About the Health Occupations Program
To protect the citizens of Minnesota by regulating practitioners of specified allied healthcare occupations to assure they meet professional standards and provide safe and competent services to consumers.
The Health Occupations Program is a section in the Compliance Monitoring Division of the Policy Quality & Compliance Bureau. The Health Occupations Program has policy analysis, credentialing, investigation and enforcement authority for a number of allied healthcare occupations. Most health-related occupations are regulated by separate licensing boards located at Health Licensing Boards.
- Review applications for regulation from unregulated human service occupations and report recommendations to the legislature.
- Evaluate existing regulatory schemes for human service occupations and report recommendations to the legislature.
- Develop rules and legislation to establish and amend regulations for health-related occupations.
- Examine applicants
- Identify qualified practitioners
- Staff advisory councils
- Monitor and approve continuing education coursework
- Provide public information and education.
Investigation and Enforcement
- Receive consumer/client complaints.
- Investigate allegations of illegal conduct.
- Take disciplinary action through administrative proceedings, and refer to criminal authorities when appropriate.
- Develop consumer brochures describing legal rights.
From 1985 to 1990 the Health Occupations Policy Analysis activity was responsible for administering the process through which human service occupations could become regulated by the state; the 1990 Legislature eliminated funding for the review process effective July 1, 1990. The occupations reviewed, the recommendations made to the legislature and the results of legislative activity can be viewed at Reviews of Health-Related Occupations 1985-1990
The activity first assumed responsibility for regulating speech-language pathologists, audiologists and hearing instrument dispensers in 1989. In F.Y. 1991, the activity assumed responsibility for regulating unlicensed mental health practitioners. From 1994 to June 2005 the activity was responsible for establishing and then administering a licensing system for alcohol and drug counselors. In July 2005, the office of unlicensed mental health practitioners and the alcohol and drug counselor licensing system was transferred to the Health Licensing Boards. Current credentialing activities include administering a licensing system for speech-language pathologists and audiologists, a licensing system for occupational therapy practitioners, a certification system for hearing instrument dispensers, and conducting consumer protection and information programs for purchasers of hearing aids and clients of unlicensed alternative and complementary health care providers. In addition the activity maintains a registry for doulas and a roster for spoken language health care interpreters. In 2010 the activity assumed responsibility for establishing a licensing system for body artists (tattooists and piercers) and for body art establishments.
The activity establishes and convenes advisory councils and committees comprised of practitioners and public members to provide technical expertise and consumer perspectives to regulatory activities. The activity also administers written and practical examinations for hearing instrument dispensers.
The regulation of speech-hearing occupations involves receiving and investigating complaints from potential and actual purchasers of hearing aids and taking enforcement action against dispensers in appropriate cases. This function and the consumer hearing aid information center are supported by fees paid by applicants for licenses and certificates. The regulation of occupational therapy practitioners, speech language pathologists, and audiologists is also supported by fees. The investigation of complaints and enforcement actions against unlicensed complementary and alternative health care practitioners is supported by a general fund appropriation.
Though the activity no longer conducts occupational analysis reviews, the activity continues to provide information, technical assistance and advice on state regulation of health personnel to the legislature, members of occupations, other state agencies, members of the public, and other jurisdictions. The activity participates in two health licensing board entities: The Council of Health Boards and the Health Professional Services Program.
The Authority for this activity is found in Minnesota Statutes, Sections 214.025, 214.13, 146A, 146B, 148.511 to 148.5196, 148,6440 to 148.6450 and 153A.
- Regulate audiologists, speech-language pathologists and hearing instrument dispensers by issuing credentials to applicants and receiving and investigating consumer complaints against practitioners.
- Regulate Occupational Therapy Practitioners by issuing licenses to applicants and receiving and investigating consumer complaints.
- Regulate body art procedures by licensing technicians and establishments.
- Investigate complaints and take appropriate enforcement action against unlicensed complimentary and alternative health care practitioners.
- Operate a consumer information center for potential and actual purchasers of hearing aids.
- Convene meetings of occupational advisory councils and committees related to each occupation regulated by the activity.