TITLE 24

Professions and Occupations

CHAPTER 20. OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY

Subchapter I. Board of Occupational Therapy Practice


(a) The primary objective of the Board of Occupational Therapy Practice, to which all other objectives and purposes are secondary, is to protect the general public, specifically those persons who are the direct recipients of services regulated by this chapter, from unsafe practices and occupational practices which tend to reduce competition or fix the price of services rendered.

(b) The secondary objectives of the Board are to maintain minimum standards of licensee competency and certain standards in the delivery of services to the public. In meeting its objectives, the Board shall do all of the following:

(1) Develop standards assuring professional competence.

(2) Monitor complaints brought against licensees regulated by the Board.

(3) Adjudicate at formal hearings.

(4) Promulgate rules and regulations.

(5) Impose sanctions where necessary against licensees.

(c) Nothing in this chapter is a direct or indirect commitment by the General Assembly to a present or future requirement that insurers or other third parties must offer or provide coverage for the services of licensees.

65 Del. Laws, c. 172, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 293, § 1; 81 Del. Laws, c. 424, § 1.;

As used in this chapter:

(1) "Applicant" means an individual who applies to be licensed under this chapter.

(2) "Board" means the Board of Occupational Therapy Practice established in this chapter.

(3) "Distant site" means a site at which a health-care provider legally allowed to practice in this State is located while providing health-care services by means of telemedicine or telehealth.

(4) "Division" means the Division of Professional Regulation.

(5) "Excessive use or abuse of drugs or alcohol " or "excessively uses or abuses drugs or alcohol" means any use of narcotics, controlled substances, or illegal drugs without a prescription from a licensed physician, or the abuse of alcoholic beverage such that it impairs a person's ability to perform the work of an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant.

(6) "Licensee" means an individual licensed under this chapter to practice occupational therapy services.

(7) "Occupational therapist" means a person who is licensed to practice occupational therapy under this chapter and offers such services to the public under any title incorporating the words "occupational therapy," "occupational therapist," or any similar title or description of occupational therapy services.

(8) "Occupational therapy assistant" means a person licensed to assist in the practice of occupational therapy under the supervision of an occupational therapist.

(9)a. "Occupational therapy services" includes any of the following:

1. The assessment, treatment, and education of or consultation with an individual, family, or other persons.

2. Interventions directed toward developing, improving, or restoring daily living skills, work readiness or work performance, play skills, or leisure capacities, or enhancing educational performance skills.

3. Providing for the development, improvement, or restoration of sensorimotor, oralmotor, perceptual or neuromuscular functioning, or emotional, motivational, cognitive, or psychosocial components of performance.

b. "Occupational therapy services" or "practice of occupational therapy" may require assessment of the need for use of interventions such as the design, development, adaptation, application, or training in the use of assistive technology devices; the design, fabrication, or application of rehabilitative technology such as selected orthotic devices; training in the use of assistive technology, orthotic or prosthetic devices; the application of thermal agent modalities, including paraffin, hot and cold packs, and fluido therapy, as an adjunct to, or in preparation for, purposeful activity; the use of ergonomic principles; the adaptation of environments and processes to enhance functional performance; or the promotion of health and wellness.

c. "Occupational therapy services" or "practice of occupational therapy" may be provided through the use of telemedicine in a manner deemed appropriate by regulation and may include participation in telehealth as further defined in regulation.

(10) "Originating site" means a site in Delaware at which a patient is located at the time health-care services are provided to the patient by means of telemedicine or telehealth, unless the term is otherwise defined with respect to the provision in which it is used; however, notwithstanding any other provision of law, insurers and providers may agree to alternative siting arrangements deemed appropriate by the parties.

(11) "Person" means a corporation, company, association, or partnership, or an individual.

(12) "Practice of occupational therapy" means the use of goal-directed activities with individuals who are limited by physical limitations due to injury or illness, psychiatric and emotional disorders, developmental or learning disabilities, poverty and cultural differences, or the aging process, in order to maximize independence, prevent disability, and maintain health.

(13) "Store and forward transfer" means the transmission of a patient's medical information either to or from an originating site or to or from the provider at the distant site, but does not require the patient being present or that the transmission be in real time.

(14) "Substantially related" means the nature of the criminal conduct for which a person was convicted has a direct bearing on the fitness or ability to perform 1 or more of the duties or responsibilities necessarily related to the practice of occupational therapy.

(15) "Supervision" means the interactive process between a licensed occupational therapist and an occupational therapy assistant, and requires more than a paper review or cosignature. "Supervision" means that the supervising occupational therapist is responsible for insuring the extent, kind, and quality of the services that the occupational therapy assistant renders.

(16) "Telehealth" means the use of information and communications technologies consisting of telephones, remote patient monitoring devices, or other electronic means which support clinical health care, provider consultation, patient and professional health-related education, public health, health administration, and other services as described in regulation.

(17) "Telemedicine" means a form of telehealth which is the delivery of clinical health-care services by means of real time 2-way audio, visual, or other telecommunications or electronic communications, including the application of secure video conferencing or store and forward transfer technology to provide or support health-care delivery, which facilitate the assessment, diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management, and self-management of a patient's health care by a licensee practicing within the licensee's scope of practice as would be practiced in-person with a patient and with other restrictions as defined in regulation.

65 Del. Laws, c. 172, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 293, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 262, § 37; 80 Del. Laws, c. 80, § 11; 81 Del. Laws, c. 424, § 2.;

(a) The Board of Occupational Therapy Practice administers and enforces this chapter.

(b) The Board consists of 5 members who are residents of this State and appointed by the Governor as follows:

(1) Two occupational therapists.

(2) One occupational therapy assistant.

