Bill Text: NJ S2734 | 2018-2019 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: "Recreational Therapists Licensing Act."

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 1-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2018-06-18 - Introduced in the Senate, Referred to Senate Commerce Committee [S2734 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2018-S2734-Introduced.html

SENATE, No. 2734

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

218th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JUNE 18, 2018

 


 

Sponsored by:

Senator  TROY SINGLETON

District 7 (Burlington)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     "Recreational Therapists Licensing Act."

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

 


An Act providing for the licensure of recreational therapists, and supplementing Title 45 of the Revised Statutes.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

1.         This act shall be known and may be cited as the "Recreational Therapists Licensing Act."

 

     2.    The Legislature finds and declares that the profession of recreational therapy affects the public health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the State of New Jersey.  It is therefore in the public interest to regulate persons offering recreational therapy services and to establish professional licensing and certification standards for those persons presently practicing recreational therapy and for those seeking to practice.  Licensing and certification will enable other professionals, health services providers, employers, and the general public to recognize qualified practicing recreational therapists, and will provide assurances that professionals engaged in recreational therapy meet acceptable standards of education, experience, ethics, and competency.

 

     3.    As used in this act:

     "Board" means the State Board of Medical Examiners.

     "Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist" (CTRS) means any individual certified by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification.

     "Committee" means the Recreational Therapy Advisory Committee established pursuant to section 4 of this act.

     "Recreational therapist" means any person licensed to practice recreational therapy pursuant to provisions of this act.

     "Recreational therapy" means a systematic process utilizing recreation, leisure, and play interventions for the treatment and maintenance of functional abilities and the promotion of health and wellness for individuals with disabilities or those affected by an illness in order to accomplish any of the following:

     (1)   restoring or remediating an individual's participation levels in recreation and leisure activities that may be limited due to an impairment in physical, social, cognitive, or emotional abilities;

     (2)   reducing or eliminating limitations or restrictions to participation in recreation, leisure, and play activities; or

     (3)   using recreational modalities in designed intervention strategies to maximize physical, social, cognitive, or emotional abilities to promote participation in recreation and leisure activities.

     "Recreational therapy services" means those services provided for the purpose of accomplishing recreational therapy goals including:

     (1)   conducting an individualized assessment for the purpose of collecting systematic, comprehensive, and accurate data necessary to determine the course of action and subsequent individualized treatment plan;

     (2)   planning and developing an individualized recreational therapy treatment plan that identifies an individual's goals, objectives, and potential treatment intervention strategies for play, recreation, leisure, and related community activities;

      (3)  implementing an individualized recreational therapy treatment plan that is consistent with the overall treatment plan;

      (4)  systematically evaluating and comparing the individual's response to the individualized recreational therapy treatment plan and making modifications as appropriate;

      (5)  developing a discharge plan in collaboration with the individual and the individual's family, treatment team, and other identified support networks where appropriate;

      (6)  identifying and training in the use of adaptive play, recreation, and leisure equipment;

      (7)  identifying, providing, and educating individuals to use play, recreation, leisure, and community resources that support a healthy, active, and engaged life;

      (8)  providing leisure education and counseling to address issues that hinder health and engagement in play, recreation, leisure, and related community activities;

      (9)  providing community integration, reintegration, inclusion, and transitioning services to maximize health and participation in play, recreation, leisure, and related community activities;

      (10)    addressing functional skill recovery, development, or maintenance related to health and participation in play, recreation, leisure, and community activities and utilizing play, recreation, and leisure activities as modalities to advance health and functioning;

      (11)    assisting individuals in constructing a healthy leisure lifestyle that supports continued recovery, health promotion, and quality of life;

      (12)    providing play, recreation, and leisure opportunities for individuals with illness, disability, or challenges for therapeutic purposes; or

      (13)    consulting with groups, programs, organizations, or communities to improve physical, social, and programmatic accessibility in recreational and leisure activities.

      "Related community activities" means those activities necessary for individuals to participate in recreation and leisure at home and in the community.

