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No License Required?

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We all expect to get quality care when we go to any health care institution; we expect to feel comforted by the education and training of those taking care of us, but according to some health care officials, that might not be the case pretty soon. The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission has recommended that 19 programs be deregulated by Texas government.

Many local health care professionals say without licensing, there might be a sacrifice in quality of care.

“Without a licensing ward there’s the potential that we could attract therapists that don’t have the credentials,” said Tammy Kurszewski, Director of Respiratory Clinical Education at MSU. “So that’s a concern for safety.”

Kurszewski is also a respiratory practitioner, and that’s one of the programs that my discontinue licensing. If the deregulation happens in these programs then it would be up to the institution to give requirements and standards when hiring employees, according to Kurszewski.

As of now, having a license means having continuing education every two years, and also providing each institution with a background check. This background check monitors criminal activity nationwide. If someone was involved in a crime, and that person takes their license to a new state that would show up to potential employers. However, without that it would be an inconvenience, and costly, for health care facilities to do background checks in every state.

 “If we miss a check, if something happens in a state other than the state of Texas, and the therapist had issues or ethical problems, we wouldn't have the ability to know that," Kurszewski said.

Respiratory Therapists give support for those who are unable to sustain life on their own. They perform diagnostic testing and monitor signs and symptoms necessary for survival.

“We do life, and breath. We do mechanical ventilation,” Kurszewski said. “If a patient is unable to breathe independently, we as therapists, provide that support to ensure that they can breathe adequately until they are healed.

The deregulation could also play a role in college education. Less people will be expected to have the credentials that are required now.

“It would mean basically, that Respiratory Therapists would not need the specialized training,” said Jennifer Gresham, President of North Region of the Texas Society for Respiratory Care, and chairwoman of MSU’s respiratory care program. “If licensure was lost, it would ultimately affect out patients.”

 Another program affected is the radiology services. Deregulation in this area would taking a huge toll in the way patients are cared for according to Professor of Radiology Sciences at MSU, Beth Veale.

“There will be nothing that will stop medical facilities from hiring people at minimum wage with no education and no training to take x-rays,” Veale said. “That is going to significantly increase the amount of radiation dose to our patients.”

Without proper training those performing X-rays are more likely to over radiate their patients. In these medical programs skills is essential, according to health care officials.

These programs plan on taking their opposition to Austin on June 24 and 25. There is a public hearing where the Sunset Advisory Commission will listen to public opinions. The commission will take an official vote on August 13.

The Sunset Advisory Commission did not answer any questions. However, Senate member Jan Nelson sent out a statement on the issue.

“While I agree that the Department of Health Services is overloaded and needs to be re-focused with a strong emphasis on public health, I am still reviewing the sunset recommendations and will be interested in gleaning public input as we move forward,” Nelson said. To view a list of other programs click