The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2010 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Daniel J. Grady, Terrence F. Smith, John Riggs, Devin Smith; Respiratory Care, Mission Health System, Asheville, NC

Background: There are multiple instances across the state of North Carolina where Respiratory Care Directors/Managers have been replaced by non-Respiratory Therapists. In North Carolina, Pharmacy and Nursing Practice Acts both contain language that requires managers in their respective professions to be licensed practitioners. In the NC Respiratory Care Practice Act, no language addressed the qualifications for management of Respiratory Care Departments and Educational Programs. Methods: This study inspected Respiratory Care Practice Acts of all 48 states in the United States. Each individual state Respiratory Care Practice Act was reviewed; noting the licensing requirements for the management of Respiratory Care departments. Results: There was one state out of 48 (1/48 = 2.0 %) that required that a department Director/Manager must be a licensed Respiratory Care Practitioner. Conclusions: Because of restructuring and cost containment initiatives which have replaced Respiratory Care Directors with non-Respiratory Care personnel, a deficiency has been identified in many state Respiratory Care practice Acts. The deficiency may result in misguided cost containment initiatives which replace licensed Respiratory Care managers with unlicensed, and unqualified personnel. To correct this deficiency in RC Practice Acts, it is recommended that state licensure laws are reviewed and amended to include licensure standards for management/administration of Respiratory Care services. This correction is recommended in order to ensure patient safety and protect patients from unqualified personnel in management positions. To date, the North Carolina Respiratory Care licensing Board has adopted a rule change and drafted a position statement for Management standards of Respiratory Care services. Sponsored Research - None