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Texas Legislators Hear RTs, Promise Further Study

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June 26, 2014

AARC Director of Government Affairs Cheryl West, MHA, John Hiser, MEd, RRT, FAARC, AARC Executive Director Tom Kallstrom, MBA, RRT, FAARC, and Associate Executive Director Shawna Strickland, PhD, RRT-NPS, FAARC in Austin, Texas.

AARC and TSRC members made their case before the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission yesterday, with Texas Senator Jane Nelson, saying, “We hear you. We hear you loud and clear.”

The testimonies of all 19 groups that are under consideration for de-licensing were grouped together in the hearing, but many respiratory therapists had their say and they were strongly represented in and out of the hearing room.

This large group, and many other RTs, made an impact in Austin on June 24–25.

Tom Kallstrom, AARC executive director, and John Hiser, former AARC president and holder of Texas license #1 were among those addressing the commission. Shawna Strickland, associate executive director, noted the number of patients in Texas that would be affected by this move in her testimony.

TSRC representatives were numerous, beginning with president Russell Graham and delegate Terry Gilmore, with many others representing educational programs and administrative roles at hospitals. The sister of a recently deceased woman provided some especially compelling testimony on the need for respiratory therapists.

These students were from Texas State University in San Marcos.

The Commission intends to appoint a committee to study the deregulation issue further and they will report back in late July before the next phase in the process. It appears that what may happen is that the licensing function may be transferred out of one Texas state department to the Texas Medical Board or another agency within the state.

“We feel good about Wednesday’s outcome,” said Kallstrom. “We certainly won’t rest until the issue is resolved, but many legislators on the panel were concerned about patients and safety and what is best for the citizens of Texas.”