Substitute Senate Bill No. 400

Public Act No. 99-249

An Act Concerning Licensure of Acupuncturists, Alcohol and Drug Counselors and Retired Nurses.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. Section 20-206bb of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(a) No person shall perform acupuncture [unless he has obtained] without a license as an acupuncturist issued pursuant to this section.

(b) Each person seeking licensure as an acupuncturist shall make application on forms prescribed by the department, pay an application fee of one hundred dollars and present to the department satisfactory evidence that [he] the applicant (1) has completed sixty semester hours, or its equivalent, of postsecondary study in an institution of postsecondary education [which] that, if in the United States or its territories, was accredited by a recognized regional accrediting body or, if outside the United States or its territories, was legally chartered to grant postsecondary degrees in the country in which located, (2) has successfully completed a course of study in acupuncture in a program [which] that, at the time of graduation, was in candidate status with or accredited by an accrediting agency recognized by the United States Department of Education and [which] included a minimum of one thousand three hundred fifty hours of didactic and clinical training, five hundred of which were clinical, (3) has passed an examination prescribed by the department and (4) has successfully completed a course in clean needle technique prescribed by the department. Any person successfully completing the education, examination or training requirements of this section in a language other than English shall be deemed to have satisfied the requirement completed in that language.

(c) An applicant for licensure as an acupuncturist by endorsement shall present evidence satisfactory to the commissioner of licensure or certification as an acupuncturist, or as a person entitled to perform similar services under a different designation, in another state or jurisdiction whose requirements for practicing in such capacity are substantially similar to or higher than those of this state and that there are no disciplinary actions or unresolved complaints pending. Any person completing the requirements of this section in a language other than English shall be deemed to have satisfied the requirements of this section.

(d) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (b) of this section, the department shall, prior to [January] September 1, 1999, issue a license to any applicant who presents to the department satisfactory evidence that [he] the applicant has (1) passed the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncturists written examination by test or by credentials review, (2) successfully completed the practical examination of point location skills offered by the National Commission for the Certification of Acupuncturists, and (3) successfully completed a course in clean needle technique prescribed by the department pursuant to subsection (b) of this section.

(e) Licenses shall be renewed annually in accordance with the provisions of subsection (e) of section 19a-88. The fee for renewal shall be one hundred dollars.

(f) No license shall be issued under this section to any applicant against whom professional disciplinary action is pending or who is the subject of an unresolved complaint in this or any other state or territory of the United States.

(g) Nothing in section 19a-89c, 20-206aa, 20-206cc or this section shall be construed to prevent licensed practitioners of the healing arts, as defined in sections 20-1 and 20-196, physical therapists or dentists from providing care or performing services consistent with accepted standards within their respective professions.

(h) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, any person certified by an organization approved by the Commissioner of Public Health may practice auricular acupuncture for the treatment of alcohol and drug abuse, provided the treatment is performed under the supervision of a physician licensed under chapter 370 and is performed in either (1) a private free-standing facility licensed by the Department of Public Health for the care or treatment of substance abusive or dependent persons, or (2) a setting operated by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The Commissioner of Public Health shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54, to ensure the safe provision of auricular acupuncture within private free-standing facilities licensed by the Department of Public Health for the care or treatment of substance abusive or dependent persons.

(i) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, no license to practice acupuncture is required of: (1) Students enrolled in a college or program of acupuncture if (A) the college or program is recognized by the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine or licensed or accredited by the Board of Governors for Higher Education and (B) the practice that would otherwise require a license is pursuant to a course of instruction or assignments from a licensed instructor and under the supervision of the instructor; or (2) licensed faculty members providing the didactic and clinical training necessary to meet the accreditation standards of the Accreditation Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine at a college or program recognized by the commission or licensed or accredited by the Board of Governors for Higher Education. For purposes of this subsection, "licensed faculty member" and "licensed instructor" means a faculty member or instructor licensed under this section or otherwise authorized to practice acupuncture in this state.

Sec. 2. Subsection (c) of section 19a-14 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(c) No board shall exist for the following professions which are licensed or otherwise regulated by the Department of Public Health:

(1) Speech pathologist and audiologist;

(2) Hearing aid dealer;

(3) Nursing home administrator;

(4) Sanitarian;

(5) Subsurface sewage system installer or cleaner;

(6) Marital and family therapist;

(7) Nurse-midwife;

(8) Licensed clinical social worker;

(9) Respiratory care practitioner;

(10) Asbestos contractor and asbestos consultant;

(11) Massage therapist;

(12) Registered nurse's aide;

(13) Radiographer;

(14) Dental hygienist;

(15) Dietitian-Nutritionist;

(16) Asbestos abatement worker;

(17) Asbestos abatement site supervisor;

(18) Licensed or certified alcohol and drug counselor; [and]

(19) Professional counselor; and

(20) Acupuncturist.

