Massachusetts Association for Occupational Therapy

Tuesday, June 22, 2010
(Read Bill)

Dear members,

Recently the governor signed the "safe driving bill". This bill combined some of the initiatives

that MAOT has been working on in a bill that we initially filed years ago. The bill includes bans on texting

and cell phone use while driving, however it also includes some important measures aimed at improving

the way seniors renew their licenses and addresses reporting unsafe drivers. First, this bill requires drivers 75 and older to renew licenses at a registry office as opposed to online renewals. It also requires this same

group to pass a vision test every 5 years in order to drive. Lastly, the bill gives healthcare workers, including

OTs, the ability to report unsafe drivers to the registry with immunity from civil liability. I have attached a copy of the bill for those who would like to review it. The bill will not take effect until October. I would like to thank our lobbyist Lisa Simmonetti for her help and guidance thru this long process.

Bill Shea OTR/L

Government Relations Representative

MAOT

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Today the senate released  its version of a safe driving bill: Read Bill!

Members: Recently there has been some legislative action that MAOT has been involved in that I would like to update our membership on. Members of the board have recently provided testimony at the statehouse on various bills that we are sponsoring in this legislative session.

We currently are supporting three bills: House Bill 2079 An act Relative to Increasing the Efficiency and Effectiveness of the Board of Allied Health, aims at modifying the current structure of the Board of Allied Health. The goal of this bill is to give each discipline (occupational therapy, physical therapy and athletic trainers) its own section on the board. We feel that occupational therapists should be responsible for determining their own practice regulations, handling complaints and disciplinary action, as well as reviewing and granting licenses. By restructuring the board it will allow occupational therapy issues to be addressed by those most knowledgeable about the profession.

House Bill 2083 An act relative to the expiration date of professional licenses at the Board of Allied Health. In 2007 the Board of Allied Health inadvertently released personal information that included date of birth and social security numbers of licensed occupational therapists in the state of Massachusetts. Currently,  licenses expire every two years on a lincesees birth date. In order to protect this information House Bill 2083 proposes to change the expiration date to birth month. We feel that this change will provide greater protection against identity theft.

The last bill we are sponsoring in this legislative session is Senate Bill 1900 An act relative to Driver Impairment. Much has been reported in the media recently about older drivers and there are currently a number of bills before the legislature that look at the issue of older drivers.

Senate Bill 1900 proposes further study of driver impairment by forming a commission of experts to include representatives of, but not limited to: the Registry of Motor Vehicles, the Secretary of Elder Affairs, a member of the Mass. Psychiatric Society, a member of MAOT, a member of the Mass. Medical Society specializing in brain injuries and a member of the auto insurance industry.

 The goal of this commission is to make recommendations that shall include the following: development of programs within the registry to evaluate the impaired driver including standards of what is an adequate driving evaluation, formation of a multidisciplinary team to assist in the development of standards as well as in the conducting of the evaluation. Other recommendations include: availability of alternative means of transportation, driver re-education programs, health or auto insurance reimbursement for driver reeducation or rehabilitation programs. The commission will also look at who may report to the registry of motor vehicles and protection of the reporter from civil liability.

We feel that our bill is more comprehensive and not only looks at the issue of evaluating impaired drivers but also the accessibility of community mobility alternatives if driving retirement is necessary.

Over the past month members of the MAOT Executive Board and myself have provided testimony to legislators on these bills. With the help of our lobbyist Lisa Simonetti we hope to see these bills continue to progress thru the legislative process.

Bill Shea OTR/L

Government Relations Representative

MAOT

Dina Flannery OTR/L, Karen Hefler OTR/L and Deb Slater OTR/L also contributed information included in this article.

 

MAOT - Massachusetts Association for Occupational Therapy, Inc.
Phone: 781.647.5556 - Email: info@maot.org

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