ASNA legislative agenda: stop workplace violence
In the wake of worldwide terrorist activity, the Alabama State Nurses Association is proposing legislation aimed at reducing workplace violence.
During the 2004 regular session of the Alabama Legislature, ASNA is pushing a measure which would classify the assault of a health care worker performing his/her duty as a felony.
The bill has been introduced in the Alabama House of Representatives by Rep. Dick Brewbaker, a Montgomery Republican. ASNA expects bi-partisan support in the Legislature and is lining up support of other medical groups.
“Homeland security is something that is on everyone’s mind right now and no one is more at risk than our dedicated nurses, physicians and other health care professionals,” said Helen Wilson, Interim ASNA Executive Director. “We want to do all we can to secure their safety.”
“This should make someone stop and think before they enter a hospital or nursing home to harm a health care worker. Whereas striking a nurse at a hospital probably would have resulted in the offender’s only being charged with a misdemeanor in the past, passage of this legislation will ensure that in cases involving injury, the aggressor will be cited for a felony,” added Don Eddins, ASNA lawyer and lobbyist.
The legislation would amend the assault statute at Section 13A-6-21, Code of Alabama 1975, by adding language stating a person commits the crime of Assault in the Second Degree if he/she:
“With intent to cause physical injury to a health care employee, to include nurses, physicians, technicians and other individuals employed by or practicing at a hospital, as defined in Section 22-21-20 but to also include county and district health departments, during the course of the health care worker’s duty or as a result of the performance of h is/her duty, he or she causes physical injury to any person.”
The definition cited as Section 22-21-20 includes not just hospitals, but nursing homes and clinics. Conviction of a Class C felony carries a prison term up to ten years and a fine up to $5,000.00.
Advanced practice nurses/insurance reimbursement
The Alabama State Nurses Association is continuing long-standing support for legislation to require health insurance companies to reimburse nurse practitioners for medical services provided at clinics and other medical facilities.
ASNA is supporting legislation which would amend existing medical provider laws to require insurance companies and health maintenance organizations (HMOs) to provide payment for “the services provided by an advanced practice nurse . . . practicing under the supervision of the physician and pursuant to the rules, regulations, and parameters for advanced practice nurses.”
Nurse practitioners’ services already are by statute for Medicare and Medicaid patients.
Passage of the legislation would not only expand opportunities for nurse practitioners, but increase accessibility to health care for Alabama residents, especially in rural settings.
Respiratory therapy certification
ASNA will join respiratory therapists in seeking certification for therapists entering the profession. The legislation would grandfather in those persons, many of whom are nurses, who are practicing as respiratory therapists.
Copyright Alabama State Nurses’ Association Mar-May 2004
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