New York Gov Andrew Cuomo (D) recently signed legislation requiring licensure for occupational therapy assistants, making New York the 50th state to do so.

The newly signed S 1567, sponsored by Sen Kenneth P. LaValle (R), goes into effect in May 2016, per a media release from The American Occupational Therapy Association Inc (AOTA).

The release explains that current law requires occupational therapy assistants to meet certain requirements to become authorized to practice by the Department of Education. The bill repeals that provision and establishes licensure requirements for occupational therapy assistants in statute that are consistent with current requirements.

The new law changes the composition of the State Board of Occupational Therapy by requiring that one member be a licensed occupational therapy assistant, the release adds.

“Finally, after 30 years, we have full recognition for occupational therapy assistants in our state. I am so proud of our occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants who worked so hard to make this happen,” says Gloria Lucker, MS, OTR/L, FAOTA, BCP, president, New York State Occupational Therapy Association, in the release.

“Having licensure for occupational therapy assistants will assure their full participation in the profession and will enhance practice standards as well as providing greater recognition by the community,” she adds.

“We are very proud that New York will become the 50th and final state to enact state licensure for occupational therapy assistants,” notes AOTA chief executive officer Frederick P. Somers, in the release.

“State licensure for health professionals is essential in protecting the public from unqualified providers and in assuring the ongoing competence of practitioners. The new law will enhance regulation of the profession by including an occupational therapy assistant on the state’s occupation therapy regulatory board and will elevate practice standards for occupational therapy assistants in New York,” he explains.

For more information, visit AOTA.

[Source: The American Occupational Therapy Association Inc]