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MAINE

Sunrise review process enacted for occupational and professional regulation

A new Maine law, P.L. Chapter 686, authorizes a sunrise review for legislation seeking new regulation or an expansion of an existing "scope of practice." The law was signed by Governor King on April 11, 1996.

Any applicant for a regulatory change must answer questions about the following criteria: data on group; specialized skill; public health, safety or welfare; voluntary and past regulatory efforts; cost and benefits; service availability of regulation; existing laws and regulations; method of regulation; other states; previous efforts; mandated benefits; minimal competence; and financial analysis.

Following informal review, a legislative committee may hold a public hearing to accept information on the required evaluation criteria. At that time, it may request the Commissioner of Professional and Financial Regulation to conduct an independent assessment of the applicant's answers, or to establish a technical committee to assess the applicant's answers to the evaluation criteria and report its findings within six months.

Technical committees will include seven members, comprised of representatives from the affected profession, members from professions with an overlapping scope of practice, a commissioner's designee and two public members (source: Health Professions Regulation-Maine, February 1997, p. 9).

OREGON

Legislation proposed by hospital association focuses on reforming Oregon's health workforce

The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems (OAHHS) drafted four measures introduced in the 1997 legislative session that would facilitate regulatory changes for the health workforce.

One bill would establish a nine-member Health Care Licensing Oversight Authority (HCLOA), consisting of four licensees and five public members, that would adopt standardized procedures for the operation of health professional licensing boards. The HCLOA, to be funded by licensing fees imposed by each board, would submit an accountability report each legislative session. The second bill would require licensing boards to establish rules relating to scope of practice, disciplinary actions and peer review committees. The third proposes standard definitions for "certified health practitioner," "licensed health practitioner," and "registered health practitioner." The final bill would set up seven-member licensing boards, with three public representatives on each board.

Currently, OAHHS is trying to combine all four measures into one bill. If adopted, they believe the legislation would increase public accountability and understanding and "make sense of [Oregon's] multiple boards and standards." Oregon's current system consists of twenty regulatory boards who license and certify thirty different health professions.

TEXAS

"Substantial equivalency" reciprocity language adopted for CPAs

The Texas State Board of Public Accountancy is the first to adopt language granting licensure to CPAs from states with substantially equivalent standards. The new rule states: "An applicant who has a valid certificate to practice as a certified public accountant from any jurisdiction and who has obtained the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) verification of compliance with the Uniform Accountancy Act's CPA registration requirements shall be presumed for purposes of reciprocity to have qualifications substantially equivalent to this state's qualifications."

NASBA's Board of Directors signified its support in a resolution passed at its January 10 meeting in Georgia. The resolution states: "The NASBA Board of Directors believes the Texas Board's proposed rule for substantial equivalence is consistent with the Board of Directors' position on substantial equivalence and authorizes its officers and president to attend and provide testimony at any public hearing that the Texas Board may have on the rule" (source: Professional Licensing Report, vol. 9, no. 6, p. 8 and NASBA State Board Report, February 1997, p. 2).

UTAH

Physician assistants gain licensure and prescriptive authority

With the passage of UT S 46, a newly created physician assistant licensing board will license and grant limited prescriptive powers to physician assistants.

New licensure requirements include: the successful completion of an accredited physician assistant program, passage of a licensure examination, six months of supervised practice and payment of a licensing fee. Licenses shall be renewed every two years, provided that all continuing education requirements, as defined by the division, have been satisfied.

Physician assistants may prescribe controlled substances if they hold a Utah controlled substance license, a DEA registration, and the prescription or administration falls within the supervising physician's prescriptive practice. The supervising physician must also co-sign if the PA prescribes a Schedule II or Schedule III substance.

The bill was signed into law by the governor on March 17, 1997 (source: Health Policy Tracking Service).

Please keep CLEAR updated on current events in your state or province. Please send enacted legislation, press releases, or other news items of interest to the occupational and professional regulatory community to Adam Parfitt, Editor, CLEAR News.