 

     4.    There is created within the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety under the State Board of Medical Examiners a Recreational Therapy Advisory Committee. The Recreational Therapy Advisory Committee shall consist of five members who are residents of the State. All members shall have been actively engaged in the practice of recreational therapy in this State for at least five years immediately preceding their appointment, and except for the members first appointed, shall all be licensed recreational therapists.  The members first appointed to the committee shall be qualified for licensure pursuant to the provisions of this act and shall become licensed recreational therapists as soon as practical.

     The Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint each member of the committee for three years, except that of the members first appointed, three shall serve for a term of three years and two shall serve for a term of two years. Any vacancy in the membership shall be filled for the unexpired term in the manner provided by the original appointment. No member of the committee may serve more than two successive terms in addition to any unexpired term to which the member has been appointed.

     The Governor may remove any member of the committee for misconduct, incompetency, or neglect of duty after providing the committee member with a written statement of charges and an opportunity for a hearing.

 

     5.    Members of the committee shall be reimbursed for expenses and provided with the office, meeting facilities, and personnel required for the proper conduct of the business of the committee.

 

     6.    The committee shall organize within 30 days after the appointment of its members and shall annually elect from among its members a chairperson and a vice-chairperson, and may appoint a secretary, who need not be a member of the committee.  The committee shall meet at least twice a year and may hold additional meetings as necessary to discharge its duties.  A majority of the committee membership shall constitute a quorum.

 

     7.    The committee shall have the following powers and duties:

     a.     evaluate the qualifications and make a determination of the eligibility for licensure of all applicants under this act, attesting to the applicant's professional qualification to practice as a licensed recreational therapist;

     b.    issue and renew licenses for recreational therapists pursuant to the provisions of this act;

     c.     investigate allegations of and conduct hearings regarding misconduct or violations of provisions of this act;

     d.    suspend, revoke, or fail to renew the license of a recreational therapist pursuant to P.L.1978, c.73 (C.45:1-14 et seq.);

     e.     maintain a list of the names and addresses of all licensed recreational therapists who are licensed under this act;

     f.     establish standards for the continuing education of licensed recreational therapists;

     g.    prescribe or change the fees for licensures, renewals, and other services performed pursuant to P.L.1974, c.46 (C.45:1-3.1 et seq.); and

     h.    promulgate rules and regulations to carry out matters delegated to the committee by the board concerning any provisions of this act, in conformance with the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.).

 

     8.    a.  No person shall practice or indicate an ability to practice recreational therapy, whether or not compensation is received or expected; make any representation as a recreational therapist; use the term "recreational therapist," "licensed recreational therapist," the initials "CTRS," "CTRS/L," or other similar terms or abbreviations; or provide recreational therapy services unless the person holds a valid license to practice in this State.

     b.    Only an individual may be licensed to practice recreational therapy within the State.  No firm, partnership, association or corporation may advertise or otherwise offer to provide or convey the impression that it is providing recreational therapy services unless an individual holding a current valid license pursuant to the provisions of this act shall be rendering the recreational therapy services.

 

     9.    Nothing in this act shall be construed to apply to:

     a.     the activities and services of qualified members of other professions licensed by the State, when acting within the scope of their profession and doing work of a nature consistent with their training, provided they do not hold themselves out to the public as possessing a license issued pursuant to this act or represent themselves by any professional designation protected by this act;

     b.    any person enrolled in a course of study leading to a degree or certificate in therapeutic recreation who is performing recreational therapy services incidental to the person's course work when supervised by a licensed professional, if the person is designated by a title which clearly indicates his or her status as a student;

     c.     any therapeutic recreation assistant providing therapeutic recreation services under the direct supervision of a licensed therapeutic recreation specialist. Such an individual would not be permitted to conduct assessments and/or develop treatment plans; or

     d.    any individual providing recreational or activity programs to a person with disabilities as a normal part of the leisure lifestyle of the person with disabilities.

 

     10.  To be eligible for licensure as a recreational therapist, an applicant shall fulfill the following requirements:

a.     be at least 18 years of age;

b.     be of good moral character;

c.     submit to the committee evidence of having successfully completed a bachelor level program or higher in recreational therapy or therapeutic recreation, or a bachelor level program or higher in a related field which includes courses pertaining to recreational therapy or therapeutic recreation as required for certification by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification; and

d.    submit to the committee evidence of having successfully completed all certification requirements for, and maintained certification as, a certified therapeutic recreational specialist by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification.

