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Thursday, October 29, 2020
During the 2021 Legislative Session the Oregon Health Authority, Health Licensing Office will be requesting licensing fee increases for the Respiratory Therapist and Polysomnographic Technologist Licensing Board (Board). The Board must increase fees to cover the cost of licensing and regulating the Board’s professionals and protecting the public.
Prior to 2013, the Oregon Health Licensing Agency (OHLA) operated as an independent state agency. During the 2013 Legislative Session OHLA was moved to the Oregon Health Authority, creating the Health Licensing Office (HLO). This changed the indirect costs from funding an independent small agency to being part of the Oregon Health Authority (OHA). HLO now contributes to OHA’s and Public Health’s operations, which distributes shared costs among divisions.
This change increased expenses to the Board without an increase in fees to offset the additional costs. Each board pays these shared costs based on the number of licenses provided by the HLO and the services provided to licensees. The Board has more than 2,200 active licenses. Respiratory Therapy and Polysomnography fees are no longer adequate to cover the costs. In fact, in January 2012, the HLO began offering a discount for Respiratory Therapy and Polysomnography licensees renewing online as it takes less staff time to process online renewals, but stopped offering the discount in December 2019, to address the revenue shortfall. Unfortunately, the Board’s license volume is not showing enough growth to boost revenue to cover expenditures.
Revenue and expenditure forecasts predict the Board will slip into a budget deficit in 2020, that will continue in 2021-23. Without an increase in fees, the HLO will not be able to:
• Issue licenses to applicants in a timely manner;• Protect the public from potential health and safety violations;• Protect the public from unqualified practitioners;• Administer examinations; and• Investigate complaints.
A $50 fee increase would be imposed for license and renewal fees, if passed by the 2021 Legislation Session, and would go into effect January 1, 2022.
If fees are increased the Respiratory Therapist and Polysomnographic Technologist Licensing Board revenue will stabilize allowing the Board and the HLO to continue its mission of protecting Oregonians who receive services from these professionals.
For questions contact Samie Patnode, Policy Analyst at (503) 373-1917 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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