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TxSpot | School-Based Therapy > Blog > Posts > What is Happening with Sunset Review for OT and PT Licensing?
August 11
What is Happening with Sunset Review for OT and PT Licensing?

Jean Polichino, OTR, MS, FAOTA
Senior Director, School-based Therapy Services, Harris County Dept. of Education

new1.pngIt has been a very busy year for those responsible for regulating the practice of occupational therapy (OT) and physical therapy (PT) in our state. The agency that supports the licensing of practitioners from both disciplines, the Executive Council for Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy Examiners (ECPTOTE, is undergoing the process of Sunset Review by the Texas Sunset Advisory Commission. Every state agency must undergo this process periodically, justifying its existence to commission members who are tasked with identifying and eliminating waste, duplication and inefficiency. The ECPTOTE review was in preparation for the 2017 legislative session, as the Commission must make recommendations to the legislature and governor whether there remains a compelling reason for Texas taxpayers to continue to benefit from licensing OTs and PTs, and if so, whether there are cost-saving measures the state could take in administering the licensing process.

The news regarding ECPTOTE is very good! The Sunset Staff Report issued in April found that licensing of OT and PT practitioners remains an important consumer protection function for the state of Texas. In their report, they identified the following issues that are the focus of their recommendations:
§  The requirement for facility registration, while providing a revenue source for the state, is unnecessary.
§  The PT and OT statutes unnecessarily impede therapists from working across state lines.
§  The PT board’s “process for turning its continuing competence approval program over to the Texas Physical therapy Association is an inappropriate delegation of its governmental duties.”
§  The OT and PT boards should be conducting fingerprint-based criminal background checks of licensure applicants and licensees.
§  The state should continue licensing by the OT and PT boards under the administration of the ECPTOTE until 2029.
 
Although there were initial thoughts the OT and PT boards might be transferred to a much larger umbrella agency supporting many other boards, they determined that ECPTOTE is efficient and effective in protecting Texas consumers and administering the licensing process for licensees. Transferring the boards would be a costly disruption.
 
The Texas Sunset Advisory Commission held a public hearing on June 23, 2016 to discuss the report’s recommendations and hear testimony from the public. Subsequently, the commission will make recommendations to the legislature when they convene in January of 2017. For more information about how the Sunset process works and to read the full report, go to https://www.sunset.texas.gov/   

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