S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K
S. 4538 A. 7790
2009-2010 Regular Sessions
S E N A T E - A S S E M B L Y
April 24, 2009
IN SENATE -- Introduced by Sens. LAVALLE, OPPENHEIMER, DIAZ, MORAHAN,
ONORATO, VOLKER -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to
be committed to the Committee on Higher Education
IN ASSEMBLY -- Introduced by M. of A. CANESTRARI -- read once and
referred to the Committee on Higher Education
AN ACT to amend the education law, in relation to the profession of
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. Article 156 of title 8 of the education law, as added by
chapter 779 of the laws of 1975, section 7901 as amended by chapter 146
of the laws of 1993, section 7903 as amended by chapter 326 of the laws
of 1977, subdivision 2 of section 7904 as amended by chapter 161 of the
laws of 1978, subdivision 8 of section 7904, subdivision 4 of section
7905 and subdivision 6 of section 7906 as amended by chapter 62 of the
laws of 1989, paragraph (a) of subdivision 1 of section 7905 as amended
by chapter 396 of the laws of 1977 and subdivision 2 of section 7905 as
amended by chapter 173 of the laws of 1992, is amended to read as
Section 7900. Introduction.
7902. Practice of occupational therapy and use of title "occu-
7902-A. DEFINITION OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT AND USE OF
THE TITLE "OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT."
7902-B. SUPERVISION OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANTS.
7903. State board for occupational therapy.
EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
[ ] is old law to be omitted.
S. 4538 2 A. 7790
7904. Requirements for a professional license AS AN OCCUPA-
7904-A. REQUIREMENTS FOR A LICENSE AS AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
7905. Limited permits.
7906. Exempt persons.
7907. Special conditions.
S 7900. Introduction. This article applies to the profession of occu-
pational therapy. The general provisions for all professions contained
in article one hundred thirty of this title apply to this article.
S 7901. Definition. The practice of the profession of occupational
therapy is defined as the functional evaluation of the client [and], the
planning and utilization of a program of purposeful activities [to], THE
DEVELOPMENT AND UTILIZATION OF A TREATMENT PROGRAM, AND/OR CONSULTATION
WITH THE CLIENT, FAMILY, CAREGIVER OR ORGANIZATION IN ORDER TO RESTORE,
develop or maintain adaptive skills, AND/OR PERFORMANCE ABILITIES
designed to achieve maximal physical, COGNITIVE and mental functioning
of the [patient in] CLIENT ASSOCIATED WITH his or her ACTIVITIES OF
DAILY LIVING AND daily life tasks, TO PREVENT ACTIVITY LIMITATION OR
PARTICIPATION RESTRICTION, OR TO PROMOTE HEALTH AND WELLNESS. Such
treatment program, WHEN PROVIDED FOR A MEDICAL CONDITION, shall be
rendered on the prescription or referral of a physician [or], nurse
practitioner OR REFERRAL OF AN OPTOMETRIST. OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY FOR
NON-MEDICAL CONDITIONS AS DEFINED BY THE COMMISSIONER'S REGULATIONS MAY
BE PROVIDED WITHOUT A PRESCRIPTION OR REFERRAL. However, nothing
contained in this article shall be construed to permit any licensee
hereunder to practice medicine or psychology, including psychotherapy.
S 7902. Practice of occupational therapy and use of title "occupa-
tional therapist". Only a person licensed or otherwise authorized to
practice under this article shall practice occupational therapy or use
the title "occupational therapist".
S 7902-A. DEFINITION OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT AND USE OF THE
TITLE "OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT." (1) AN "OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
ASSISTANT" MEANS A PERSON LICENSED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THIS ARTICLE WHO
PROVIDES OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY SERVICES WITH THE SUPERVISION OF A
LICENSED OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST AND PERFORMS CLIENT RELATED ACTIVITIES
AS ARE ASSIGNED BY THE SUPERVISING OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST. ONLY A
PERSON LICENSED OR OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED UNDER THIS ARTICLE SHALL PARTIC-
IPATE IN THE PRACTICE OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AS AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
ASSISTANT AND ONLY A PERSON LICENSED UNDER THIS SECTION SHALL USE THE
TITLE "OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT".
