Executive Summary

Issue Area 1: The Board is More Active with Respect to Disciplinary Actions than the Corresponding Licensure Boards in all but one of the Adjacent States.

A comparison of disciplinary actions taken by the Board with licensure boards in surrounding states shows that it is less active when compared to Ohio, a much larger state with six times as many licensees. West Virginia's Board compares more favorably with the other surrounding states. All of the surrounding states have much larger numbers of respiratory therapist licensees than West Virginia, yet West Virginia generally matches or exceeds the total number of disciplinary actions conducted in the other states.

Issue Area 2: State Purchasing Policies not Practical for the Board's Needs.

The Board has reimbursed members for such expenses as office supplies and postage instead of directly paying for these expenses from the Board's funds." According to Section Seven of the Purchasing Division's Agency Purchasing Manual, "purchases of materials, supplies, and designated services which total $1,000 or less per transaction should be made using the State Purchasing Card." The Board was ineligible for participation in the Purchasing Card Program until until it hired an employee in October 1997. Another reason why the Board has reimbursed its members for the purchase of office supplies is that the Board had no funds upon its creation since it had not yet collected any licensure revenue and was not appropriated any funds for start-up costs.

The Legislative Auditor suggests two possible methods for financing newly-created licensure boards. Due to the lack of funds available to newly-created licensure boards, the State Auditor's Office and the Purchasing Division could permit licensure boards to charge purchases on purchasing cards until boards begin collecting licensure revenue and can cover expenses from their own funds. Another alternative would be for the Legislature to allocate funds to newly-created licensure boards to provide for start-up costs and other necessary expenses, while requiring the repayment of these funds after the boards begin to collect licensure revenue.

Recommendation 1:
The State Auditor's Office and the Purchasing Division should change existing purchasing policies to ensure that all State agencies, whether or not they have permanent employees, are eligible for participation in the Purchasing Card Program.

Recommendation 2:
The Legislature should consider possible ways of financing newly-created licensure boards and choose a method by which they can cover their necessary start-up costs while adhering to the State's purchasing policies.

Issue Area 3: The Board failed to produce an annual report until 1999.

From the time of the Board's creation in 1995 until 1999 the Board did not produce an annual report to the Governor as required by WVC §30-1-12. During 1999 an biennium report was prepared that covered fiscal years 1998 and 1999.

Recommendation 3:
In the future, the Board should file reports to the Governor on an annual basis.

Issue Area 4: The Board failed to file notices of public meetings with the Secretary of State's Office prior to 1999.

Beginning in April 1999, the Board began to file notices of meeting dates in accordance with the Open Governmental Meetings Act. A total of five notices were filed in 1999. One notice was filed too late to appear in the State Register at least five days prior to the meeting as required by WVC §6-9A-3.

Recommendation 4:
The Board should file notices of public meetings with the Secretary of State's Office early enough to permit five days notice in the State Register as required by WVC §6-9A-3.

Issue Area 5: The Board has recently filed new legislative rules with the Secretary of State's Office to clarify continuing education requirements and the disciplinary process.

The Board has recently taken steps to clarify its legislative rules regarding continuing education requirements (Title 30, Series 3 ) and disciplinary action (Title 30, Series 4) by filing proposed changes with the Secretary of State's Office. The Board should be commended for its continuing efforts to monitor and to inform licensees regarding their CEU requirements and the standards of conduct expected of them.