A New Chapter and Developments in the Legislative Atmosphere
The ASET Governmental Advocacy Committee (GAC) continues to monitor legislative and regulatory issues of interest and importance to our members.
What follows is an update on recent developments in Ohio and Missouri as it pertains to Occupational Licensing Reform (OLR):
Ohio Senate Bill 255
Ohio Senate Bill 255 was introduced in the Ohio General Assembly in February. The legislation proposes to establish a statewide policy on occupational regulation, to require standing committees of the General Assembly to periodically review occupational licensing boards regarding their sunset, and to require the Legislative Service Commission to perform assessments of occupational licensing bills and state regulation of occupations. This means that the committees will review and assess 20 percent of licensing boards each year for 5 years. Each board will have to present a strong, rigorous case to justify its continued existence.
Additional bill language of importance includes:
The definition of Certification. The bill defines certification as “a voluntary program in which a private organization or the state grants nontransferable recognition to an individual who meets personal qualifications established by the private organization or state law.”
The definition of Registration. The bill defines registration as “a requirement to give notice to the government that may include the individual’s name and address, the individual’s agent for service of process, the location of the activity to be performed, and a description of the service the individual provides. Registration does not include personal qualifications but may require a bond or insurance.”
ASET consulted with lawmakers at the Ohio General Assembly through the Ohio Neurodiagnostic Society: A Chapter of ASET, and learned that it is the legislative intent that private organization certifications are recognized. It is not the legislative intent to create an alternate licensing or certification process at this time. The goal of this bill is to reduce what the General Assembly considers unnecessary occupational licenses and apply the least restrictive approach possible when it comes to regulating occupations.
As a result, the bill provides the following scale of Least Restrictive to Most Restrictive approaches:
- Market Competition
- Third-party or consumer-created ratings and reviews
- Private Certification;
- Specific private civil cause of action to remedy consumer harm
- Actions under Chapter 1345. of the Revised Code
- Regulation of the process of providing the specific goods or services to consumers
- Bonding or insurance
- Government Certification
- Specialty occupational license for medical reimbursement
- Occupational license
The legislation was passed by the Senate at the end of June and currently awaits action in the House of Representatives. Lawmakers in both chambers have expressed a willingness to discuss any ongoing concerns with the legislative language and/or process going forward. ASET will continue to monitor the bill through the Ohio Chapter and Licensure Committee and will keep membership advised.
Missouri House Bill 1719
Missouri House Bill 1719, the Professional Employer Organization Act, was introduced during the 2018 General Assembly session. From the outset of the legislative process, the objective of HB 1719 was to modify the state government’s approach to the licensing of occupations and professional employer organizations. ASET worked alongside other organizations that monitor state certification/licensing legislation, including the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), to bring to light concerns with the bill. Three of the initial concerns centered around these issues:
The definition of “Certification.” The bill defines certification as “a program in which the government grants nontransferable recognition to an individual who meets personal qualifications established by a regulatory entity. Upon approval, the individual may use “certified” as a designated title.”
The definition of “Registration.” The bill defines registration as “a requirement established by the general assembly in which an individual: (a) Submits notification to a state agency; and (b) May use “registered” as a designated title.”
The bill would establish standards for state-controlled licensing programs that are so rigorous and require an extremely high burden of proof of necessity that could potentially result in ending state licensing of the professions, including doctors, lawyers, accountants, architects, etc.
ASET joined with ASAE – The Center for Association Leadership, and other like-minded organizations in engaging in a letter writing campaign to Missouri’s Lieutenant Governor, prior to his ascension to the governorship, expressing opposition to the bill. The position of ASET is that that since neurodiagnostics is not a licensed profession in Missouri, the non-governmental professional credentials offered for neurodiagnostics play an even more important role in protecting patient safety and providing the public, hospitals, risk managers, and insurers with objective and valid measures of knowledge and competence of neurodiagnostic technologists. During the legislative process, ASAE conveyed the belief that this bill contains language that is detrimental to both credentialing programs that are incorporated into state licensure laws (such as medical fields, CPAs, etc.) and voluntary certifications that are not required to practice an occupation in any state but demonstrate an individual’s professional knowledge and competence in a field (such as ASAE’s CAE credential).