(2) CLIENT RELATED SERVICES PROVIDED BY OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSIST-
ANTS SHALL BE DEFINED AS:
(A) CONTRIBUTING TO THE EVALUATION OF A CLIENT BY GATHERING DATA,
REPORTING OBSERVATIONS AND IMPLEMENTING ASSESSMENTS DELEGATED BY THE
(B) CONSULTING WITH THE SUPERVISING OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST IN ORDER TO
ASSIST THE SUPERVISING OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST IN MAKING DETERMINATIONS
RELATED TO THE TREATMENT PLAN, MODIFICATION OF CLIENT PROGRAMS OR TERMI-
NATION OF A CLIENT'S TREATMENT;
(C) THE UTILIZATION OF A PROGRAM OF PURPOSEFUL ACTIVITIES, A TREATMENT
PROGRAM, AND/OR CONSULTATION WITH THE CLIENT, FAMILY, CAREGIVER, OR
OTHER HEALTH CARE OR EDUCATION PROVIDERS, IN KEEPING WITH THE TREATMENT
PLAN AND THE DIRECTION OF THE SUPERVISING OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST;
(D) THE USE OF TREATMENT MODALITIES AND TECHNIQUES THAT ARE BASED ON
APPROACHES TAUGHT IN AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT EDUCATIONAL
S. 4538 3 A. 7790
PROGRAM APPROVED BY THE DEPARTMENT, AND THAT THE OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
ASSISTANT HAS DEMONSTRATED TO THE SUPERVISING OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST
THAT HE OR SHE IS COMPETENT IN USING; OR
(E) IMMEDIATE SUSPENSION OF ANY TREATMENT INTERVENTION THAT APPEARS
HARMFUL TO THE CLIENT AND IMMEDIATE NOTIFICATION OF THE SUPERVISING
S 7902-B. SUPERVISION OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANTS. (1) SUPER-
VISION OF AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT, AS DEFINED BY COMMISSION-
ER'S REGULATIONS, SHALL BE BY A LICENSED OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST.
(2) IN NO INSTANCE SHALL ANY PERSON DIRECT AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST
TO DELEGATE RESPONSIBILITIES TO AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT THAT
MAY BE HARMFUL TO A CLIENT OR DIMINISH THE REASONABLE QUALITY OF CARE OF
THAT CLIENT, PROVIDE INADEQUATE SUPERVISION TO AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
ASSISTANT, OR DIRECT AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT TO ASSUME CLIENT
SERVICE RESPONSIBILITIES THAT ARE NOT APPROVED BY A SUPERVISING OCCUPA-
(3) IN NO INSTANCE SHALL THE RATIO OF SUPERVISOR TO OCCUPATIONAL THER-
APY ASSISTANT EXCEED ONE TO FOUR.
S 7903. State board for occupational therapy. A state board for occu-
pational therapy shall be appointed by the board of regents on the
recommendation of the commissioner for the purpose of assisting the
board of regents and the department on matters of professional licensing
and professional conduct in accordance with section sixty-five hundred
eight of this title. The board shall be composed of not less than
[seven] EIGHT licensed occupational therapists, [and two additional
members who shall include one physician and one member who is primarily
and actively engaged in hospital administration. Members of the first
board, who are occupational therapists, need not be licensed prior to
their appointment to the board] ONE OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT, AND
TWO MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC WHO ARE NOT LICENSED UNDER THIS TITLE. An
executive secretary to the board shall be appointed by the board of
regents on recommendation of the commissioner.
S 7904. Requirements for a professional license AS AN OCCUPATIONAL
THERAPIST. To qualify for a license as an occupational therapist, an
applicant shall fulfill the following requirements:
(1) File an application with the department.
(2) Have satisfactorily completed an approved occupational therapy
curriculum in a baccalaureate or masters program, or a certificate
program satisfactory to the department which is substantially equivalent
to a baccalaureate degree program, in accordance with the [commissioner
of education's] COMMISSIONER'S regulations.
(3) Have a minimum of six months of supervised occupational therapy
experience which supervision and experience shall be satisfactory to the
board of occupational therapy and in accordance with the commissioner's
(4) Pass an examination satisfactory to the board of occupational
therapy and in accordance with the commissioner's regulations.
(5) Be at least twenty-one years of age.
(6) Meet no requirements as to United States citizenship.
(7) Be of good moral character as determined by the department.
(8) [Fees: pay] PAY a fee of one hundred forty dollars to the depart-
ment for admission to a department conducted examination and for an
initial license, a fee of seventy dollars for each re-examination, a fee
of one hundred fifteen dollars for an initial license for persons not
requiring admission to a department conducted examination, and a fee of
one hundred fifty-five dollars for each triennial registration period.
