Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives
in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same,
SECTION 1. Chapter 13 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 11A the following section:-
Section 11B. There shall be a board of respiratory care hereinafter called the board, which shall consist of six members to be appointed by the governor and said appointments may be from among a list of nominations submitted by the Massachusetts Society for Respiratory Therapy or its successor. Members of the board shall be residents of the commonwealth and citizens of the United States. Two of such members shall be respiratory therapists licensed in accordance with the provisions of section twenty-three S of chapter one hundred and twelve except that such members constituting the first board shall be persons eligible for licensing as practitioners of respiratory care; two of such members shall be physicians with pulmonary related specialities licensed in accordance with the provisions of section two of said chapter one hundred and twelve, and two of such members shall be consumers of respiratory care services selected from and representing the general public.
Each member of the board shall serve for a term of three years except that immediately following the enactment of this section, the initial terms of two of the members shall be for a term of three years, two of the members shall be for a term of two years, and two of the members shall be for a term of one year. No member shall be appointed to more than two consecutive full terms; provided, however, that a member appointed for less than a full term may serve two full terms in addition to such part of a full term and a former member shall again be eligible for appointment after a lapse of one or more years.
SECTION 2. Chapter 112 of the General Laws is hereby amended by inserting after section 23Q the following eleven sections:-
Section 23R. The following words as used in sections twenty-three R to twenty-three BB, inclusive, unless the context otherwise requires, shall have the following meanings:-
"Respiratory care", is a health profession that, under direction of a licensed physician, who has special expertise in respiratory care, utilizes the application of scientific principles for the identification, prevention, remediation, research, and rehabilitation of acute or chronic cardiopulmonary dysfunction thereby promoting optimum health and function. Respiratory care practice includes, but is not limited to, the therapeutic and diagnostic use of the following as ordered by a physician: medical gases, gas administering devices, humidification and aerosols, administration of aerosol medications, support services for mechanically ventilated patients, postural drainage, bronchopulmonary hygiene, breathing exercises, respiratory rehabilitation, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, maintaining natural and artificial airways, the understanding and reporting of tests as aids to diagnosis or the planning of treatment programs. Respiratory care shall also include the measuring ventilatory volumes, pressures and flows, collecting specimens of blood and other materials, pulmonary function testing, hemodynamic and other related physiologic monitoring of the cardiopulmonary system. Respiratory care shall also include teaching both patient and family respiratory care procedures as part of a patient's ongoing program; consultation services for the health educational and community agencies. Respiratory care shall also include teaching of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to perform the above mentioned activities.
"Respiratory therapist", a person who is duly licensed to practice respiratory care in the commonwealth in accordance with section twenty-three S.
"Board", the board of respiratory care established under the provisions of section eleven B of chapter thirteen.
Section 23S. The board shall examine candidates and renew licenses as follows:-
(1) The board shall examine applicants for licensure at such times and places as it may determine and shall conduct at least two such examinations in each calendar year. The board shall establish examination and testing procedures to enable the board to ascertain the competency of persons wishing to be licensed as qualified respiratory therapists and may utilize any existing national examinations that meet such requirements. Applications for such licenses, signed and sworn by the applicants, shall be made on forms furnished by the board. An applicant who furnished satisfactory proof that he is of good moral character and that he has met the educational and clinical requirements set forth in sections twenty-three T to twenty-three X, inclusive, shall upon payment of a fee determined by the secretary of administration and finance, be examined by the board, and if found qualified, and if he passes the examination, shall be licensed.
(2) Every person licensed shall, at such times as determined by the board, apply to the board for renewal of his license, document continuing education as may be required by the board, and pay a fee determined by the secretary of administration and finance to the board and thereupon the board shall issue a license showing the holder is entitled to practice for the period covered by said payment. The board may provide for the late renewal of a license which has lapsed and may require the payment of a late fee, or an examination, or continuing education, or supervised experience prior to issuing said late renewal license.
Section 23T. A person who meets the requirements and possesses the qualifications set forth hereunder to be admitted to the examination for licensure as a respiratory therapist may practice respiratory care between the date of filing an application and the announcement of the results of said examination for licensure; provided however that such practice is under the supervision of a respiratory therapist licensed pursuant to this chapter. If any person so practicing fails to pass the licensure examination for which he filed an application, the privilege as granted under this section shall automatically cease upon due notice to the applicant of such failure.
