§ 2001 Objectives.
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 from occupational practices which tend to reduce competition or fix the price of services rendered.
The secondary objectives of the Board are to maintain minimum standards of practitioner competency and to maintain certain standards in the delivery of services to the public. In meeting its objectives, the Board shall develop standards assuring professional competence; shall monitor complaints brought against practitioners regulated by the Board; shall adjudicate at formal hearings; shall promulgate rules and regulations; and shall impose sanctions where necessary against practitioners.
Nothing in this chapter shall be deemed 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 practitioners licensed under this chapter.
§ 2002 Definitions.
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them under this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
(1) "Board" shall mean the State Board of Occupational Therapy Practice established in this chapter.
(2) "Distant site" means a site at which a health-care provider legally allowed to practice in the State is located while providing health-care services by means of telemedicine or telehealth.
(3) "Excessive use or abuse of drugs" shall mean 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.
(4) "Occupational therapist" shall mean a person who is licensed to practice occupational therapy pursuant to this chapter and who 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.
(5) "Occupational therapy assistant" shall mean a person licensed to assist in the practice of occupational therapy, under the supervision of an occupational therapist.
(6) "Occupational therapy services" shall mean, but are not limited to:
a. The assessment, treatment and education of or consultation with the individual, family or other persons; or
b. 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; or
c. Providing for the development, improvement or restoration of sensorimotor, oralmotor, perceptual or neuromuscular functioning, or emotional, motivational, cognitive or psychosocial components of performance.
These services 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, but not limited to, 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.
Services may be provided through the use of telemedicine in a manner deemed appropriate by regulation. Services also may include participation in telehealth as further defined in regulation.
(7) "Originating site" means a site in Delaware at which a patient is located at the time health-care services are provided to him or her by means of telemedicine or telehealth, unless the term is otherwise defined with respect to the provision in which it is used; provided, however, notwithstanding any other provision of law, insurers and providers may agree to alternative siting arrangements deemed appropriate by the parties.
(8) "Person" shall mean a corporation, company, association and partnership, as well as an individual.
(9) "Practice of occupational therapy" shall mean 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.
(10) "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 nor must it be in real time.
(11) "Substantially related" means the nature of the criminal conduct, for which the 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.
(12) "Supervision" shall mean the interactive process between the licensed occupational therapist and the occupational therapy assistant. It shall be more than a paper review or cosignature. The supervising occupational therapist is responsible for insuring the extent, kind and quality of the services rendered by the occupational therapy assistant.
(13) "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.
(14) "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 his or her scope of practice as would be practiced in-person with a patient and with other restrictions as defined in regulation.
§ 2003 Board of Occupational Therapy Practice; appointments; qualifications; term; vacancies; suspension or removal; unexcused absences; compensation.
(a) There is created a State Board of Occupational Therapy Practice which shall administer and enforce this chapter.
(b) The Board shall consist of 5 members appointed by the Governor, who are residents of this State: Three professional members, 2 of whom shall be occupational therapists licensed under this chapter, 1 may be a licensed occupational therapy assistant, and 2 public members. The public members shall not be, nor ever have been, occupational therapists or occupational therapy assistants, nor members of the immediate family of an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant; shall not have been employed by an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant; shall not have a material interest in the providing of goods and services to occupational therapists or occupational therapy assistants; nor have been engaged in an activity directly related to occupational therapy. The public members shall be accessible to inquiries, comments and suggestions from the general public.
(c) Except as provided in subsection (d) of this section, each member shall serve a term of 3 years, and may succeed himself or herself for 1 additional term; provided however, that where a member was initially appointed to fill a vacancy, such member may succeed himself or herself for only 1 additional full term. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board shall hold office for the remainder of the unexpired term of the former member. Each term of office shall expire on the date specified in the appointment; however, the Board member shall remain eligible to participate in Board proceedings unless and until replaced by the Governor. Persons who are members of the Board on June 17, 1998, shall complete their terms.
(d) A person who has never served on the Board may be appointed to the Board for 2 consecutive terms; but no such person shall thereafter be eligible for 2 consecutive appointments. No person, who has been twice appointed to the Board or who has served on the Board for 6 years within any 9-year period, shall again be appointed to the Board until an interim period of at least 1 year has expired since such person last served.
