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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 96-1180



Actions Taken by the Commission

[26 Pa.B. 3492]

   The Independent Regulatory Review Commission met publicly at 11 a.m., Wednesday, July 3, 1996, and took the following actions:

Regulation Approved:

   State Board of Osteopathic Medicine #16A-536: Renewal Fees (amends 49 Pa. Code § 25.231)

Commissioners Present: Robert J. Harbison, III, Vice Chairperson; Arthur Coccodrilli; John F. Mizner; Irvin G. Zimmerman

Public meeting held
July 3, 1996

State Board of Osteopathic Medicine--Renewal Fees; Doc No. 16A-536


   On January 29, 1996, the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (Commission) received this proposed regulation from the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine. This rulemaking would amend 49 Pa. Code § 25.231. The authority for this regulation is found in section 13.1(a) of the Osteopathic Medical Practice Act (63 P. S. § 271.13a(a)). The proposed regulation was published in the February 10, 1996 Pennsylvania Bulletin with a 30-day public comment period. The final-form regulation was submitted to the Commission on June 17, 1996.

   The proposed regulation will require osteopathic physicians to pay $140 biennially for renewal of their licenses, an increase of $65 over the current biennial licensure fee of $75. The regulation will affect all osteopathic physicans who are licensed to practice in Pennsylvania. Currently, there are approximately 5,600 licensees. The proposed increase will result in Pennsylvania having the twelfth lowest licensure fee in the United States.

   The Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee voted to approve the regulation on June 25, 1996. The House Professional Licensure Committee approved the regulation on June 26, 1996.

   As a result of our review of the proposed rulemaking, we expressed concern regarding the dramatic increase in some Board expenditures between the 1991-93 and the 1993-95 biennial cycles. In particular, Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs (BPOA) administration costs increased by approximately 165%, from $25,270.11 to $66,877.54. In addition, central support services costs increased 88%, from $20,750 to $39,100 and Board administration costs increased 28%, from $120,200.58 to $153,547.39. In our Comments, we requested that the Board provide a detailed explanation for the substantial increases in BPOA administration, central support services and Board administration costs.

   In response to our inquiry concerning the increase in BPOA administration costs, the Board explained that when expenditures exceed the level of appropriations, the excess expenditure is rolled over into the next fiscal year and is recorded as that succeeding year's expenditure. Approximately $25,000 of the increase in BPOA administration costs between the 1991-93 and the 1993-95 biennial cycles was the result of such a rollover. The $25,000 rollover also reflects the Board's costs to reconstruct cases which were destroyed in the fire of June 16, 1994.

   In addition to the $25,000 rollover, the Board's remaining BPOA administration costs increased approximately $16,600. The Board explained this increase was also fire related. Prior to the fire, BPOA offices were housed in a State government-owned building, and BPOA did not have to pay rent for office space. Since the fire, BPOA has incurred the additional expenses of renting office space from a private landlord and replacing office equipment which was destroyed in the fire.

   The Board explained that the approximately 88% increase in central support services costs resulted from the reclassification of expenses attributable to the Office of Operations and Contract Management, which is a component of the Department of State's (Department's) central support services cost center. During the 1994-95 fiscal year, 14 positions were transferred from BPOA appropriations to the general government operations appropriations. As a result, direct personnel expenses which the Department previously charged to BPOA were eliminated. The total payroll expenses for the 14 positions were prorated and charged to each of the Department program areas affected by the reclassified positions. Therefore, the increase in central support services costs reflects the Board's prorated share of the payroll expenses associated with the 14 reclassified positions.

   According to the Board, three factors caused the 28% increase in Board administration costs from the 1991-93 to the 1993-95 biennial cycle. First, implementation of the legislatively mandated continuing medical education requirements for the 1994 renewal required multiple mailings to licensees to inform them of a proposed rulemaking on continuing education. The costs of preparing and mailing the notices increased Board administration costs.

   Second, amendments to the Osteopathic Medical Practice Act relating to the certification and registration of respiratory care practitioners necessitated mass mailings to applicants to inform them of licensure requirements. In addition, the Board accrued overtime costs on several occasions in order to process all applications.

   Finally, contractual pay and longevity increases for Board staff in the 1993-95 biennial cycle amounted to approximately 10%, or $20,000. The combination of these three factors accounted for the increase in Board administration costs from the 1991-93 to the 1993-95 biennial cycle.

   We have reviewed this regulation and find it to be in the public interest. Although the Board experienced substantial increases in specific expense categories between the 1991-93 and 1993-95 biennial cycles, the Board has adequately explained the reasons for the increases. In the overall, we find the proposed biennial renewal fee to be reasonable and in-line with fees in surrounding states.

Therefore, It Is Ordered That:

   1.  Regulation No. 16A-536 from the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine, as submitted to the Commission on June 17, 1996, is approved; and

   2.  The Commission will transmit a copy of this Order to the Legislative Reference Bureau.


[Pa.B. Doc. No. 96-1180. Filed for public inspection July 19, 1996, 9:00 a.m.]

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