Chapter 039

2007 -- H 5674 AS AMENDED

Enacted 06/14/07

 

A N A C T

BUSINESSES AND PROFESSIONS -- SPEECH PATHOLOGY AND AUDIOLOGY

          

     Introduced By: Representative Thomas Winfield

     Date Introduced: February 28, 2007

 

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

 

     SECTION 1. Sections 5-48-1, 5-48-2, 5-48-3, 5-48-6, 5-48-7, 5-48-7.1, 5-48-9 and 5-48-

11 of the General Laws in Chapter 5-48 entitled "Speech Pathology and Audiology" are hereby

amended to read as follows:

 

     5-48-1. Purpose and legislative intent -- Definitions. -- (a) It is declared to be a policy

of this state that the practice of speech language pathology and audiology is a privilege granted to

qualified persons and that, in order to safeguard the public health, safety, and welfare, protect the

public from being misled by incompetent, unscrupulous, and unauthorized persons, and protect

the public from unprofessional conduct by qualified speech language pathologists and

audiologists, it is necessary to provide regulatory authority over persons offering speech language

pathology and audiology services to the public.

      (b) The following words and terms when used in this chapter have the following

meaning unless otherwise indicated within the context:

      (1) "Audiologist" means an individual licensed by the board to practice audiology.

      (2) "Audiology" means the application of principles, methods, and procedures related to

hearing and the disorders of the hearing and balance systems, to related language and speech

disorders, and to aberrant behavior related to hearing loss. A hearing disorder in an individual is

defined as altered sensitivity, acuity, function, processing, and/or damage to the integrity of the

physiological auditory/vestibular systems.

      (3) "Audiology support personnel" means individuals who meets minimum

qualifications, established by the board, which are less than those established by this chapter as

necessary for licensing as an audiologist, who do not act independently, and who work under the

direction and supervision of an audiologist licensed under this chapter who has been actively

working in the field for twenty-four (24) months after completion of the postgraduate

professional experience and who accepts the responsibility for the acts and performances of the

audiology assistant while working under this chapter. Audiology support personnel shall be

registered with the board within thirty (30) days of beginning work, or the supervising audiologist

will be assessed a late filing fee of fifty dollars ($50.00).

      (4) "Board" means the state board of examiners for speech language pathology and

audiology.

      (5) "Clinical fellow" means the person who is practicing speech language pathology or

audiology under the supervision of a licensed speech language pathologist or audiologist while

completing the postgraduate professional experience as required by this chapter.

     (6) "Department" means the Rhode Island department of health.

     (7) "Director" means the director of the Rhode Island department of health.

      (6) (8) "Person" means an individual, partnership, organization, or corporation, except

that only individuals can be licensed under this chapter.

      (7) (9) (i) "Practice of audiology" means rendering or offering to render any service in

audiology, including prevention, screening, and identification, evaluation, habilitation,

rehabilitation; participating in environmental and occupational hearing conservation programs,

and habilitation and rehabilitation programs including hearing aid and assistive listening device

evaluation, prescription, preparation, dispensing, and/or selling and orientation; auditory training

and speech reading; conducting and interpreting tests of vestibular function and nystagmus;

conducting and interpreting electrophysiological measures of the auditory pathway; cerumen

management; evaluating sound environment and equipment; calibrating instruments used in

testing and supplementing auditory function; and planning, directing, conducting or supervising

programs that render or offer to render any service in audiology.

      (ii) The practice of audiology may include speech and/or language screening to a pass or

fail determination, for the purpose of initial identification of individuals with other disorders of

communication.

      (iii) A practice is deemed to be the "practice of audiology" if services are offered under

any title incorporating such word as "audiology", "audiologist", "audiometry", "audiometrist",

"audiological", "audiometrics", "hearing therapy", "hearing therapist", "hearing clinic", "hearing

clinician", "hearing conservation", "hearing conservationist", "hearing center", "hearing aid

audiologist", or any similar title or description of services.

      (8) (10) (i) "Practice of speech language pathology" means rendering or offering to

render any service in speech language pathology including prevention, identification, evaluation,

consultation, habilitation, rehabilitation; determining the need for augmentative communication

systems, dispensing and selling these systems, and providing training in the use of these systems;

and planning, directing, conducting, or supervising programs that render or offer to render any

service in speech language pathology.

