The major thrust of S.B. 242, as introduced, was a change in the credentialing status of respiratory therapists from registration, under which one who meets the statutory criteria may use a protected title, to licensure, under which the practice of respiratory therapy is exclusive to those who are licensed by the Board of Healing Arts. As amended by the House Committee, the bill also changes the credentialing status of physical therapists from registration to licensure.
The bill amends the definition of respiratory therapy as it appears in K.S.A. 65-5502 in order to make it conform with the concept of a protected scope of practice and adds a new definition of qualified medical director to the statute. Throughout the bill, the term respiratory therapy is substituted for respiratory care since the former rather than the broader area of respiratory care is protected under the licensure provisions.
In section 3 of S.B. 242, the existing respiratory therapy council, which is advisory to the Board of Healing Arts, is changed to a respiratory care council to be made up of seven members; three of the members are to be respiratory therapists, one a physician (medical doctor or doctor of osteopathic medicine), one the president of the Board of Healing Arts or a member of the Board designated by the president, and two members of the public who are not engaged in providing health care. Other amendments to K.S.A. 65-5504 are technical as are the changes in K.S.A. 65-5505. The specific statutory requirement for the completion of successful experience as a condition of credentialing is deleted from K.S.A. 65-5506. K.S.A. 65-5508 is amended to delete obsolete provisions and to delete the supervision requirements that apply currently to a special permit that may be granted to a student in respiratory therapy. The Senate Committee amended the statute further to provide that persons registered on February 28, 1999, are to be deemed to be licensed under the new provisions of the act without having to apply for licensure. Changes in K.S.A. 65-5510 are technical and reflect the change from registration to licensure, while the requirement that a foreign-trained respiratory therapist seeking licensure in Kansas present proof of completion of supervised field work as a part of the application process is deleted from K.S.A. 65-5511. Changes in K.S.A. 65-5512 reflect the change from registration to licensure.
K.S.A. 65-5514 is amended by S.B. 242 to make it unlawful on and after July 1, 1999, to act as a respiratory therapist, to hold oneself out as a respiratory therapist, or to use certain titles unless one is licensed. Violation of this provision is made a class B misdemeanor. Since the act that is identified as K.S.A. 65-5501 through 65-5517, is changed from a credentialing level of registration to licensure, the statute is further amended to make it clear that specified persons are not unlawfully practicing respiratory therapy.
The Senate Committee further amended S.B. 242 to add sections 13 through 20 to the bill. These sections represent a number of different acts that are not specifically related to the practice of respiratory therapy or other health care providers, including adult care home licensure, several statutes in the insurance code, the act under which controlled substances are regulated, peer review statutes, risk management statutes, and accidental death benefits under KPERS. The amendments are necessary to clarify the intent of the statute and in many instances change references to persons licensed by the Board of Healing Arts (currently, only medical doctors, doctors of osteopathic medicine, chiropractors, and podiatrists) to persons licensed to practice a branch of the healing arts in order to reflect that physical therapists are not included.
The House Committee further amended the bill to reflect changes necessary to update references to statutes and to change dates since S.B. 242 was originally introduced in 1997. The House Committee amendments also add sections 21 through 44 to S.B. 242 in order to change the level of credentialing for physical therapists from registration to licensure. As with the change in the respiratory therapist level of credentialing, it is also necessary to amend a number of statutes that do not relate directly to the practice of physical therapy to accommodate the change in the level of credentialing.
S.B. 242 would become effective on March 1, 1999.
S.B. 242 was introduced at the request of the professional association representing respiratory therapists and supported by members of the association. The professional association repre-senting respiratory therapists applied for and received a study under the Kansas Act on Credentialing to determine whether respiratory therapists met the statutory standards for licensure. The study resulted in a finding by the Technical Committee appointed pursuant to law and the Secretary of Health and Environment that respiratory therapy did not meet the criteria set out in K.S.A. 65-5007 that would result in a finding that licensure is the appropriate level of credentialing. Physical therapists have not applied for a study of the appropriate level of credentialing under the Kansas Act on Credentialing, therefore, no findings and recommendations relating to whether the level of credentialing should be changed have been presented to the Legislature as required by the Act. The House Committee amendments do not change the definition of physical therapy to reflect a scope of practice that is an exclusive right to practice physical therapy.
1. *Supplemental notes are prepared by the Legislative Research Department and do not express legislative intent. The supple-mental note and fiscal note for this bill may be accessed on the Internet at http://www.ink.org/public/legislative/fulltext-bill.html.