S. 4538 4 A. 7790
S 7904-A. REQUIREMENTS FOR A LICENSE AS AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
ASSISTANT. TO QUALIFY FOR A LICENSE AS AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSIST-
ANT, AN APPLICANT SHALL FULFILL THE FOLLOWING REQUIREMENTS:
(1) FILE AN APPLICATION WITH THE DEPARTMENT;
(2) HAVE RECEIVED AN EDUCATION INCLUDING COMPLETION OF AN ACCREDITED
TWO-YEAR COLLEGE OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT PROGRAM OR EQUIVALENT IN
ACCORDANCE WITH THE COMMISSIONER'S REGULATIONS;
(3) HAVE A MINIMUM OF THREE MONTHS CLINICAL EXPERIENCE SATISFACTORY TO
THE STATE BOARD FOR OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE
(4) BE AT LEAST EIGHTEEN YEARS OF AGE;
(5) BE OF GOOD MORAL CHARACTER AS DETERMINED BY THE DEPARTMENT;
(6) MEET NO REQUIREMENTS AS TO UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP;
(7) ALL OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANTS SHALL REGISTER TRIENNIALLY
WITH THE DEPARTMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE COMMISSIONER'S REGULATIONS;
(8) PAY A FEE FOR AN INITIAL LICENSE OF FORTY-FIVE DOLLARS, AND A FEE
OF FIFTY DOLLARS FOR EACH TRIENNIAL REGISTRATION PERIOD; AND
(9) PASS AN EXAMINATION ACCEPTABLE TO THE DEPARTMENT.
S 7905. Limited permits. Permits limited as to eligibility, practice,
and duration, shall be issued by the department to eligible applicants,
(1) The following persons shall be eligible for a limited permit:
(a) An occupational therapist who has graduated from an occupational
therapy curriculum with a baccalaureate degree or certificate in occupa-
tional therapy which is substantially equivalent to a baccalaureate
degree satisfactory to the board of occupational therapy and in accord-
ance with the commissioner's regulations; or
(b) A foreign occupational therapist who is in this country on a non-
immigration visa for the continuation of occupational therapy study,
pursuant to the exchange student program of the United States Department
of State; OR
(C) AN INDIVIDUAL WHO HAS GRADUATED FROM AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
ASSISTANT CURRICULUM WITH AN ASSOCIATES DEGREE OR CERTIFICATE IN OCCUPA-
TIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT WHICH IS SUBSTANTIALLY EQUIVALENT TO AN ASSOCI-
ATES DEGREE SATISFACTORY TO THE BOARD OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY AND IN
ACCORDANCE WITH THE COMMISSIONER'S REGULATIONS.
(2) A LIMITED permittee shall be authorized to practice occupational
therapy only under the DIRECT supervision of a licensed occupational
therapist [or a licensed physician and shall practice only in a public,
voluntary, or proprietary hospital, health care agency or in a preschool
or an elementary or secondary school for the purpose of providing occu-
pational therapy as a related service for a handicapped child].
(A) FOR PURPOSES OF THIS SUBDIVISION, SUPERVISION OF AN INDIVIDUAL
WITH A LIMITED PERMIT TO PRACTICE OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ISSUED BY THE
DEPARTMENT SHALL BE DIRECT SUPERVISION AS DEFINED BY THE COMMISSIONER'S
(B) SUPERVISION OF AN INDIVIDUAL WITH A LIMITED PERMIT ISSUED TO PRAC-
TICE AS AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT,
SHALL BE DIRECT SUPERVISION BY A LICENSED OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST AS
DEFINED BY THE COMMISSIONER'S REGULATIONS.
(3) A limited permit shall be valid for one year. It may be renewed
once for a period not to exceed one additional year, at the discretion
of the department, upon the submission of an explanation satisfactory to
the department for an applicant's failure to become licensed within the
original one-year period. [A limited permit shall become null and void
if and when the holder thereof fails to pass a licensing examination.]
S. 4538 5 A. 7790
(4) The fee for a limited permit shall be seventy dollars FOR A GRADU-
ATE OF AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY PROGRAM AND FIFTY-FIVE DOLLARS FOR A
GRADUATE OF AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT PROGRAM.
S 7906. Exempt persons. This article shall not be construed to affect
or prevent the following, provided that no title, sign, card or device
shall be used in such manner as to tend to convey the impression that
the person rendering such service is a licensed occupational therapist
OR A LICENSED OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT:
(1) A licensed physician from practicing his OR HER profession as
defined under article one hundred thirty-one and article one hundred
[thirty-one-A, as added by chapter eleven hundred thirty-five of the
laws of nineteen hundred seventy-one, respectively] THIRTY-ONE-B OF THIS
(2) Qualified members of other licensed or legally recognized
professions from performing work incidental to the practice of their
profession, except that such persons may not hold themselves out under
the title occupational therapist OR UNDER THE TITLE OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY
ASSISTANT or as performing occupational therapy.
