Report Title:

Occupational Therapy; Auditor


Implements Auditor's alternative recommendations regarding the regulation of occupational therapy practice by removing language equating registration with licensure and by removing language referencing requirements for occupational therapy assistants and provisions for temporary permits.


H.B. NO.












SECTION 1. The legislature finds that the regulation of occupational therapy is scheduled for repeal on December 31, 2003. Presently, regulation comprises a simple registration system under chapter 457G, Hawaii Revised Statutes. In its recent sunset evaluation, the Auditor found that the regulation of occupational therapy practice is not warranted. Reportedly, there is no recent documentation of harm, and other types of protection for consumers exist.

Accordingly, the auditor found that the regulation of occupational therapy should be repealed by operation of law as presently contemplated under Hawaii's sunset law. The auditor also found that if (and only if) the legislature chooses to disregard the auditor's recommendation and instead continue the regulation of occupational therapy, then at the very least, certain amendments should be made to the occupational therapy regulatory law.

This Act implements the findings made by the auditor in report number 02-17. It does not itself provide for continued regulation of occupational therapy, but implements the auditor's recommendations as to changes that should be made to the regulatory law if the legislature chooses to continue regulation. Specifically, this Act amends the regulatory law by:

(1) Removing language that equates or tends to equate registration with "licensure";

(2) Referencing requirements for occupational therapy assistants; and

(3) Providing for temporary permits.

SECTION 2. Section 457G-1.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]457G-1.5[]] Practice of occupational therapy; qualifications; registration. (a) No person shall represent, advertise, or announce oneself, either publicly or privately, as an occupational therapist, nor use, in connection with the person's name or place of business, the words "occupational therapist", "certified occupational therapist", "occupational therapist registered", or the letters "OT", "COT", or "OTR", or any other words, letters, abbreviations, or insignia indicating or implying that such person is an occupational therapist unless such person registers the person's name and business address biennially with the department of commerce and consumer affairs in a manner established by rules adopted pursuant to chapter 91, and meets the qualifications of section 457G-2.

(b) The department shall maintain and biennially update a list of the names and business addresses of the occupational therapists who are registered under subsection (a).

(c) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to apply to occupational therapy assistants.

[(d) A registration granted under this chapter

shall mean that the person has met requirements that include minimum practice standards to provide protection to the public and is permitted to use the title and engage in the practice as an occupational therapist. In the granting of permission to engage in this profession, and consistent with section 436B-2, the definition for "license" is inclusive of a registration issued under this chapter and, as such, an occupational therapist that holds a registration shall be similarly regarded as an occupational therapist that holds a license.]"

SECTION 3. Section 457G-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"457G-2 Qualifications of occupational therapists [and occupational therapy assistants]. Occupational therapists [and occupational therapy assistants] shall have completed the educational requirements and supervised field work experience required for certification by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, and shall have passed a national certification examination administered by that association."

SECTION 4. Section 457G-2.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is repealed.

["[457G-2.5] Temporary permit. (a) An individual who has completed the educational requirements and supervised field work experience required by this chapter, but who has not yet passed the national certification examination, may be issued a temporary permit to perform occupational therapy services under the direct supervision of an individual who is duly registered under this chapter.

Applicants for a temporary permit shall submit an application to the department in the form prescribed by the department, which shall be accompanied by:

(1) A nonrefundable application fee of $25, which shall be deposited to the credit of the compliance resolution fund established pursuant to section 26-9(o);

(2) A letter from a registered occupational therapist verifying that the registered occupational therapist:

(A) Will provide direct supervision over all occupational therapy services performed by the applicant; and

(B) Advise the department of any change in or the termination of the supervisory relationship within forty-eight hours of the change.

Applicants shall also provide an original certificate of confirmation of examination registration and eligibility to examine, which shall be submitted directly to the department by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy or its successor organization.

(b) The department may issue a nonrenewable temporary permit for not longer than one year; provided that the temporary permit shall expire upon:

(1) Termination of the supervisory relationship between the permittee and the supervising registered occupational therapist; or

(2) Determination by the department that the applicant does not possess the qualifications required for the permit."]

SECTION 5. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken.

SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.



By Request