Code Section Group

Business and Professions Code - BPC

DIVISION 2. HEALING ARTS [500 - 4999.129]

  ( Division 2 enacted by Stats. 1937, Ch. 399. )

CHAPTER 8.3. Respiratory Therapy [3700 - 3779]

  ( Chapter 8.3 added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 1344, Sec. 1. )

ARTICLE 1. General Provisions [3700 - 3706]
  ( Article 1 added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 1344, Sec. 1. )

3700.
  

This chapter may be cited as the “Respiratory Care Practice Act.”

(Added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 1344, Sec. 1. Operative July 1, 1983, by Sec. 3 of Ch. 1344.)

3701.
  

(a) The Legislature finds and declares that the practice of respiratory care in California affects the public health, safety, and welfare and is to be subject to regulation and control in the public interest to protect the public from the unauthorized and unqualified practice of respiratory care and from unprofessional conduct by persons licensed to practice respiratory care. The Legislature also recognizes the practice of respiratory care to be a dynamic and changing art and science, the practice of which is continually evolving to include newer ideas and more sophisticated techniques in patient care.

(b) It is the intent of the Legislature in this chapter to provide clear legal authority for functions and procedures which have common acceptance and usage. It is the intent also to recognize the existence of overlapping functions between physicians and surgeons, registered nurses, physical therapists, respiratory care practitioners, and other licensed health care personnel, and to permit additional sharing of functions within organized health care systems. The organized health care systems include, but are not limited to, health facilities licensed pursuant to Chapter 2 (commencing with Section 1250) of Division 2 of the Health and Safety Code, clinics, home health agencies, physicians’ offices, and public or community health services.

(c) For purposes of this section, it is the intent of the Legislature that “overlapping functions” includes, but is not limited to, providing therapy, management, rehabilitation, diagnostic evaluation, and care for nonrespiratory-related diagnoses or conditions provided (1) a health care facility has authorized the respiratory care practitioner to provide these services and (2) the respiratory care practitioner has maintained current competencies in the services provided, as needed.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 247, Sec. 1. (SB 525) Effective January 1, 2016.)

3702.
  

(a) Respiratory care as a practice means a health care profession employed under the supervision of a medical director in the therapy, management, rehabilitation, diagnostic evaluation, and care of patients with deficiencies and abnormalities which affect the pulmonary system and associated aspects of cardiopulmonary and other systems functions, and includes all of the following:

(1) Direct and indirect pulmonary care services that are safe, aseptic, preventive, and restorative to the patient.

(2) Direct and indirect respiratory care services, including, but not limited to, the administration of pharmacological and diagnostic and therapeutic agents related to respiratory care procedures necessary to implement a treatment, disease prevention, pulmonary rehabilitative, or diagnostic regimen prescribed by a physician and surgeon.

(3) Observation and monitoring of signs and symptoms, general behavior, general physical response to respiratory care treatment and diagnostic testing and (A) determination of whether such signs, symptoms, reactions, behavior, or general response exhibits abnormal characteristics; (B) implementation based on observed abnormalities of appropriate reporting or referral or respiratory care protocols, or changes in treatment regimen, pursuant to a prescription by a physician and surgeon or the initiation of emergency procedures.

(4) The diagnostic and therapeutic use of any of the following, in accordance with the prescription of a physician and surgeon: administration of medical gases, exclusive of general anesthesia; aerosols; humidification; environmental control systems and baromedical therapy; pharmacologic agents related to respiratory care procedures; mechanical or physiological ventilatory support; bronchopulmonary hygiene; cardiopulmonary resuscitation; maintenance of the natural airways; insertion without cutting tissues and maintenance of artificial airways; diagnostic and testing techniques required for implementation of respiratory care protocols; collection of specimens of blood; collection of specimens from the respiratory tract; analysis of blood gases and respiratory secretions.

(5) The transcription and implementation of the written and verbal orders of a physician and surgeon pertaining to the practice of respiratory care.

(b) As used in this section, the following apply:

(1) “Associated aspects of cardiopulmonary and other systems functions” includes patients with deficiencies and abnormalities affecting the heart and cardiovascular system.

(2) “Respiratory care protocols” means policies and protocols developed by a licensed health facility through collaboration, when appropriate, with administrators, physicians and surgeons, registered nurses, physical therapists, respiratory care practitioners, and other licensed health care practitioners.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 247, Sec. 2. (SB 525) Effective January 1, 2016.)

3702.7.
  

The respiratory care practice is further defined and includes, but is not limited to, the following:

(a) Mechanical or physiological ventilatory support as used in paragraph (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 3702 includes, but is not limited to, any system, procedure, machine, catheter, equipment, or other device used in whole or in part, to provide ventilatory or oxygenating support.

(b) Administration of medical gases and pharmacological agents for the purpose of inducing conscious or deep sedation under physician and surgeon supervision and the direct orders of the physician and surgeon performing the procedure.

(c) All forms of extracorporeal life support, including, but not limited to, extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and extracorporeal carbon dioxide removal (ECCO2R).

(d) Educating students, health care professionals, or consumers about respiratory care, including, but not limited to, education of respiratory core courses or clinical instruction provided as part of a respiratory educational program and educating health care professionals or consumers about the operation or application of respiratory care equipment and appliances.

(e) The treatment, management, diagnostic testing, control, education, and care of patients with sleep and wake disorders as provided in Chapter 7.8 (commencing with Section 3575).

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 247, Sec. 3. (SB 525) Effective January 1, 2016.)

3703.
  

(a) The settings in which respiratory care may be practiced include licensed health care facilities, hospitals, clinics, ambulatory or home health care, physicians’ offices, and public or community health services. Respiratory care may also be provided during the transportation of a patient, and under any circumstances where an emergency necessitates respiratory care.

(b) The practice of respiratory care shall be performed under the supervision of a medical director in accordance with a prescription of a physician and surgeon or pursuant to respiratory care protocols as specified in Section 3702.

(Amended by Stats. 1989, Ch. 645, Sec. 1.)

3704.
  

As used in this chapter, these terms shall be defined as follows:

(a) “Board” means the Respiratory Care Board of California.

(b) “Department” means the Department of Consumer Affairs.

(c) “Medical director” means a physician and surgeon who is a member of a health care facility’s active medical staff and who is knowledgeable in respiratory care.

(d) “Respiratory care” includes “respiratory therapy” or “inhalation therapy,” where those terms mean respiratory care.

(e) “Respiratory therapy school” means a program reviewed and approved by the board.

(Amended by Stats. 1994, Ch. 1274, Sec. 2. Effective January 1, 1995.)

3705.
  

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as authorizing a respiratory care practitioner to practice medicine, surgery, or any other form of healing, except as authorized by this chapter.

(Added by Stats. 1982, Ch. 1344, Sec. 1. Operative July 1, 1983, by Sec. 3 of Ch. 1344.)

3706.
  

A person licensed under this chapter who in good faith renders emergency care at the scene of an emergency which occurs outside both the place and the course of employment shall not be liable for any civil damages as the result of acts or omissions by the person in rendering the emergency care.

This section does not grant immunity from civil damages when the person is grossly negligent.

(Amended by Stats. 1991, Ch. 654, Sec. 8.)

BPCBusiness and Professions Code - BPC1