As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the following meanings:
(1) BOARD. The Alabama State Board of Respiratory Therapy.
(2) DIRECT CLINICAL SUPERVISION. A situation where a licensed respiratory therapist or physician is available for the purpose of communication, consultation, and assistance.
(3) HEALTHCARE FACILITY. The definition shall be the same as in Section 22-21-260.
(4) MEDICALLY APPROVED PROTOCOL. A detailed plan for taking specific diagnostic or treatment actions, or both, authorized by the treating physician of the patient, all of which actions shall be:
a. In a hospital or other inpatient health care facility, approved by the supervising physician of the respiratory therapist or in an outpatient treatment setting approved by the supervising physician of the respiratory therapist.
b. Except in cases of medical emergency, instituted following an evaluation of the patient by a physician or otherwise directed by the supervising physician of the respiratory therapist.
c. Consistent with the definition of the scope of practice of respiratory therapy, as established by this chapter.
(5) PHYSICIAN. A person who is a doctor of medicine or a doctor of osteopathy licensed to practice in this state.
(6) RESPIRATORY THERAPIST. A person licensed by the board to administer respiratory therapy and who has the knowledge and skills necessary to administer respiratory therapy, monitor patient responses, modify respiratory therapy based upon patient response, provide information and education to patients about deficiencies or disorders of the cardiopulmonary system, and supervise others in the delivery of appropriate respiratory therapy procedures.
(7) RESPIRATORY THERAPY OR CARE. Therapy, management, rehabilitation, diagnostic evaluation, and care of patients with deficiencies and abnormalities of the cardiopulmonary system and associated aspects of other systems' functions, given by a health care professional under the direction of a physician. The term includes, but is not limited to, the following activities conducted upon written prescription, verbal order, or medically approved protocol:
a. Direct and indirect pulmonary care services that are safe, aseptic, preventive, or restorative to the patient.
b. Direct and indirect respiratory therapy services, including, but not limited to, the administration of pharmacologic, diagnostic, and therapeutic agents related to respiratory therapy procedures necessary to implement a treatment, disease prevention, pulmonary rehabilitative, or diagnostic regimen prescribed by a physician.
c. Observation and monitoring of signs and symptoms, general behavior, and general physical response to respiratory therapy treatment and diagnostic testing and determination of whether such signs, symptoms, reactions, behavior, or general responses exhibit abnormal characteristics and implementation, based on observed abnormalities, of appropriate reporting or referral practices or prescribed and medically approved respiratory therapy protocols or appropriate changes in a treatment regimen, pursuant to a prescription by a physician, or the initiation of emergency procedures.
d. The diagnostic and therapeutic use of any of the following, in accordance with the prescription of a physician:
1. Administration of medical gases, exclusive of general anesthesia.
4. Environmental control systems and hyperbaric therapy.
5. Pharmacologic agents related to respiratory therapy procedures.
6. Mechanical or physiological ventilatory support.
7. Bronchopulmonary hygiene.
8. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
9. Maintenance of the natural airways.
10. Insertion without cutting tissues and maintenance of artificial airways.
11. Diagnostic and testing techniques required for implementation of respiratory therapy protocols.
12. Collections of specimens of blood and other body fluids including specimens from the respiratory tract.
13. Collection of inspired and expired gas samples.
14. Analysis of blood, gases, and respiratory secretions.
15. Measurements of ventilatory volumes, pressures, and flows.
16. Pulmonary function testing.
17. Hemodynamic and other related physiologic measurements of the cardiopulmonary system.
18. Respiratory telecommunications.
19. Cardiopulmonary disease management.
20. Tobacco cessation.
e. The transcription and implementation of the written and verbal orders of a physician pertaining to the practice of respiratory therapy.
f. Institution of known and medically approved protocols relating to respiratory therapy in emergency situations in the absence of immediate direction by a physician and institution of specific procedures and diagnostic testing related to respiratory therapy as ordered by a physician to assist in diagnosis, monitoring, treatment, and medical research.
g. Delivery of respiratory therapy procedures, instruction, and education of patients in the proper methods of self-care and prevention of cardiopulmonary diseases and other conditions requiring the use of respiratory therapy equipment or techniques.
Last modified: May 3, 2021