 

     11.  a.  The committee shall issue a license to any applicant who, in the opinion of the committee, has satisfactorily met all the requirements of this act.

     b.    All licenses shall be issued for a two year period upon the payment of the prescribed licensure fee and the submission of a written application, and shall be renewed upon filing a renewal application, payment of a renewal fee, and presentation of satisfactory evidence to the committee of certification as a certified therapeutic recreational specialist by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification.

 

     12.  Upon payment to the board of a prescribed fee and the submission of a written application, the committee may grant a license to any person who is licensed by a governmental agency located in another state if the requirements of that licensure are substantially equivalent to the requirements of this act, as determined by the committee.

 

     13.  A recreational therapist licensed pursuant to the provisions of this act shall not disclose any confidential information that the therapist may have acquired while performing recreational therapy services for a client unless in accordance with the federal health privacy rules set forth at 45 CFR Parts 160 and 164.

 

     14.  This act shall take effect on the 180th day next following the date of enactment, except that section 4 shall take effect immediately and the committee may take such anticipatory administrative action in advance of enactment as shall be necessary for the implementation of this act.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill provides for the licensure of recreational therapists.  As defined under the bill, "recreational therapy" means a systematic process utilizing recreation, leisure, and play interventions for the treatment and maintenance of functional abilities and the promotion of health and wellness for individuals with disabilities or those affected by an illness in order to accomplish certain physical, social cognitive, and emotional goals.  This bill also establishes the Recreational Therapy Advisory Committee in the Division of Consumer Affairs under the State Board of Medical Examiners in the Department of Law and Public Safety.

     The committee is to consist of five members, appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate, who are residents of the State and who have been actively engaged in the practice of recreational therapy for at least five years immediately preceding their appointment.  Except for the members first appointed, all members must be licensed recreational therapists.  However, the members first appointed to the committee must be qualified for licensure pursuant to the provisions of the bill and must become licensed recreational therapists as soon as practical.

To be eligible for licensure as a recreational therapist, an applicant must be at least 18 years of age and be of good moral character.   In addition, the applicant must submit to the committee evidence of: 1) having successfully completed a bachelor level program or higher in recreational therapy or therapeutic recreation, or a bachelor level program or higher in a related field which includes courses pertaining to recreational therapy or therapeutic recreation as required for certification by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification; and 2) having successfully completed all certification requirements for, and maintained certification as, a certified therapeutic recreational specialist by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification.

     Under the bill, recreational therapist licenses are issued for a two-year period upon the payment of the prescribed licensure fee and the submission of a written application.  The license may be renewed upon filing a renewal application, payment of a renewal fee, and presentation of satisfactory evidence to the committee of certification as a certified therapeutic recreational specialist by the National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification.  The committee is permitted to grant a license to any person who at the time of application submission and payment of a licensure fee is licensed by a governmental agency located in another state if the requirements of that licensure are substantially equivalent to the requirements of the bill, as determined by the committee.

     The bill provides that no person is permitted to practice or indicate an ability to practice recreational therapy, whether or not compensation is received or expected; make any representation as a recreational therapist; use the term "recreational therapist," "licensed recreational therapist," the initials "CTRS," "CTRS/L," or other similar terms or abbreviations; or provide recreational therapy services unless the person holds a valid license to practice in this State.  Furthermore, the bill provides that only an individual may be licensed to practice recreational therapy within the State. 

     This bill does not apply to: the activities and services of qualified members of other professions licensed by the State, when acting within the scope of their profession and doing work of a nature consistent with their training;  any student enrolled in a course of study leading to a degree or certificate in therapeutic recreation,  when supervised by a licensed professional, who is performing recreational therapy services incidental to the student's course work; any therapeutic recreation assistant providing therapeutic recreation services under the direct supervision of a licensed therapeutic recreation specialist; or any individual providing recreational or activity programs to a person with disabilities as a normal part of the leisure lifestyle of the person with disabilities.

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