Respiratory Therapist Trying to Help

One of my under graduate degrees is in respiratory therapy.  I am registered by the National Board for Respiratory Care. I was licensed as a respiratory care practitioner in the State of Georgia as well as Maryland, Pennsylvania and Ohio.  Prior to retiring I notified the Georgia Composite Medical Board I would not be renewing my license.

Weeks before I retired I was still meeting with patients and their physicians to discuss clinical research, trials, or therapies.  Since I retired I have been published several times in medical periodicals, published a book about health and received three patents specific to medical devices used to monitor cardiopulmonary physiology.  But, I did let my Georgia Respiratory Care Practitioner’s license become inactive.

Before I let my status as a Respiratory Care Practitioner become ‘inactive’ in Georgia I spoke with a representative at the State regarding the decision.  She assured me that should I want to reactivate my license it would be ‘simple.’

When the coronavirus hit I recognized this was going to be a strain on respiratory therapists.  I am not alone among my retired friends who want to help.  This group of Georgian friends willing to help is all over the age 60.  People over 60 have a greater chance of developing more severe symptoms should they get the virus than people under 60 (now that age has dropped to age 50).

We, those of us retired and over 60, can still help without putting ourselves at an unreasonable risk.  The patients typically being admitted to hospitals requiring respiratory support doesn’t go away because there is a new virus to handle.  The workload does increase.  Those therapists willing to come out of retirement during this period when they can supplement today’s work staff can handle the seasonal usual load of people needing respiratory support.  This way, currently employed therapists can focus on the covid-19 patient needs. In fact, there are all sorts of activities where ex-retirees could support the current body of respiratory therapists.

I’ve contacted staff members of the Georgia Composite Medical Board for help.  I’ve asked they approach Governor Kemp and request a waiver of CEUs for six months and allow inactive licenses reinstated for those therapists, previously in good standing, to help.

I was told I needed to complete and submit a stack of forms, supply letters of recommendation from my “medical director” and proof of 30 hours of continuing education.  My suggestions to Governor Kemp seem to been lost, unread or considered then rejected.

I’ve got the reinstatement forms. The forms have been set aside – worthless without 30 hours of continuing education units (CEUs).  I’m working on CEUs.  The medical director form and signature is the Catch-22.  The medical director attests to my skills as a respiratory therapist – someone familiar with my work.  You have to be working in order for a medical director to assess your skills.  You can’t work unless you have the form signed and submitted prior to working.

I considered asking a friend, that was a medical director I’d worked with, to help me out on the medical director form.  However, all my friends who were medical directors have retired.  I’m even a retired Chief Clinical Officer, albeit useless in this endeavor.

By the time I pay for, complete and submit the 30 hours of CEUs this covid-19 problem may have a remedy. Still, I’ll work through the process and reactive my license.  When it comes to a medical director’s support I’ll need to look around to discover one that I’ve worked with here in Georgia. (Fortunately, two are still working.  One weeks away from retirement, the other in private practice and may not be a respiratory care medical director – I’ll need to check.)

When all that is complete there is still the $400.00 required to reinstate my license and a $5.00 fee to verify my National Board for Respiratory Care credential. As it turns out reinstating my Respiratory Care Practitioner license in Georgia is not ‘simple.’