Thursday, February 07, 2008

Respiratory Therapists Try to Take over Polysomnography in California

I previously posted on the attempt of respiratory therapists to take control over polysomnography in California.
The process is moving forward. As reported by Sleep Review Magazine,
Introduced by State Sen Jeff Denham (R-Merced), the “Polysomnographic Technologist Act” Senate Bill 1125 aims to prevent criminal abuse and ensure proper medical diagnosis, as well as ensure a standard of training and accountability for the profession.
"Hundreds and possibly thousands of unlicensed technicians are working with patients in vulnerable circumstances where most have not had a criminal background check and competency testing is optional. Failure to perform competently and protect the consumer holds little or no consequence for unlicensed personnel," said Stephanie Nunez, executive officer for the Respiratory Care Board of California.

The actual text of the bill is here. Some key parts of the bill:
"Board" means the Respiratory Care Board of California.

b) The failure of an employer to provide documents as required bythis section is punishable by an administrative fine not to exceedfifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) per violation. This penalty shallbe in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other civil or criminalremedies. 3818. The board shall issue, deny, suspend, place probationaryterms upon, and revoke licenses to practice polysomnography andpolysomnography-related respiratory care services.
The board shall determine the hours of credit tobe granted for the passage of particular examinations. 3819.5. The board may require successful completion of one ormore professional courses offered by the board, the AmericanAssociation for Respiratory Care, the California Society forRespiratory Care, or the National Board for Respiratory Care in anyor all of the following circumstances: (a) As part of continuing education. (b) Prior to initial licensure.
As I interpret it, this California bill would give respiratory therapists, through their board, the power to license sleep lab technicians and fine labs that hire technicians not licensed by their board. This law is a slap in the face to the majority of sleep technicians who are not respiratory therapists.

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