In a letter to AARC state society presidents, state board of directors, and members of the AARC House of Delegates, the association stated, “We are at the precipice of a situation where state by state the profession of respiratory therapy stands to legally have part of its scope of practice rescinded and taken away from you.”
The letter goes on to say, “In some cases respiratory therapists will be forced by law to take (and pay associated costs) [of] an additional credentialing exam in order to continue to provide sleep disorder services …. In other cases, the potential is very real that some of these new laws will require respiratory therapist[s] to obtain an additional license to continue to provide sleep services you have always been legally able to provide before.”
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) is aware of the correspondence and stated in an announcement, “These messages from the AARC are not new, and they generally have not been received positively by legislators or many respiratory therapists who understand and appreciate the care provided by polysomnographic technologists in their communities and throughout the country.”
In their letter, the AARC asks all respiratory state societies to stand up and ensure that:
• “The diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders, sleep diagnostics, sleep testing, sleep therapeutics or other terms now being defined as polysomnography are and have been an integral part of the respiratory therapist Scope of Practice”
• “Any additional testing, credentialing or licensing of the respiratory therapist in polysomnography is unnecessary and unwarranted.”
The letter concludes by stating: “It is our firm conviction that any requirement for further testing, credentialing or licensing of the respiratory therapist in the services deemed polysomnography is not warranted. We support state regulation of appropriately educated, competency-tested and credentialed polysomnographic personnel so long as it does not in any way adversely impact the scope of practice and/or licensure status of the respiratory therapist.”
The AASM and the Association of Sleep Technologists (AAST) stated that they would issue a responsible, fact-based response to the AARC letter.
“This response will clearly state that the AASM and AAST do not have an agenda that in any way will restrict the practice of respiratory care,” said the AASM.
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