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Summary: HB 1549 adjusts the regulations on Audiologists and Speech Pathologists to better accomodate for new technology. The bill would allow the State Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology to create rules and standards to allow these professions to use telepractice, an increasingly available and useful tool. Additionally, HB 1549 removes some extra-curricular requirements and adds a provision for audiologists or speech pathologists who are both military spouses and licensed out of state to easily obtain a license in Texas.
Analysis: HB 1549 makes very good changes to the Occupation Code. It is important for these language specialists to be able to utilize the latest technologies to best diagnose and treat their patients. Allowing them to use telepractice methods supports free market principles by increasing the options of services specialists can choose to provide. Also, because each state has their own licensing process for language specialists and because military spouses do not always get to choose which state they live in, it is good policy to create a path for these qualified spouses to obtain a license in Texas, especially with the stipulation that the applicant has passed through a nationally accredited program. TPPA supports HB 1549.