State - Iowa Society for Respiratory Care


Update on HSB 138

It has been a challenging few days in the Respiratory Therapy profession in Iowa, but the outcome is positive.


The subcommittee for HSB 138 to remove licensure for Respiratory Therapists did not feel like the bill should advance any further based on communication before and during the subcommittee meeting. Representative Kaufmann killed the bill in his closing remarks at the subcommittee meeting in Monday, February 27th by ripping the bill in half. What a powerful message!


The grass roots strategy was extremely effective.  


A special Thank You to the AARC and Matt Eide and his team for guidance and support during the last few days as we worked diligently to rapidly spread our concern and opposition of the bill.


This result would not have been possible without the overwhelming number of Respiratory Therapists, students, instructors, IASRC board members, patients and healthcare administrators and staff for contacting their legislators. It had the most profound impact on the desired outcome!


There will be discussions about licensure in the state of Iowa before the 2018 legislative session. The IASRC lobbyist will keep the IASRC leadership informed as opportunities for input become available.



The Governor introduced a bill on 2/21/2017 that eliminates licensing for Respiratory Therapists 

HSB 138

This division eliminates the following boards and removes all licensing and registration requirements for their regulated professions: the board of respiratory care and polysomnography, the board of massage therapy, the board of hearing aid specialists, the board of barbering, and the interior design examining board.

The division removes licensing requirements and imposes registration requirements for the following professions: dietitians, athletic trainers, funeral directors, mental health counselors, marital and family therapists, social workers, speech pathologists, and audiologists.
The division requires dietitians, funeral directors, mental health counselors, marital and family therapists, and social workers to register with the department of public health,  athletic trainers with the board of educational examiners, and speech pathologists and audiologists with the board of medicine. The division removes licensing requirements for prosthetists, orthotists, and pedorthists and does not require registration, but retains the board of podiatry.

Find your Senator and Representative

The IaSRC opposes this bill. Contact your Senator and Representative and let them know your side of this important issue. Talking points are as follows:

Risk for Harm to the Consumer

  • The lack of a formal state licensure process in Iowa would mean that respiratory therapists who are incompetent, engage in criminal behavior, or have lost their license to practice in another state can work in Iowa without any review or screening process to protect the citizens of Iowa.

Specialized Skills and Training

  • The unique education prepares respiratory therapists to manage critically ill patient’s life support functions; operate mechanical ventilators for newborn babies, children and adults.
  • Respiratory therapists are responsible for manipulation of these life support systems because of their specialized training and the ever changing sophistication of the technology.
  • The education, treatment, and management of patients with lung disease such as COPD, Asthma, Cystic Fibrosis, and Sleep Apnea.

No Alternative to State Regulation

  • It is the licensing process, not the credentialing process that ensures patient
  • safety.

Distinguishable Scope of Practice

  • Providing necessary life support for patients that are unable to sustain life on their own.
  • Perform CPR in all types of health care facilities.
  • Work with critically ill patients in all intensive care units (ICUs).
  • Invaluable members of land and air transport teams, including those that cross state lines.

Autonomous Practice

  • A licensed and properly trained respiratory therapist is vital to our state healthcare system.
  • The American Association of Respiratory Care (AARC) developed a model respiratory care practice act with input from the respiratory therapy and pulmonary physician communities in the country. This model legislative template has been sustained as the basis for state licensure laws in 49 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Each state respiratory therapy licensure law has adopted, with virtually no changes, the scope of practice that is part of the model practice act. This standardized scope of practice has been incorporated into the various state licensure laws for the purpose of promoting patient safety and consistency in the quality and scope of respiratory therapy services provided nationwide.
© 2019 Iowa Society for Respiratory Care. All rights reserved.