      (ii) The practice of speech language pathology may include nondiagnostic pure tone air

conduction screening, screening tympanometry, and acoustic reflex screening, limited to a pass or

fail determination, for the purpose of performing a speech and language evaluation or for the

initial identification of individuals with other disorders of communication.

      (iii) The practice of speech language pathology also may include aural rehabilitation,

which is defined as services and procedures for facilitating adequate receptive and expressive

communication in individuals with hearing impairment.

      (iv) A practice is deemed to be the "practice of speech language pathology" if services

are offered under any title incorporating such words as "speech pathology", "speech pathologist",

"speech therapy", "speech therapist", "speech correction", "speech correctionist", "speech clinic",

"speech clinician", "language pathology", "language pathologist", "voice therapy", "voice

therapist", "voice pathology", "voice pathologist", "logopedics", "logopedist", "communicology",

"communicologist", "aphasiology", "aphasiologist", "phoniatrist", or any similar title or

description of services.

     (11) "Regionally accredited" means the official guarantee that a college or university or

other educational institution is in conformity with the standards of education prescribed by a

regional accrediting commission recognized by the United States secretary of education.

      (9) (12) "Speech language pathologist" means an individual who is licensed by the board

to practice speech language pathology.

      (10) (13) "Speech language pathology" means the application of principles, methods, and

procedures for prevention, identification, evaluation, consultation, habilitation, rehabilitation,

instruction, and research related to the development and disorders of human communication.

Disorders are defined to include any and all conditions, whether of organic or non-organic origin,

that impede the normal process of human communication in individuals or groups of individuals

who have or are suspected of having these conditions, including, but not limited to, disorders and

related disorders of:

      (i) Speech: articulation, fluency, voice, (including respiration, phonation and resonance);

      (ii) Language (involving the parameters of phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics

and pragmatics; and including disorders of receptive and expressive communication in oral,

written, graphic, and manual modalities);

      (iii) Oral, pharyngeal, laryngeal, cervical esophageal, and related functions (e.g.,

dysphasia, including disorders of swallowing and oral function for feeding; oro-facial

myofunctional disorders);

      (iv) Cognitive aspects of communication (including communication disability and other

functional disabilities associated with cognitive impairment); and

      (v) Social aspects of communication (including challenging behavior, ineffective social

skills, lack of communication opportunities).

      (11) (14) "Speech language support personnel" means individuals who meet minimum

qualifications established by the board, which are less than those established by this chapter as

necessary for licensing as a speech language pathologist, who do not act independently, and who

work under the direction and supervision of a speech language pathologist licensed under this

chapter who has been actively working in the field for twenty-four (24) months after completion

of the postgraduate professional experience and who accepts the responsibility for the acts and

performances of the speech language pathology assistant while working under this chapter.

Speech language support personnel shall be registered with the board within thirty (30) days of

beginning work, or the supervising speech language pathologist will be assessed a late filing fee

of fifty dollars ($50.00).

 

     5-48-2. Board of examiners -- Composition -- Appointments, terms and

qualifications of members. -- (a) There exists within the department of health a board of

examiners of speech language pathology and audiology. The board shall consist of five (5)

persons who are residents of the state, and who have worked within the state for at least one year

prior to their appointments.

      (1) Two (2) members shall be speech language pathologists who have practiced speech

language pathology for at least five (5) years preceding appointment, are currently practicing

speech language pathology, and hold active and valid licensure for the practice of speech

language pathology in this state.

      (2) One member shall be an audiologist who has practiced audiology for at least five (5)

years immediately preceding appointment, is currently practicing audiology, and holds active and

valid licensure for the practice of audiology in this state.

      (3) One member shall be an otolaryngologist who holds certification by the American

Academy of Otolaryngology -- head and neck surgery, who is currently practicing

otolaryngology, and holds active and valid licensure as a physician within this state.

      (4) One member shall be a representative of the consumer public who is not associated

with or financially interested in the practice or business of speech language pathology or

audiology.

      (b) All appointments to the board shall be for the term of three (3) years. Members shall

serve until the expiration of the term for which they have been appointed or until their appointed

successors are qualified.