(3) A student from engaging in clinical practice as part of an accred-
ited program in occupational therapy, pursuant to subdivision three of
section seventy-nine hundred four of this article.
(4) AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT STUDENT FROM ENGAGING IN CLIN-
ICAL PRACTICE UNDER THE DIRECT SUPERVISION OF AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST
AS PART OF AN ACCREDITED OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY ASSISTANT PROGRAM, PURSU-
ANT TO SUBDIVISION TWO OF SECTION SEVENTY-NINE HUNDRED FOUR-A OF THIS
ARTICLE, AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE COMMISSIONER'S REGULATIONS. NOTWITH-
STANDING ANYTHING TO THE CONTRARY IN THIS SECTION, AN OCCUPATIONAL THER-
APY ASSISTANT STUDENT SHALL BE PERMITTED TO WORK WITH AN OCCUPATIONAL
THERAPY ASSISTANT UNDER THE SUPERVISION OF AN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST.
(5) The care of the sick by any person, provided such person is
employed primarily in a domestic capacity. This shall not authorize the
treatment of patients in a home care service of any hospital, clinic,
institution or agency.
[(5)] (6) An employee of a federal agency from using the title [of] OR
practicing as an occupational therapist insofar as such activities are
required by his salaried position and the use of such title shall be
limited to such employment.
[(6) The following people from working under the direct supervision of
a licensed occupational therapist or a licensed physician:
Occupational therapy assistants certified by the commissioner as
having successfully completed a program for occupational therapy assist-
ants in accordance with the commissioner's regulations. However, in the
case of those working under a licensed physician such exemption shall
apply only in a public, voluntary or proprietary hospital or health or
home care agency. All such certified occupational therapy assistants
shall register with the education department in accordance with regu-
lations of the commissioner. The fee for such certification shall be
forty-five dollars. The registration fee shall be fifty dollars for each
triennial registration period.]
(7) [The following people from working under the direct supervision of
a licensed occupational therapist:]
An individual employed by the state or municipal government at the
effective date of this [act] ARTICLE who performs supportive services in
occupational therapy solely for the time such person continues in that
employment AND UNDER THE DIRECT SUPERVISION OF AN OCCUPATIONAL
S. 4538 6 A. 7790
(8) Any occupational therapist who is licensed in another state,
United States possession or country or who has received at least a
baccalaureate degree or its equivalent in occupational therapy and who
is either in this state for the purposes of (a) consultation, provided
such practice is limited to such consultation; or (b) an occupational
therapist authorized to practice in another state or country from
conducting a teaching clinical demonstration in connection with a
program of basic clinical education, graduate education or post graduate
education in an approved school of occupational therapy or its affil-
iated clinical facility or health care agency or before a group of
licensed occupational therapists; or (c) because he OR SHE resides near
a border of this state, provided such practice is limited in this state
to the vicinity of such border and said occupational therapist does not
maintain an office or place to meet patients or receive calls in this
S 7907. Special conditions. A person who on the effective date of
this [act] ARTICLE:
(1) submits evidence of a minimum of three years experience with
training satisfactory to the board in occupational therapy and in
accordance with the regulations of the commissioner; or
(2) a baccalaureate degree or its equivalent in occupational therapy,
shall be licensed upon the filing of an application with the department
[of education] within six months of the effective date of this [act]
(3) HAS A CURRENT REGISTRATION WITH THE DEPARTMENT AS AN OCCUPATIONAL
THERAPY ASSISTANT, IF SUCH PERSON MEETS THE REQUIREMENTS FOR A LICENSE
ESTABLISHED WITHIN THIS ARTICLE, EXCEPT FOR EXAMINATION, THE DEPARTMENT
SHALL LICENSE WITHOUT EXAMINATION.
S 2. Severability clause. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivi-
sion, section or part contained in any part of this act shall be
adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such
judgment shall not affect, impair, or invalidate the remainder thereof,
but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, para-
graph, subdivision, section or part contained in any part thereof
directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment shall have
been rendered. It is hereby declared to be the intent of the legislature
that this act would have been enacted even if such invalid provisions
had not been included herein.
S 3. This act shall take effect on the one hundred eightieth day after
it shall have become a law; provided, however, the commissioner of
education and the board of regents are authorized, prior to such effec-
tive date, to promulgate such rules and regulations as may be necessary
for the timely implementation of this act.