Section 23U. The board may without examination, license as a respiratory therapist, any applicant who is duly licensed or registered under the laws of another state or territory of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, or any such therapist who satisfies the board that he has met or exceeded the requirements for licensure in the commonwealth, or any such therapist who is credentialed by the National Board for Respiratory Care as a Certified Respiratory Therapy Technician (CRTT) or a Registered Respiratory Therapist (RRT). At the time of making such application, the applicant shall pay a fee determined by the secretary of administration and finance to the board.
Section 23V. Nothing in sections twenty-three R to twenty-three BB, inclusive, shall be construed as preventing or restricting the practice, services, or activities of:
(a) any person licensed in the commonwealth by any other statute or credentialed by an organization which is a member of the National Commission for Health Certifying Agencies from engaging in the profession for which he is licensed or credentialed, or
(b) any person employed as a respiratory therapist by the federal government or any agency of it, if such person provides respiratory care solely under the direction or control of the organization by which he is employed, or
(c) any person pursuing a supervised course of study leading to a degree or certificate in respiratory care as part of an accredited and approved educational program, if the person is designated by a title which clearly indicates his status as a student or trainee, or otherwise as a student functioning under the supervision of a licensed respiratory therapist, provided however, that such activity does not exceed the student's education and training, or
(d) any person performing respiratory care services in the commonwealth, if these services are performed for no more than two calendar days in a calendar year in association with a respiratory therapist licensed under this section.
Section 23W. An applicant for licensure as a respiratory therapist shall have:-
(a) completed a respiratory therapy program that is accredited by an agency recognized by the United States Department of Education or a member of the Council on Postsecondary Education, and that is approved by the board,
(b) successfully passed an examination approved by the board for licensure as a respiratory therapist. Such examination shall be written and shall test the applicant's knowledge of the basic and clinical sciences related to the respiratory care theory and practice, including the applicant's professional skills and judgments in the utilization of respiratory care techniques and methods, and such other subjects as the board may deem useful to determine the applicant's fitness to act as a respiratory therapist pursuant to section twenty-three R. The examination shall be conducted by the board at least twice each year and at times and places to be determined by the board; provided, however, that the board may utilize any existing national examination that meets the requirements of this section.
Section 23X. The board may, after a hearing pursuant to chapter thirty A, revoke, suspend, cancel the license or place on probation, reprimand, censure, or otherwise discipline a licensee upon proof satisfactory to a majority of the board that said person:-
(a) has obtained or attempted to obtain a license by fraud or deception, (b) has been convicted of a felony or of a crime involving moral turpitude, (c) has been grossly negligent in his practice of respiratory therapy, (d) has been adjudged mentally ill or incompetent by the court of competent jurisdiction, (e) has used drugs or intoxicating liquors to the extent which adversely affects his practice, (f) has acted in a manner which is professionally unethical according to ethical standards of the profession of respiratory care.
Section 23Y. Nothing in sections twenty-three R to twenty-three BB, inclusive, shall be construed as authorizing a respiratory therapist to practice medicine or any other form or methods of healing not specified in said sections.
Section 23Z. The board shall adopt reasonable rules and regulations to carry into effect sections twenty-three R to twenty-three BB, inclusive, and may amend and revoke such rules and regulations at its discretion. The board shall keep a record of its proceedings and a roster of all persons licensed by it under this section. The roster shall include the licensee's name, last known business and residential addresses, date of licensing, and license number.
Section 23AA. No person shall hold himself out as a respiratory therapist or as being able to practice respiratory care or to render respiratory care services in the commonwealth unless he is licensed in accordance with section twenty-three S. Such a person shall be known as a respiratory therapist.
Section 23BB. No respiratory therapist duly licensed under the provisions of sections twenty-three S to twenty-three U, inclusive, who, in good faith as a volunteer and without fee renders emergency care or treatment other than in the ordinary course of his practice, shall be liable in a suit for damages as a result of his acts or omissions nor shall he be liable to a hospital for its expenses if, under such emergency conditions, he orders a person hospitalized or causes his admission.
SECTION 3. For one year from the effective date of this act, a license as a respiratory therapist shall be issued without examination to an applicant who satisfies the board established by section one of this act that he is credentialed by the National Board for Respiratory Care as a (CRTT) or an (RRT), or who satisfies the board that he has been actively employed for at least two years within five years prior to the effective date of this act in the practice of respiratory care or the rendering of respiratory care services as defined by section twenty-three R of chapter one hundred and twelve of the General Laws. Persons licensed hereunder shall renew their licenses in accordance with paragraph (2) of section twenty-three S of said chapter one hundred and twelve.