Objective and Purpose of the Board
The Board's mission is evident in the Legislative Intent clause provided at the time the Board was created in 1990:
The Legislature finds and declares that the practice of respiratory care in this state affects the public health, safety and welfare and should be subject to regulation and control by the Board of Respiratory Care Examiners in the public interest to protect the public from unauthorized and unqualified practice of respiratory care and from unprofessional conduct by persons licensed to practice respiratory care.
The legislature also recognizes that the practice of respiratory care is a dynamic and changing art and science which is continually evolving to include new developments and more sophisticated techniques in patient care, thus creating a need for continuing education and maintenance of minimum standards of competence for those who practice this area.
The intent of the Legislature in this act is to provide clear legal authority for functions and procedures which have common acceptance and usage. In this act, the Legislature also intends to recognize the existence of overlapping functions between physicians, registered nurses, physical and occupational therapists, respiratory care practitioners and other licensed health care personnel and to continue to allow appropriate sharing of functions among the various health care professions.
The Reason for Regulation
Regulation of RCPs is necessary for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare. The need for the control, guidance, intervention, monitoring and supervision of RCPs is well established. All fifty States (and the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) have laws regulating the practice of RCPs. RCP's are trained to use high-technology medical equipment and perform procedures which may strongly affect the health, welfare and safety of their patients.
Respiratory care often calls for the use of complex medical equipment such as mechanical ventilators, which requires special training and on-going education regarding the new technologies upon which the medical industry will increasingly depend. Regulatory oversight ensures that RCPs are continuing their educations. RCPs currently provide services in settings covering the full continuum of health care -- from hospitals to skilled nursing facilities to home health care. As RCPs are following their patients into the community, a strong licensure and enforcement act is especially critical. The Board must ensure that any RCP who enters the homes of patients, and cares for and evaluates those patients, can effectively respond to their needs.