      (c) When a vacancy upon the board occurs, the director of the department of health shall,

with the approval of the governor, appoint persons who are working within the state to fill the

remainder of the vacant term.

      (d) The board shall reorganize annually during the month of January and shall select a

chairperson.

      (e) Three (3) members of the board shall constitute a quorum to do business; provided,

that at least one speech language pathologist and one audiologist are present. A majority of

currently filled positions shall constitute a quorum to do business.

      (f) No person shall be appointed to serve more than two (2) consecutive terms.

      (g) The first board and all future members shall be appointed by the director of the

department of health, with the approval of the governor.

      (h) The director of the department of health, with the approval of the governor, may

remove any member of the board for dishonorable conduct, incompetency, or neglect of duty.

 

     5-48-3. Board of examiners -- Duties and powers -- Meetings -- Compensation of

members. -- (a) The board shall administer, coordinate, and enforce the provisions of this

chapter, evaluate the qualifications of applicants, supervise the examination of applicants, and

may issue subpoenas, examine witnesses, and administer oaths, conduct hearings, and at its

discretion investigate allegations of violations of this chapter and impose penalties if any

violations of the chapter have occurred.

      (b) The board shall conduct hearings and keep records and minutes as necessary to an

orderly dispatch of business.

      (c) The board shall, with the approval of the director of the department of health, adopt,

amend or repeal rules and regulations, including, but not limited to, regulations that delineate

qualifications for licensure and establish standards of professional conduct. Following their

adoption, the rules and regulations shall govern and control the professional conduct of every

person who holds a license to practice speech language pathology or audiology in this state.

      (d) The board shall make available complete lists of the names and office addresses of all

licensed speech language pathologists and/or audiologists registered and practicing in the state,

arranged alphabetically by name and also by the names of the cities or towns where their various

offices are situated.

      (e) The board may request legal advice and assistance from the appropriate state legal

officer.

      (f) Regular meetings of the board shall be held at the times and places that it prescribes,

and special meetings may be held upon the call of the chairperson; provided, that at least one

regular meeting shall be held each year.

      (g) The conferral or enumeration of specific powers in this chapter shall not be construed

as a limitation of the general powers conferred by this section. No member of the board shall be

liable to civil action for any act performed in good faith in the performance of his or her duties as

prescribed by this chapter.

      (h) Board members shall serve without compensation.

      (i) The board may suspend the authority of any registered speech language pathologist or

audiologist to practice speech language pathology or audiology for failure to comply with any of

the requirements of this chapter.

 

     5-48-6. Licensure and regulation of speech language pathologists and audiologists. --

(a) Licensure shall be granted in either speech language pathology or audiology independently. A

person may be licensed in both areas if he or she meets the respective qualifications.

      (b) No person shall practice as, advertise as, or use the title of speech pathologist or

audiologist or hold himself or herself out as being able to practice speech language pathology or

audiology as defined in section 5-48-1 in this state unless he or she is licensed in accordance with

the provisions of the laws of the state.

      (c) Registered speech language pathologists and/or audiologists may render services

under the terms and provisions of the workers' compensation and rehabilitation laws.

      (d) A provisional license for the clinical fellow (defined in section 5-48-1(b)(5)) shall be

required in either speech language pathology or audiology for that period of postgraduate

professional experience as required in section 5-48-7. A provisional license shall authorize an

individual to practice speech-language pathology or audiology solely in connection with the

completion of the supervised postgraduate professional experience.

 

     5-48-7. Qualifications of applicants for licenses Qualifications of applicants for a

license as a speech language pathologist. -- To be eligible for licensure by the board as a speech

language pathologist or audiologist, the applicant must:

      (1) Be of good moral character;

      (2) Apply to the board department, upon a form prescribed by the board department;

      (3) Pay Submit the appropriate application fee;

      (4) Submit an official transcript indicating possession of a master's degree or a doctorate

degree or equivalent in speech language pathology or audiology from an educational institution

accredited by the council on academic accreditation (CAA) of the American speech language

hearing association (ASHA) or other national accrediting association as may be approved by the

board. The degree shall consist of course work approved by the board and in accordance with the

current minimum requirements for the certificate of clinical competence issued by the American

Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) or other national accrediting association as may

be approved by the board and delineated in the rules and regulations;

