the licensee.
Makes conforming and clarifying changes. Provides that it is unlawful for any person to employ or solicit for employment unlicensed persons to practice respiratory care. Adds additional language that provides protection from liability for persons, partnerships, firms, associations, authorities or other entities acting in good faith for reporting, assessing, monitoring, or providing expert medical opinion to the Board in regards to violations of this section and requirements. Protection from liability is also extended for initiating or conducting proceedings against a licensee or applicant or testifying against such an individual if a complaint is filed, an action is taken, or testimony given is in good faith.
Amends GS 90-664(3), exempting respiratory care practitioners that serve in federal agencies, so long as the practitioner limits services to those directly related to work with the employing federal agency, from the requirements of the Respiratory Care Practice Act.
Adds new subsection GS 90-664(5), also exempting persons licensed as respiratory care practitioners in another jurisdiction while providing respiratory care in a declared emergency in this state, while a member of a organ harvesting team, or on board an ambulance as part of an ambulance transport team into or out of this state.
Provides language allowing any person licensed by the Board on October 1, 2016, who has passed the entry-level examination administered by the National Board for Respiratory Care, Inc. to be deemed to have complied with the requirements of GS 90-653(a)(5).
Repeals GS 90-654 (Temporary license) and GS 90-660(b)(6), concerning fees for provisional or temporary licenses.
Effective October 1, 2016, applying to licenses issued or renewed on or after that date.
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