The department shall assume all powers and duties normally vested with a board in administering regulatory jurisdiction over said professions. The uniform provisions of this chapter and chapters 368v, 369 to 381, inclusive, 383 to 388, inclusive, 393a, 395, 398, 399 and 400a, including but not limited to standards for entry and renewal; grounds for professional discipline; receiving and processing complaints; and disciplinary sanctions, shall apply, except as otherwise provided by law, to the professions listed in this subsection.

Sec. 3. Subsections (l) to (n), inclusive, of section 20-74s of the general statutes are repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(l) Any person who has attained a master's level degree and is certified by the [Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services] Connecticut Certification Board as a substance abuse counselor on [October 1, 1998] or before July 1, 2000, shall be deemed a licensed alcohol and drug counselor. Any person so deemed shall renew his license pursuant to section 19a-88 for a fee of one hundred fifty dollars.

(m) Any person who has not attained a master's level degree and is certified by the [Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services] Connecticut Certification Board as a substance abuse counselor on [October 1, 1998] or before July 1, 2000, shall be deemed a certified alcohol and drug counselor. Any person so deemed shall renew his certification pursuant to section 19a-88 for a fee of one hundred fifty dollars.

(n) Any person who is not certified by the [Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services] Connecticut Certification Board as a substance abuse counselor on or before July 1, [1998] 2000, who (1) documents to the department that he has a minimum of five years full-time or eight years part-time paid work experience, under supervision, as an alcohol and drug counselor, and (2) successfully passes a commissioner-approved examination no later than July 1, [1999] 2000, shall be deemed a certified alcohol and drug counselor. Any person so deemed shall renew his certification pursuant to section 19a-88 for a fee of one hundred fifty dollars.

Sec. 4. Subsection (c) of section 19a-88 is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(c) (1) Each person holding a license to practice as a registered nurse, shall, annually, during the month of [his] such person's birth, register with the Department of Public Health, upon payment of the professional services fee for class B, as defined in section 33-182l, on blanks to be furnished by the department for such purpose, giving [his] such person's name in full, [his] with residence and business address and such other information as the department requests. Each person holding a license to practice as a registered nurse who has retired from the profession may renew such license, but the fee shall be ten per cent of the professional services fee for class B, as defined in section 33-182l. Any license provided by the department at a reduced fee shall indicate that the registered nurse is retired.

(2) Each person holding a license as an advanced practice registered nurse shall, annually, during the month of [his] such person's birth, register with the Department of Public Health, upon payment of the professional services fee for class C, as defined in section 33-182l, on blanks to be furnished by the department for such purpose, giving [his] such person's name in full, [his] with residence and business address and such other information as the department requests. No such license shall be renewed unless the department is satisfied that the person maintains current certification as either a nurse practitioner, a clinical nurse specialist or a nurse anesthetist from one of the following national certifying bodies which certify nurses in advanced practice: The American Nurses' Association, the Nurses' Association of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Certification Corporation, the National Board of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners and Associates or the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. Each person holding a license to practice as an advanced practice registered nurse who has retired from the profession may renew such license, but the fee shall be ten per cent of the professional services fee for class C, as defined in section 33-182l. Any license provided by the department at a reduced fee shall indicate that the advanced practice registered nurse is retired.

(3) Each person holding a license as a licensed practical nurse shall, annually, during the month of [his] such person's birth, register with the Department of Public Health, upon payment of the professional services fee for class A, as defined in section 33-182l, on blanks to be furnished by the department for such purpose, giving [his] such person's name in full, [his] with residence and business address and such other information as the department requests. Each person holding a license to practice as a licensed practical nurse who has retired from the profession may renew such license, but the fee shall be ten per cent of the professional services fee for class A, as defined in section 33-182l. Any license provided by the department at a reduced fee shall indicate that the licensed practical nurse is retired.

(4) Each person holding a license as a nurse-midwife shall, annually, during the month of [his] such person's birth, register with the Department of Public Health, upon payment of the professional services fee for class C, as defined in section 33-182l, on blanks to be furnished by the department for such purpose, giving [his] such person's name in full, [his] with residence and business address and such other information as the department requests. No such license shall be renewed unless the department is satisfied that the person maintains current certification from the American College of Nurse-Midwives.