(e) Any act or vote by a person appointed in violation of this section shall be 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 such an amendment or revision amends this section to permit such an appointment.
(f) A member of the Board shall be suspended or removed by the Governor for misfeasance, nonfeasance or malfeasance. A member subject to disciplinary hearing shall be disqualified from Board business until the charge is adjudicated or the matter is otherwise concluded. A Board member may appeal any suspension or removal to the Superior Court.
(g) No member of the Board, while serving on the Board, shall hold elective office in any professional association of occupational therapists or occupational therapy assistants; this includes a prohibition against serving as head of the professional association's Political Action Committee (PAC).
(h) Chapter 58 of Title 29 shall apply to all members of the Board.
(i) Any member who is absent without adequate reason for 3 consecutive meetings, or fails to attend at least 1/2 of all regular business meetings during any calendar year, shall be guilty of neglect of duty.
(j) Each member of the Board shall be reimbursed for all expenses involved in each meeting, including travel, according to Division policy; and in addition shall receive not more than $50 for each meeting attended but not more than $500 in any calendar year. After 10 meetings have been attended, the member shall not be compensated for any subsequent meetings attended in that year.
§ 2004 Organization; meetings; officers; quorum.
(a) The Board shall hold regularly scheduled business meetings at least once in each quarter of a calendar year, and at such times as the chair deems necessary; or 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 shall not succeed himself or herself for more than 2 consecutive terms. In the event of a vacancy in 1 of the offices, a replacement shall be elected at the next Board meeting.
(c) A majority of the members shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of transacting business. No disciplinary action shall be taken without the affirmative vote of 3 members of the Board.
(d) Minutes of all meetings shall be recorded, and copies shall be maintained by the Division of Professional Regulation. At any hearing where evidence is presented, a record from which a verbatim transcript can be prepared shall be made. The expense of preparing any transcript shall be incurred by the person requesting it.
§ 2005 Records.
The Division of Professional Regulation 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 such other matters as the Board shall determine. Such records shall be prima facie evidence of the proceedings of the Board.
§ 2006 Powers and duties.
(a) The Board of Occupational Therapy Practice shall have authority to:
(1) Formulate rules and regulations, with appropriate notice to those affected; all rules and regulations shall 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 shall implement or clarify a specific section of this chapter;
(2) Designate the application form to be used by all applicants, and to process all applications;
(3) Designate the written, standardized examination as approved by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc., or its successor, to be taken by all persons applying for licensure; applicants who qualify for licensure by reciprocity shall have achieved a passing score on the national examination;
(4) The Board shall adopt the administration, grading procedures and passing score of the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy, Inc., or a comparable alternative national or regional examination, if a national examination is not available;
(5) Establish minimum education, training and experience requirements for licensure as occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants;
(6) Evaluate the credentials of all persons applying for a license to practice occupational therapy and to practice as occupational therapy assistants in Delaware, in order to determine whether such persons meet the qualifications for licensing set forth in this chapter.
(7) Grant licenses to, and renew licenses of, all persons who meet the qualifications for licensure and/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 for licensure, 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 there are disciplinary proceedings or unresolved complaints pending against such applicants for such acts or offenses;
(10) Refer all complaints from licensees and the public concerning licensed occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants, or concerning practices of the Board or of the profession, to the Division of Professional Regulation for investigation pursuant to § 8735 of Title 29; and assign a member of the Board to assist the Division in an advisory capacity with the investigation of the technical aspects of the complaint;
(11) Conduct hearings and issue orders in accordance with procedures established pursuant to this chapter and Chapter 101 and § 8735 of Title 29. Where such provisions conflict with this chapter, this chapter shall govern. The Board shall determine whether or not an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant shall be subject to a disciplinary hearing, and, if so, shall conduct such hearing in accordance with this chapter and the Administrative Procedures Act [Chapter 101 of Title 29];
(12) Where it has been determined after a disciplinary hearing, that penalties or sanctions should be imposed, to designate and impose the appropriate sanction or penalty after time for appeal has lapsed.
(b) The Board of Occupational Therapy shall promulgate regulations specifically identifying those crimes which are substantially related to the practice of occupational therapy.