(1) The purpose of this chapter is to establish guidelines for the regulation of health professions not licensed or regulated prior to July 24, 1983, and those licensed or regulated health professions which seek to substantially increase their scope of practice: PROVIDED, That the provisions of this chapter are not intended and shall not be construed to: (a) Apply to any regulatory entity created prior to July 24, 1983, except as provided in this chapter; (b) affect the powers and responsibilities of the superintendent of public instruction or Washington professional educator standards board under RCW 28A.410.210
; (c) apply to or interfere in any way with the practice of religion or to any kind of treatment by prayer; and (d) apply to any remedial or technical amendments to any statutes which licensed or regulated activity before July 24, 1983. The legislature believes that all individuals should be permitted to enter into a health profession unless there is an overwhelming need for the state to protect the interests of the public by restricting entry into the profession. Where such a need is identified, the regulation adopted by the state should be set at the least restrictive level consistent with the public interest to be protected.
(2) It is the intent of this chapter that no regulation shall, after July 24, 1983, be imposed upon any health profession except for the exclusive purpose of protecting the public interest. All bills introduced in the legislature to regulate a health profession for the first time should be reviewed according to the following criteria. A health profession should be regulated by the state only when:
(a) Unregulated practice can clearly harm or endanger the health, safety, or welfare of the public, and the potential for the harm is easily recognizable and not remote or dependent upon tenuous argument;
(b) The public needs and can reasonably be expected to benefit from an assurance of initial and continuing professional ability; and
(c) The public cannot be effectively protected by other means in a more cost-beneficial manner.
(3) After evaluating the criteria in subsection (2) of this section and considering governmental and societal costs and benefits, if the legislature finds that it is necessary to regulate a health profession not previously regulated by law, the least restrictive alternative method of regulation should be implemented, consistent with the public interest and this section:
(a) Where existing common law and statutory civil actions and criminal prohibitions are not sufficient to eradicate existing harm, the regulation should provide for stricter civil actions and criminal prosecutions;
(b) Where a service is being performed for individuals involving a hazard to the public health, safety, or welfare, the regulation should impose inspection requirements and enable an appropriate state agency to enforce violations by injunctive relief in court, including, but not limited to, regulation of the business activity providing the service rather than the employees of the business;
(c) Where the threat to the public health, safety, or economic well-being is relatively small as a result of the operation of the health profession, the regulation should implement a system of registration;
(d) Where the consumer may have a substantial basis for relying on the services of a practitioner, the regulation should implement a system of certification; or
(e) Where apparent that adequate regulation cannot be achieved by means other than licensing, the regulation should implement a system of licensing.
[2005 c 497 § 219; 1990 c 33 § 554; 1983 c 168 § 1.]
Intent—Part headings not law—Effective date—2005 c 497:
See notes following RCW 28A.305.011