The legislation was signed into law June 1, just prior to Governor Eric Greitens’ resignation. The bill’s signing was not unexpected as it was wrapped into an omnibus package that required passage prior to the Legislature ending its session. ASET and ASAE had expressed concerns with HB1500 as well – a bill which also provided for establishing guidelines for the future regulation of occupations and professions in the State of Missouri. This bill passed the legislature at the same time as HB1719.
Since the passage of those bills, ASET has had multiple discussions with staff from the office of the Chair of the Professional Registration Committee in the Missouri Senate, seeking clarification on language and legislative intent. The staff indicated that the legislative intent is that those definitions apply to occupations that are currently regulated by the state and have a state certification or registration process already in place. The intent was not that it apply to currently unregulated, private organization credentialed occupations. ASET will monitor the Missouri Department of Professional Registration to help ensure that when the rules are written that they not stray from the legislative intent of the bill. Should a legislative fix become necessary in the next session, ASET will work with other stakeholder organizations to help ensure that an appropriate correction is enacted.
At the same time, ASET is continuing its outreach to legislative sponsors, interested parties, and other stakeholders to discuss any concerns that arise and seek clarification where questions remain. By exercising diligence and opening lines of communication with lawmakers, ASET is better able to be proactive in achieving its public policy goals.
Occupational Licensing Reform (OLR)
In monitoring legislation of interest to the industry, a national trend in public policy has become apparent. Occupational Licensure Reform (OLR) now is a major topic of interest, not only at the state level, but at the federal level in Congress and the Administration (current and previous). This trend is illustrated by the increasing number of states that are introducing “sunset” legislation in an attempt to scale back regulation, occupational licensing processes and boards.
Federal efforts to incentivize OLR in state legislatures include US Department of Labor (DOL) grants for organizations to work with groups of states to design and implement approaches that enhance the portability of licenses across state lines and reduce what is perceived as overly burdensome licensing restrictions in general. Additionally, Congress recently passed the Strengthening Career and Technical Education Act. It allows for the use of federal education funds to identify and examine licenses or certifications that are seen as posing “an unwarranted barrier to the workforce.” States could use this funding to create mechanisms to study existing licensing requirements and identify which should be curtailed or eliminated.
Occupational licensing has grown rapidly since the 1950s – 5% of employees where licensed then, whereas 25% of workers are licensed now. Most of that growth is attributed to new licensure of previously unregulated occupations. As a result of the dramatic increase in licensure in recent decades, much research has been conducted by various entities on what the effects are on workers, occupational quality and the economy. The research shows that OLR is a much-talked-about, much-analyzed issue that has bipartisan support. In response, ASET Licensure Committees and the GAC are working on messaging and talking points to make a clear, robust case to lawmakers that licensure of Neurodiagnostic Technologists is a necessary step in improving patient safety.
The following four states, Washington, D.C., and Congress are currently in session:
- New Jersey
ASET Welcomes A New Chapter
ASET is pleased to introduce its newest chapter for the state of New York. Officially chartered in August, the officers and Directors of this new chapter are:
Justin Silverstein – Neuro Protective Solutions, LLC: DHSc, CNIM, R. EP T., R. NCS T., CNCT.
Christopher Moses -NYU Winthrop Hospital: R. EEG T.
Maria Marquez -NYU Winthrop Hospital Center for Cancer Care: Executive Administrative Assistant.
Alimo Noreiga – NY Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital: RPSGT, R. EEG T., R. EP T.
Scott Blodgett – Nihon Kohden Corporation, Vice President of Sales/East: MBA, R. EEG T., FASET.
Demetrius Simmons – NYU Winthrop Hospital: Lead R. EEG T./EP T.
Richard Steer – Lenox Hill Hospital, Norwell Health: EEG Coordinator.
We welcome the ASET-New York Chapter and look forward to a productive, collaborative partnership!
This article was written by Jennifer Montgomery, Governmental & Grassroots Advocacy Manager at ASET.