OLYMPIA – Strain on the health care system during the COVID-19 pandemic has show how valuable respiratory therapy practitioners are to treating the disease and how desperately they are needed in Washington communities. That is why Rep. Jamila Taylor (D-Federal Way) introduced House Bill 1383, which updates existing law and expands respiratory therapy to allow delivery through telemedicine, a crucial service to help rural communities.
Respiratory therapy practitioners provide a variety of services related to respiratory care, including ventilator management. With COVID-19, the need for qualified practitioners has increased, and Washington state has failed to update state laws to match recent guidance and scope of practice in the field. HB 1383 codifies that guidance and updates supervision and examination requirements. The bill also allows respiratory care to be delivered via telemedicine.
“Ensuring we have qualified respiratory therapy practitioners and a way to deliver services to underserved rural communities is absolutely essential during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Taylor after passage of the bill in the House. “I know how important this is because I have a family member with a chronic lung disease that puts her at higher risk of complications. I’m proud that the first bill I passed out of the House of Representatives is one that helps families like mine.”
HB 1383 passed out of the House with a unanimous vote and heads to the Senate for consideration.