|Virtual Advocacy Night Summary|
|Thanks to everyone who attended the webinar on March 10th! Thanks also go to our speakers! Robyn Elliott and Scott Tiffin from Public Policy Partners and Meghan Pudeler from AOTA State Affairs. They all provided wonderful information that illustrated how the OT professional organizations at the state and national levels advocate for the profession and all of the networking and expertise they provide on behalf of their members.|
Senator Mary Beth Carozza from District 38 on the Eastern Shore attended and shared how much she enjoyed working with MOTA on sponsoring the compact bill last year and is looking forward to continuing to work with MOTA to address workforce shortages.
There are 12 states that have enacted the OT compact! Eleven states have legislation pending. This means that the Compact Board can be established so that states in the compact can begin to implement it and allow access to practitioners!
Both at the state and national levels, issues that impact the profession are: scope of practice, telehealth regulation, and workforce needs.
|Legislation to Target Advocacy|
Review the chart below and write to your legislators to support any or all of the bills listed! The last column provides suggestions for information to include in your letter.
|B 625 (SB 440)|
Commission to Study the Health Care Workforce Crisis in Maryland – Establishment
|This bill establishes a Commission to Study the Health Care Workforce Crisis in Maryland. The study would be very comprehensive, including, but not limited to determining demographics factors, costs of health professions educational programs, and licensure requirements. A report is generated over two years (2022 and 2023). This could support more people and diverse people to enter the occupational therapy profession.||Include any personal experiences you have had related to staff shortages, difficulty financing academic preparation, or other issues that relate to recruiting and retaining practitioners to occupational therapy.|
Public Schools – Student Health Professional Retention Program – Established
|This bill requires county boards of education to implement a program to retain student health professionals in public schools through increased pay and monetary incentives for higher education attainment by July 1, 2025. MOTA is advocating for OTAs to be added and to participate in the workgroup to define the tier levels for occupational therapy. This would provide incentives for practitioners to work in the school system similarly to the ways teachers are incentivized.||Include the ways that occupational therapy plays a role with children and the availability of advanced certifications in the field.|
|HB 80 (SB 28)|
Home- and Community-Based Services Waiver – Participation and Applications
|This bill expanded the reach of home and community-based waivers under the department by:|
• Modifying the existing cap of 7,500 participation. Instead, the bill sets the floor at 7,500 participants; and
• Requiring the Maryland Department of Health to send a monthly waiver application to all individuals on the waiting list for home and community-based services if the list is under 600 individuals. If the waiting list is over that number, then send it to at least 600. There is no such requirement now.
|Include experiences of clients you’ve had who have had difficulties in obtaining support services.|
|HB 1019 (SB 838)|
Transportation – Elderly and Handicapped Transportation Service – County Funding
|This bill sets aside over $4.3 million from the Department of Transportation’s annual budget for elderly and handicapped transportation services.||Include experiences of clients who have been unable to access needed services due to transportation issues and the impact it has on their engagement in meaningful daily activities and occupations.|
|Look up your representatives by going to the General Assembly of Maryland website. If you don’t know your district number, go to the top right and click on “Who represents me?” Enter your full address (some zip codes have two representatives so your street address is also needed).|
Once you find your representatives, scroll down their individual pages to their contact information.
Send a simple message of your support and a personal story if you have one that applies.
Don’t forget to mention you are a MOTA member!
OT Interstate Licensure Compact – Victory for OT in the Maryland General Assembly
The Occupational Therapy Licensure Compact (OT Compact) is an interstate compact, which is a constitutionally authorized contract between states. The OT Compact will allow licensed OTs and OTAs to practice in all states that join the compact. This compact will remove the hurdle of getting an individual license in each state where they want to practice. The broad goal is to eliminate barriers to OT practice and patient care by ensuring cooperation among state regulatory entities for those states that join the compact.
Please see otcompact.org where you may watch our Hot Topics webinar to learn more.
Thanks to the hard work of our lobbyists, Robyn Elliott and Rachael Faulkner, the testimony of Noelle Welch and Dorri Gowe-Lambert who stepped up to support the association, and your advocacy efforts, the Occupational Therapy Interstate Licensure Compact bill was passed in both chambers unanimously AND signed into law by Governor Hogan on April 13th!
We are the third state to join the compact. Ten states are required in order for the compact to truly take effect so please communicate with your friends and colleagues in other states to advocate for the compact. Here is a U.S. map that indicates which states have legislation in progress and those that have had the legislation signed into law.
To see how YOUR membership in MOTA and AOTA works for you, take a look at all the work that had to happen before this legislative success:
- AOTA and NBCOT contracted with the Council of State Governments to draft compact language that could be used by states based on their experience with other licensure compacts. YOUR membership dues supported all of these efforts that occurred over several years. Having this language reduced all the work needed by individual states to draft a bill that included all of the necessary pieces required for successful passage.
- MOTA’s lobbyists were influential in identifying that this year offered optimal opportunities for a compact bill to be passed based on their connections with the legislature and knowledge of pending legislation for the session. YOUR membership dues paid for this expert knowledge and advice.
- Robyn and Rachael were able to identify bill sponsors (Senator Carozza and Delegate Morgan) to move our bill forward in the Senate and the House. YOUR membership dues, again, paid for these connections and knowledge to coordinate meetings with the bill sponsors so that they could learn more about OT and the bill and the impact the bill would have for service provision, especially to areas like the Eastern Shore.
- To ensure that the bill would move successfully through both chambers, our lobbyists and your VP for Advocacy, located therapists in the districts of our bill sponsors and provided training to give an excellent testimony. YOUR membership dues provided the member directory that was used to locate therapists in those districts.
To celebrate our victory, MOTA is hosting a virtual gathering where we can toast our lobbyists and share in the excitement together on Wednesday, April 28 at 6:30 PM. All MOTA members are invited to attend! What a wonderful OT Month achievement! If you did not get the virtual event information via email, please email us at all4MOTA@gmail.com.
MOTA’s Legislative Platform
Maryland Occupational Therapy Association (MOTA) supports an integrative legislative approach that focuses on occupational therapists, occupational therapy assistants, occupational therapy students, health and occupational participation of consumers, and those systems that support services (e.g., hospitals, schools, community programs).
MOTA supports initiatives that:
- Promote quality occupational therapy through education and licensure.
- Address occupational therapy recruitment, retention, and diversity.
- Ensure and protect the rights of practitioners to provide quality care within their full scope of practice.
- Promote client/consumer safety, access to care, education, and self-determination.
- Advocate maintaining or expanding occupational therapy roles through legislation and targeted initiatives through the Maryland General Assembly.