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TSRC, AARC Fight Deregulation Concerns in Texas

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UPDATE: June 19, 2014

As hearings get underway on June 24, AARC leadership will travel to the Texas state capitol to fight for removal of a recommendation to de-license respiratory therapists. Executive Director Tom Kallstrom, Associate Executive Director Shawna Strickland and Director of Government Affairs Cheryl West, will be on hand to address the Commission and support the TSRC as they make their case for the essential work of the respiratory therapist.

Continued focus is on this issue in Texas as more news outlets take up this story like this station in San Antonio.

AARC and other organizations have submitted comments stating their opposition to the proposed deregulation.

June 12, 2014

AARC is assisting the Texas Society for Respiratory Care as they begin a fight to retain licensure in the state of Texas.

A report from the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission has made a recommendation to discontinue or de-license 19 professions and disciplines, respiratory care practitioners among them. AARC, TSRC, NBRC, the COPD Foundation, and the Alpha-1 Association have all sent letters of support to the legislature, asking for reconsideration in this matter.

The commission is expected to hold public hearings on June 24, and in the meantime, the AARC and TSRC are asking for action on the part of Texas-only respiratory therapists and other health care providers and friends in the state to contact their state representatives and the Sunset Commission to voice their opposition to this action.

The AARC has been gratified to see that therapists from across the country are interested and willing to help. However, the AARC and TSRC asks that respiratory therapists from outside of the state not send letters, as it may be counterproductive to the effort. According to Cheryl West, AARC's director of government affairs, strategically it is not in the profession’s best interest to have non-Texas respiratory therapists make communication with Texas legislators. As she explained, under the best-case scenario these contacts would be ignored, and in the worst case, it may cause Commissioners to dig in their heels because they are unhappy with what they view as orchestrated, external pressure.

The public press is taking note in Texas, as articles like this in the Wichita Falls paper begin to appear around the state.

“We could not say it any better than the reporter in Wichita Falls does. People who style your hair are not coming under scrutiny, yet the people who run the ventilators that keep you alive are? It doesn’t make sense,” said George Gaebler, AARC President. “We’re ready to help our colleagues in Texas wherever they need us. This denigration of the public safety has to stop.”

Texas is the latest in the list of states for which licensure is coming under scrutiny. “We are vigilant in keeping watch on these,” said West.” This is where we do work—protecting the patients who aren’t in a position to protect themselves.”