(3) Two public members, who must meet all of the following qualifications:

a. Not be, nor ever have been, an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant.

b. Not be, nor ever have been, a member of the immediate family of an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant.

c. Not be, nor ever have been employed by an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant.

d. Not have a material interest in the providing of goods and services to an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant.

e. Not have been engaged in an activity directly related to occupational therapy.

(c) Each member is appointed for a term of 3 years. A member may succeed the member's term for 1 additional term, and may not be appointed again until a period of 3 years has expired.

(d) [Repealed.]

(e) Any act or vote by a member appointed in violation of this section is invalid. An amendment or revision of this chapter is not sufficient cause for any appointment or attempted appointment in violation of subsection (d) of this section, unless the amendment or revision amends this section to permit the appointment.

(f)(1) The Governor may remove a member for gross inefficiency, neglect of duty, malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance in office. If a member is absent from 3 consecutive meetings or attends less than 50% of meetings in a 12-month period, the member is in neglect of duty and may be assumed to have resigned, and the Governor may accept the member's resignation.

(2) A member subject to disciplinary hearing is disqualified from board business until the charge is adjudicated or the matter is otherwise concluded.

(g) A member, while serving on the Board, may not hold elective office in any professional association of occupational therapists or occupational therapy assistants, including serving as head of the professional association's Political Action Committee.

(h) The law regulating the conduct of officers and employees of the State under Chapter 58 of Title 29 applies to all members of the Board.

(i) [Repealed.]

(j) Each member of the Board must be reimbursed for all expenses involved in each meeting, including travel, and in addition must receive compensation per meeting attended in an amount determined by the Division in accordance with Del. Const. art. III, § 9.

65 Del. Laws, c. 172, § 1; 66 Del. Laws, c. 400, § 1; 67 Del. Laws, c. 368, § 11; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 293, § 1; 81 Del. Laws, c. 85, § 10; 81 Del. Laws, c. 424, § 3.;

(a) The Board shall hold regularly scheduled business meetings at least once in each quarter of a calendar year, at such times as the chair deems necessary and at the request of a majority of the Board members.

(b) The Board shall elect annually from its members a chair, vice-chair, and secretary. Each officer shall serve for 1 year, and may not succeed the officer's term for more than 2 consecutive terms. In the event of a vacancy in 1 of the offices, the Board shall elect a replacement at the next Board meeting.

(c) A majority of the members constitutes a quorum for the purpose of transacting business. The Board may not take disciplinary action without the affirmative vote of at least 3 members.

(d) Minutes of all meetings must be recorded, and the Division shall maintain copies of meeting minutes. At any hearing where evidence is presented, a record must be made from which a verbatim transcript can be prepared. The person requesting the transcript must pay for the expense of preparing the transcript.

65 Del. Laws, c. 172, § 1; 66 Del. Laws, c. 400, § 2; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 293, § 1; 81 Del. Laws, c. 424, § 4.;

The Division shall keep a register of all approved applications for license as an occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistant, and complete records relating to meetings of the Board, examinations, rosters, changes, and additions to the Board's rules and regulations, complaints, hearings, and any other matters that the Board determines. The records are prima facie evidence of the Board's proceedings.

71 Del. Laws, c. 293, § 1; 81 Del. Laws, c. 424, § 5.;

(a) The Board may do all of the following:

(1) Formulate rules and regulations, with appropriate notice to those affected. Rules and regulations must be promulgated in accordance with the procedures specified in the Administrative Procedures Act (Chapter 101 of Title 29) of this State. Each rule or regulation must implement or clarify a specific section of this chapter.

(2) Designate the application form to be used by all applicants and process all applications.

(3) Designate the written, standardized examination as approved by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc., or its successor, that an applicant must pass to qualify for licensure. An applicant who qualifies for licensure by reciprocity must have achieved a passing score on the national examination.

(4) [Transferred to subsection (c).]

(5) Establish minimum education, training, and experience requirements for licensure.

(6) Evaluate an applicant's credentials, in order to determine whether the applicant meets the qualifications for licensing under this chapter.

(7) Grant licenses to, and renew licenses of, an applicant or licensee who meets the qualifications for licensure or renewal of licenses.

(8) Establish by rule and regulation continuing education standards required for license renewal.

(9) Evaluate certified records to determine whether an applicant who has been previously licensed, certified, or registered in another jurisdiction to practice occupational therapy or to act as an occupational therapy assistant has engaged in any act or offense that would be grounds for disciplinary action under this chapter, and whether any disciplinary proceedings or unresolved complaints are pending against the applicant for the act or offense.

(10) Refer all complaints from licensees and the public concerning licensees, the Board's practices, or the profession to the Division for investigation under § 8735 of Title 29, and assign a Board member to assist the Division in an advisory capacity with the investigation of the technical aspects of the complaint. A Board member who is assigned to assist the Division under this paragraph may not participate in deliberations on the complaint.

(11) Conduct hearings and issue orders in accordance with procedures established under this chapter, Chapter 101 of Title 29, and § 8735 of Title 29. The Board shall determine whether a licensee is subject to a disciplinary hearing and, if so, shall conduct the hearing in accordance with this chapter and the Administrative Procedures Act (Chapter 101 of Title 29).

(12) If the Board determines after a disciplinary hearing that penalties or sanctions should be imposed, designate and impose the appropriate sanction or penalty after time for appeal has lapsed.

(b) The Board shall promulgate regulations specifically identifying crimes which are substantially related to the practice of occupational therapy.

(c) The Board shall adopt the administration, grading procedures, and passing score of the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc., or its successor, or a comparable alternative national or regional examination, if a national examination is not available.

65 Del. Laws, c. 172, § 1; 71 Del. Laws, c. 293, § 1; 74 Del. Laws, c. 262, § 38; 81 Del. Laws, c. 424, § 6.;