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OHLA at 10 Years: Respiratory Therapy
Qualifying, monitoring profession so patients can breathe easier
RT
Many Oregonians with chronic lung conditions such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema as well as patients with cardiopulmonary complications from accidents, heart attacks, cystic fibrosis, lung cancer and other conditions depend on qualified respiratory therapists to provide competent care.
 
The Oregon Health Licensing Agency (OHLA) and the Respiratory Therapist Licensing Board ensure that only qualified applicants obtain licensure and monitor licensees for continued competence through continuing education and regulatory compliance.
 
Regulatory compliance includes referral to and monitoring of licensees participating in state-recognized diversion programs to address substance abuse or other conditions that may impair the licensee’s ability to provide competent care. 
 
OHLA and the Respiratory Therapist Licensing Board partner with the state’s hospitals and other healthcare organizations to prevent incompetent practitioners from gaining employment if their license has been suspended or revoked.
 
From ensuring the state’s capacity to respond to emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza to focusing on the healthcare needs of aging Baby Boomers, OHLA and the Respiratory Therapist Licensing Board continue to address the growing need for qualified respiratory therapists.

Central Issues in Respiratory Therapy
Richard Larson
Richard Larson, Respiratory Therapist Licensing Board Chair
  • Though a majority of licensees are competent practitioners, OHLA and the Respiratory Therapist Licensing Board thoroughly investigate and address those instances of practitioner incompetence posing potential risks to patients.

  • OHLA and the Respiratory Therapist Licensing Board continue to contribute to efforts to address the growing need for sleep testing and oversight of sleep technology care.

  • OHLA and the Respiratory Therapist Licensing Board continue to streamline the licensing and regulatory process to allow qualified applicants to practice and licensed practitioners to stay competent.

Regulatory Timeline
1991
The Oregon State Legislature creates the Respiratory Care Practitioners Committee consisting of five members appointed by the Oregon Board of Medical Examiners.
 
1997
The Legislature establishes the Respiratory Therapist Licensing Board within the Health Division.
 
1999
OHLA and the Respiratory Therapist Licensing Board adopt position statements on delivery of conscious sedation and use of C-PAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) and Bi-PAP (Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure) equipment.
 
2001
OHLA and the Respiratory Therapist Licensing Board adopt a position statement on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, a modified cardiopulmonary bypass technique used for treating life-threatening cardiac or respiratory failure for extended periods outside of the operating room environment.
 
2005
OHLA and the Respiratory Therapist Licensing Board adopt a position statement on the administration of pharmacological, diagnostic and therapeutic agents by licensed respiratory therapists to clarify the type of medications practitioners can administer.