      (5) Complete supervised clinical practicum experiences from an educational institution

or its cooperating programs. The content of the practicum shall be approved by the board and in

accordance with the current minimum requirements for the certificate of clinical competence

issued by the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) or other national

accrediting association as may be approved by the board and delineated in the rules and

regulations;

      (6) Present written evidence from licensed employers or supervisors of a cumulative or

equivalent total of nine (9) months of full-time employment as a trainee or fellow in speech

language pathology or audiology as authorized pursuant to section 5-48-6, and following the

completion of the educational requirements for a master's degree, or during the course of

obtaining a doctorate degree; and

      (7) (6) Pass a national examination in speech language pathology or audiology as

required by the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) or other national

accrediting association as may be approved by the board. and delineated in the rules and

regulations;

     (7) Present verification of a certificate of clinical competence from the American Speech

Language Hearing Association (ASHA) or other national accrediting association as may be

approved by the board; and

     (8) If applicable, present evidence from the board of speech language pathology in each

state in which the applicant has held or holds licensure to be submitted to the board of this state,

attesting to the licensure status of the applicant during the time period the applicant held licensure

in said state.

 

     5-48-7.1. Qualifications for a provisional license Qualifications for a provisional

license for a speech language pathologist. -- (a) To be eligible for provisional licensure by the

board, the speech language pathologist applicant must submit an application with the required

application fee and be in compliance with the requirements of section 5-48-7(1), (4), (5) and (7)

(6).

      (b) In addition to the requirements of subsection (a) of this section, the applicant shall

also submit a plan for the content of the supervised postgraduate professional experience on a

form approved by the board content of the supervised postgraduate professional experience shall

meet the standards of a trainee or fellow of speech pathology as required by the American speech

language hearing association (ASHA) or other national accrediting association as may be

approved by the board.

      (c) If the postgraduate professional experience extends beyond one year, provisional

licensure must be renewed annually and not exceed thirty-six (36) months past the initiation of

the professional experience.

      (d) The provisional licensure shall expire ninety (90) days after the end of the

postgraduate professional experience.

 

     5-48-9. Fees -- Late filing -- Inactive status. -- Filing fees for support personnel

registration. -- (a) The board may charge an application fee of thirty-one dollars and fifty cents

($31.50); a biennial license renewal fee of sixty-two dollars and fifty cents ($62.50) payable

before July 1 of even years (biennially); or a provisional license renewal fee of thirty-one dollars

and fifty cents ($31.50) payable annually from the date of issue.

      (b) Any person who allows his or her license to lapse by failing to renew it on or before

the thirtieth (30th) day of June of even years (biennially), may be reinstated by the board on

payment of the current renewal fee plus an additional late filing fee of twenty-five dollars

($25.00).

      (c) An individual licensed as a speech language pathologist and/or audiologist in this

state, not in the active practice of speech-language pathology or audiology within this state during

any year, may upon request to the board, have his or her name transferred to an inactive status

and shall not be required to register biennially or pay any fee as long as he or she remains

inactive. Inactive status may be maintained for no longer than two (2) consecutive licensing

periods, after which period licensure shall be terminated and reapplication to the board shall be

required to resume practice.

      (d) Any individual whose name has been transferred to an inactive status may be

restored to active status within two (2) licensing periods without a penalty fee, upon the filing of:

      (1) An application for licensure renewal, with a licensure renewal fee of sixty-two

dollars and fifty cents ($62.50) made payable by check to the general treasurer of the state of

Rhode Island; and

      (2) Any other information that the board may request.

     (e) Audiology and speech language pathology support personnel shall be registered with

the board within thirty (30) days of beginning work, or the supervising audiologist or speech

language pathologist shall be assessed a late filing fee of fifty dollars ($50.00).