(5) Each person holding a license to practice physical therapy shall, annually, during the month of [his] such person's birth, register with the Department of Public Health, upon payment of the professional services fee for class B, as defined in section 33-182l, on blanks to be furnished by the department for such purpose, giving [his] such person's name in full, [his] with residence and business address and such other information as the department requests.

(6) Each person holding a license as a physician assistant shall, annually, during the month of [his] such person's birth, register with the Department of Public Health, upon payment of a fee of seventy-five dollars, on blanks to be furnished by the department for such purpose, giving [his] such person's name in full, [his] with residence and business address and such other information as the department requests. No such license shall be renewed unless the department is satisfied that the practitioner has met the mandatory continuing medical education requirements of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants or a successor organization for the certification or recertification of physician assistants that may be approved by the department and has passed any examination or continued competency assessment the passage of which may be required by said commission for maintenance of current certification by said commission.

Sec. 5. (NEW) For purposes of subsection (c) of section 19a-88 of the general statutes, as amended by this act, the commissioner shall adopt regulations, in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 of the general statutes, no later than January 1, 2000. Such regulations shall include, but not be limited to, (1) a definition of "retired from the profession" as that term applies to registered nurses, advanced practice registered nurses and licensed practical nurses, (2) procedures for the return to active employment of such nurses who have retired from the profession, (3) appropriate restrictions upon the scope of practice for such nurses who are retired from the profession, including restricting the license of such nurses to the provision of volunteer services without monetary compensation, and (4) the requirement that any registered nurse, advanced practice nurse, or licensed practical nurse seeking to renew a license under the provisions of this act shall be a holder in good standing of a current license issued pursuant to chapter 378 of the general statutes as of the date of application for renewal.

Sec. 6. Subdivision (3) of section 20-66 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof:

(3) "Physical therapist assistant" means (A) a graduate of a physical therapist assistant program approved by the State Board of Examiners for Physical Therapists, with the consent of the Commissioner of Public Health, (B) a graduate of a United States physical therapy school approved by the State Board of Examiners for Physical Therapists, or (C) a person who has completed twenty years of employment as a physical therapist assistant prior to October 1, 1989.

Sec. 7. (a) The Commissioner of the Office of Health Care Access, within available appropriations, shall conduct a study on the public health effects of nurse-patient ratios in hospitals. To the extent the commissioner deems it appropriate, the study may include, but need not be limited to: The number of registered nurses providing direct care and the ratio of patients per registered nurse; the number of licensed practical nurses providing direct care and the total hours of nursing care per patient; the number of unlicensed personnel utilized to provide direct patient care; the number of other licensed or registered health professionals meeting staffing requirements; incidences of adverse patient care incidents, including medication errors and patient injury, methods used for determining and adjusting staffing levels; and the availability of data regarding complaints filed as a result of nurse-patient ratios.

(b) Not later than February 9, 2000, the commissioner shall submit a report on the commissioner's findings and recommendations to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to public health, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes.

Sec. 8. (a) The Commissioner of Public Health, within available appropriations, and in collaboration with The University of Connecticut Health Center, shall conduct a study on the establishment of an umbilical cord blood repository for allogeneic transplantation. The study may include, but need not be limited to, the need for state funding, the amount of funding from potential appropriations from the General Fund, sources of federal support, grants and other possible resources.

(b) Not later than February 9, 2000, the commissioner shall submit a report on the commissioner's findings and recommendations to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to public health, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes.

Sec. 9. (a) The Commissioner of Public Health, within available appropriations, shall conduct a study on the public health effects of nurse-patient ratios in home health care agencies. To the extent the commissioner deems it appropriate to address the public health effects of nurse-patient ratios, the study may include, but need not be limited to: The number of registered nurses providing direct care and the ratio of patients per registered nurse; the number of licensed practical nurses providing direct care and the total hours of nursing care per patient; the number of unlicensed personnel utilized to provide direct patient care; the number of other licensed or registered health professionals meeting staffing requirements; incidences of adverse patient care incidents, including medication errors and patient injury, methods used for determining and adjusting staffing levels; and the availability of data regarding complaints filed as a result of nurse-patient ratios.

(b) Not later than February 9, 2000, the commissioner shall submit a report on the commissioner's findings and recommendations to the joint standing committee of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to public health, in accordance with the provisions of section 11-4a of the general statutes.

Sec. 10. This act shall take effect from its passage, except that sections 4 and 5 shall take effect January 1, 2000.

Approved June 29, 1999

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