The Science Journal of the American Association for Respiratory Care

2010 OPEN FORUM Abstracts


Matthew S. Pavlichko; Respiratory Care Services, The Reading Hospital and Medical Center, West Reading, PA

Background: Education and competencies of respiratory care practitioners is a fact of life in all health care institutions. Continued education is a requirement by many states for licensure and is a human resource standard set by the Joint Commission. In many respiratory care departments, this is not a priority due to lack of educational staff and high un-reimbursable costs. Since respiratory managers need competent staff and need to maintain regulatory compliance, the burden of education falls on them. Can a manager educate staff efficiently and fit it within their budget? Method: In Pennsylvania, it is required for a licensed RCP to obtain 20 approved continuing education credits over a two year cycle. A department containing 67 respiratory therapists has 1340 credits to obtain to maintain licensure. The Pennsylvania Society for Respiratory Care was quoted that each traditional credit costs ten dollars on average (Tom Lamphere, 2009). $13,400 can be estimated in total cost of continuing education. TRHMC’s Respiratory Care Services department created a committee to develop in-house continuing education in an effort to reduce costs and fulfill the requirements placed upon them. A lesson plan was created per job descriptions to encompass all areas of care provided by the department. Ten credits were available to all inpatient therapists (five extra credits for NICU RTs) on various topics at the 2009 seminar. Results: The total cost of the in-house education program was $344 in 2009. The 2010 program will be estimated to cost $350 based on the consumer price index of 3.14% (Bureau of Labor and Statistics). With a total cost of $694 for the 2009/2010 licensure cycle, the hospital will have a potential cost savings on continuing education of $12,706. These results do take into account the assumption that the amount of money paid out for time off and overtime to attend traditional seminars are equal to that of the in-house program. Standard HR.01.05.03 (Staff participate in ongoing education and training) and HR.01.06.01 (Staff are competent to perform their responsibilities) of the Joint Commission were fulfilled. All credits were AARC approved. Conclusion: This study demonstrated that an in-house educational/competency program can potentially reduce costs drastically in a respiratory care department. It can also meet all the regulatory demands of continuing education and competency placed on respiratory care managers. Sponsored Research - None