 

     5-48-11. Grounds for suspension or revocation of licenses. -- The license of any

speech language pathologist and/or audiologist may be suspended or revoked by the board upon

proof that he or she:

      (1) Fraudulently or deceptively obtained or attempted to obtain a license for the

applicant, licensee, holder, or for another;

      (2) Fraudulently or deceptively used a license;

      (3) Altered a license;

      (4) Aided or abetted unlicensed practice;

      (5) Committed fraud and deceit in the practice of speech language pathology or of

audiology, including, but not limited to:

      (i) Using or promoting, or causing the use of, any misleading, deceiving, or untruthful

advertising matter, promotional literature, testimonial, guarantee, warranty, label, brand, insignia,

or any other representation;

      (ii) Falsely representing the use or availability of services or advice of a physician;

      (iii) Misrepresenting the applicant, licensee, or holder by using the word "doctor" or any

similar word, abbreviation, or symbol, if the use is not accurate or if the degree was not obtained

from an accredited institution;

      (iv) Willfully making Making or filing a false report or record in the practice of speech

language pathology or audiology;

      (v) Submitting a false statement to collect a fee; and

      (vi) Obtaining a fee through fraud or misrepresentation;

      (6) Providing services while mentally incompetent;

      (7) Engaging in illegal, incompetent, or habitually negligent practice;

      (8) Providing professional services while:

      (i) Under the influence of alcohol; or

      (ii) Using any narcotic or controlled dangerous substance or other drug that is in excess

of therapeutic amounts or without valid medical indication;

      (9) Promoting the sale of devices, appliances, or products to a patient who cannot benefit

from these devices, appliances or products; or

      (10) Violating any provision of this chapter, any lawful order given, or rule or regulation

adopted by the board or departure from or failure to conform to the current standards of

acceptable prevailing practice and code of ethics of speech language pathology or audiology;

      (11) Being convicted of, or pleading guilty or nolo contendere to, a felony or to a crime

involving moral turpitude, whether or not any appeal or another proceeding is pending to have the

conviction or plea set aside;

     (12) Incompetent or negligent misconduct in the practice of speech language pathology or

audiology;

     (13) Is habitually intemperate or is addicted to the use of habit forming drugs;

      (12) (14) Being disciplined by a licensing or disciplinary authority of any other state or

country, or convicted or disciplined by a court of any state or country, for an act that would be

grounds for disciplinary action under this section; or

      (13) (15) Failing to maintain continuing education requirements.; or

      (14) Failing to conform to minimum standards of prevailing practice of speech language

pathology or audiology.

 

     SECTION 2. Section 5-48-8 of the General Laws in Chapter 5-48 entitled "Speech

Pathology and Audiology" is hereby repealed.

 

     5-48-8. Clinical competency in lieu of examination -- Licensure in other states. -- The

board may, at its discretion, waive the examination requirement for applicants who:

      (1) Present proof of current licensure in a state that has standards that are at least

equivalent to those of this state; and/or

      (2) Hold a certificate of clinical competence in speech language pathology or audiology

from the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA) in the area for which they are

applying for licensure.

 

     SECTION 3. Chapter 5-48 of the General Laws entitled "Speech Pathology and

Audiology" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:

 

     5-48-7.2. Qualifications for license as an audiologist. Persons seeking initial licensure

as an audiologist on or after January 1, 2008 shall meet the following requirements:

     (1) Be of good moral character;

     (2) Apply to the board, upon a form prescribed by the board;

     (3) Submit the appropriate application fee;

     (4) Submit an official transcript indicating possession of an earned doctorate degree in

audiology from a regionally accredited educational institution as delineated in the rules and

regulations;

     (5) Pass a national examination in audiology approved by the board and delineated in the

rules and regulations;

     (6) Present evidence of practicum experience that is equivalent to a minimum of twelve

(12) months of full-time, supervised experience, that may be completed as part of the graduate

degree, as delineated in the rules and regulations;

     (7) If applicable, present evidence from the board of audiology in each state in which the

applicant has held or holds licensure to be submitted to the board of this state, attesting to the

licensure status of the applicant during the time period the applicant held licensure in said state;

     (8) Any other requirements as set forth in the rules and regulations.

 

     SECTION 4. Chapter 5-48 of the General Laws entitled "Speech Pathology and

Audiology" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:

 

     5-48-7.3. Qualifications for audiologists licensed in alternate jurisdictions. Persons

licensed as an audiologist in alternate jurisdictions on or before January 1, 2008 shall meet the

requirements of this state that were in effect at the time of initial licensure in the alternate

jurisdiction.

 

     SECTION 5. This act shall take effect upon passage.

     

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LC00777

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