Occupational Therapists and Occupational Therapy Assistants - Rules in Progress

Rules in Progress

The rules writing process is open to the public. The public is welcome to take part in helping us write rules. Rules are also known as regulations, Washington Administrative Code, or WAC. The rule-making process includes public notices and workshops, and usually a public hearing before a rule becomes final.

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Current rules in progress

The rule-making process for occupational therapy temporary permits and fees is currently underway. Key milestones include:

The Occupational Therapy Practice Board (board) is considering updates to temporary permits and fees. The board and the Department of Health (department) are considering amendments to WAC 246-847-117, Temporary permits, in response to Second Substitute House Bill (2SHB) 1009, (chapter 165, Laws of 2023), the Washington Military Spouse Employment Act. The board and the department will also consider amending WAC 246-847-990, Occupational therapy fees and renewal cycle, to establish a fee to cover the cost of the temporary permit.

Streamlining occupational therapy licensure and endorsement and amendments to CE and Code of ethics rules sections

The rule-making process for occupational therapy licensure, CE, and code of ethics is currently underway. Key milestones include:

The Occupational Therapy Practice Board (board) is considering updates to reduce barriers to enter and remain in the occupational therapy workforce, streamline and shorten the credentialing process. The board is also considering amendments to the chapter to address concerns raised by interested parties. The board will consider amending chapter 246-847 WAC, and possibly repealing or creating new sections.

The board is considering rule amendments to implement Second Substitute House Bill (2SHB) 1724 (Chapter 425, Laws of 2023) for the following WAC sections: WAC 246-847-080 Examinations; WAC 246-847-125 Applicants currently licensed in other states or territories; WAC 246-847-051 Military equivalence; WAC 246-847-068 Expired license; and WAC 246-847-070 Inactive credential. To align rules with this legislation, the board will consider: (1) reducing or removing barriers to entering and remaining in the occupational therapy care workforce, (2) measures to streamline and shorten the credentialing process, and (3) other amendments to the chapter as appropriate. Additionally, the board will consider amendments to WAC 246-847-065 (Continuing Education Requirements) to align with the national certifying board and WAC 246-847-170 (Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct) to ensure care is done ethically and professionally.

Health Equity Training for Occupational Therapy (WAC 246-847-065)

The rule-making process for health equity continuing competency training in occupational therapy is currently underway. Key milestones include:

In response to RCW 43.70.613(3)(b), health professions licensed under Title 18 RCW, including occupational therapy, are required to incorporate health equity continuing competency training every four years. The Department of Health has established model rules (filed on November 23, 2022, under WSR 22-23-167) for the minimum standards of health equity continuing education programs. 

The Occupational Therapy Practice Board is in the process of developing rules (WAC 246-847-065) aligned with these model rules, specifically in compliance with Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill (ESSB) 5229 (Chapter 276, Laws of 2021). The adopted rule with introduce two hours of health equity education every four years, seamlessly integrated into the existing continuing competency requirements.

Occupational Therapy Licensure Compact

Another ongoing rule-making effort pertains to the Occupational Therapy Licensure Compact, with the following key milestones:

The Department of Health is introducing a new rule, WAC 246-847-991, to Implement Senate Bill (SB) 5118 (Chapter 152, Laws of 2022). This bill establishes an interstate licensure compact for occupational therapy, allowing member states to determine fees for compact privileges. The new rule defines the compact fees and outlines the renewal cycle for occupational therapy licensure compact privileges.

More agency rule resources