Bill Summary for S 236 (2023-2024)

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Summary date: 

Mar 8 2023

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2023-2024 Session
Senate Bill 236 (Public) Filed Wednesday, March 8, 2023
Intro. by Corbin, Krawiec, Adcock.

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Bill summary

Includes whereas clauses. Makes the following changes to Article 22 of GS Chapter 90 concerning the licensure of audiologists.

Amends GS 90-292 to include protection of the public from unqualified persons to the State's declared policy concerning licensing audiologists and speech and language pathologists. 

Modifies and adds to the defined terms set out in GS 90-293. Now defines audiologist to mean any person who is qualified by education, training, and clinical experience and is licensed under Article 22 to engage in the practice of audiology (was more generally any person who engages in the practice of audiology). Adds that an audiologist is an independent hearing health care practitioner providing services in hospitals, clinics, schools, private practices, and other settings in which audiologic services are relevant. Expands on the services a person offers that deem the person to be or hold him or herself out to be an audiologist, including hearing aid audiologist and hearing specialist. Adds that an association, company, or trust is included in the defined term person, and that any reference to a licensed person means a natural, individual person. Replaces the definition given for the practice of audiology, now defining the term to mean the application of principles, methods, and procedures related to disorders of the auditory and vestibular systems, and gives a nonexhaustive list of 19 areas of audiology practice. Expands the practice of speech and language pathology to include evaluation, treatment and instruction related to the development and disorders of communication and cognitive-communication. Makes technical changes. 

Makes organizational and technical changes to GS 90-294 regarding the exclusion of individuals licensed to fit and sell hearing aids under GS Chapter 93D from the scope of the Article. Also excludes from the Article the selling of over-the-counter hearing aids. Amends the exclusion of (1) students or trainees who are students or working in a training center program and (2) nurses or other certified technicians trained to perform audiometric screening tests and whose work is supervised by a physician or audiologist, to specify that the exclusion applies if the student, trainee, or nurse is not registered with the Board of Examiners for Speech and Language Pathologist and Audiologists (Board) as an assistant. Makes further technical changes. 

Enacts GS 90-294A to authorize licensed audiologists to treat minors by administering nonmedical audiologic services. Specifies that only individuals licensed to practice medicine or working under the supervision of such an individual, or a person licensed under this Article, can make an assessment of a minor for hearing impairment treatment or manage health care services to a minor for hearing impairment. Authorizes licensed audiologists to provide clinical treatment, home intervention, family support, case management, and other audiologic services to minors. Further authorizes audiologists to participate in the development of individualized educational programs and consult on individual classroom matters. Authorizes audiologists to administer hearing screening programs in school and train and supervise nonaudiologists performing hearing screening in an educational setting. Specifies that over-the-counter hearing aids are not appropriate for individuals under age 18 and do not apply to this statute.

Amends GS 90-295 to remove the specific hour requirements for certain areas in meeting the clinical experience hours required for permanent licensure as a speech and language pathologist; maintains the 400 hour minimum clinical hour requirement. Also amends the licensure requirements to require the applicant to present written evidence of nine months of full-time professional experience in which clinical work (was, bona fide clinical work) has been accomplished in speech and language pathology.

Amends GS 90-298.1 by amending the requirements for a licensed speech and language pathologist or audiologist to register an assistant to also require that the registration fee be remitted to the Board before the assistant can be registered.

Amends GS 90-299 to also require a person registered with the Board to give the Board written notification of the address of where the person engages in practice. Makes conforming changes to the statute's record keeping and notice requirements.

Amends GS 90-301 to make the grounds for suspension or revocation of a license under the Article also applicable to persons registered under the Article. Makes conforming changes and makes language gender neutral.

Amends GS 90-303 by removing outdated language related to the Board's membership.

Amends GS 90-304 by amending the Board's powers and duties to require providing a list (was, provide an annual list) stating the names of persons currently licensed under the Article; adds the requirement that the list be provided on the Board's website.

Amends GS 90-305 to make the listed fees also applicable to registered individuals.

Amends GS 90-306 by making a clarifying change.

Makes the above changes effective October 1, 2023. 

Allows the Board of Examiners for Speech and Language Pathologists and Audiologists to adopt temporary rules to implement the act.