Officials with the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) have decided to withhold continuing accreditation for Missouri State University-West Plains’ Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy program.


Officials with the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care (CoARC) have decided to withhold continuing accreditation for Missouri State University-West Plains’ Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy program.

Missouri State-West Plains Chancellor Drew Bennett said university officials, after receiving the news, recently decided not to appeal CoARC’s decision but to reapply for accreditation.  “The earliest such a letter can be submitted is Aug. 24, 2010,” Bennett said.

CoARC officials made their decision to withhold continuing accreditation of the program based on the rate of its graduates who passed the National Board for Respiratory Care (NBRC) credentialing examination during the past three years.  Continued accreditation requires 80 percent of program graduates to pass the board exam during that time period; the rate of Missouri State-West Plains graduates passing the exam was 78.6 percent, Bennett explained.

Students currently enrolled in the program will be allowed to continue their studies and will be fully accredited upon graduation this year and next year, Bennett stressed; however, no new respiratory therapy students will be allowed to enroll in the program until authorized by CoARC officials.  The earliest such approval may be given is March 2011, he added.  “CoARC officials will have to approve the university’s Letter of Intent for reapplication before issuing a Letter of Review that will authorize enrollment and indicate tentative accreditation,” Bennet explained.  “CoARC will then conduct another site review before awarding full accreditation.”

Several improvements have been and are being implemented to increase the success of the program, Bennett said.  These include adding personnel to the program’s advisory board and consolidating the program into an Allied Health Division that will be located in a renovated Looney Hall, which will provide access to a new clinical simulation lab, he explained.

“CoARC’s review panel stated they were very encouraged by recent changes to address the outcome deficiencies, as well as the significant improvement demonstrated by the program, and would like to assist Missouri State-West Plains in attaining accrediation,” Bennett said.

Missouri State-West Plains implemented the Associate of Applied Science in Respiratory Therapy program in 2005 and received preliminary accreditation by CoARC that same year.  CoARC officials conducted a site visit in September 2006 to review information compiled for initial accreditation, and the program received initial accreditation for a three-year period in May 2007.

NEW DIRECTOR

Bennett also noted the university is currently seeking a new director of the respiratory therapy program.  Current director, Gary Barker, had indicated several months ago he planned to retire on Aug. 1, 2010, well before the process for continued accreditation began, Bennett said.

“We hope to hire a new director by mid June in an effort to provide a seamless transition for the program and to bring the new director up to speed on these new developments,” he explained.  “Gary was instrumental in turning the vision of a respiratory therapy program for this area into reality, and we appreciate his hard work and dedication in establishing this program.”