Health and Human Services

HHS omnibus bill clears first round

A bill that would expand the scope of practice for respiratory therapists was amended to become a committee omnibus bill and advanced from general file March 3.

Sen. John Arch
Sen. John Arch

LB752, as introduced by Sen. John Arch of La Vista, would authorize respiratory therapists, in addition to current allowable practices, to engage in a broader range of practices including the administration of all pharmalogical, diagnostic and therapeutic agents for the treatment and diagnosis of cardiopulmonary disease for which the respiratory care practitioner has been professionally trained or has obtained sufficient education or certification.

Arch said state law needs to be updated to reflect significant advancements in respiratory therapy.

A Health and Human Services Committee amendment, adopted on a 35-0 vote, added the provisions of several bills:
• LB753, also introduced by Arch, which would require Nebraska health care providers to obtain informed written consent prior to administering stem cell therapy. Any patient age 19 or older would be required to confirm that their health care provider has explained the treatment, that the treatment has not received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and that the patient understands that the treatment hasn’t received such approval;
• LB554, introduced by Sen. Carol Blood of Bellevue, which would adopt the Licensed Professional Counselors Interstate Compact which, if it becomes operative, would enable a licensed Nebraska professional counselor to work in another state that is a member of the compact without having to obtain a new license in that state; and
• LB15, also introduced by Blood, which would adopt the Occupational Therapy Practice Interstate Compact. Once in effect, the compact would allow licensed therapists to practice in other member states without having to obtain a separate license as is required currently.

Bennington Sen. Wendy DeBoer also offered an amendment to include provisions of her LB374. The amendment, adopted 34-0, would create the Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementia Advisory Council. The 17-member council would examine the needs of individuals living with dementia, services available for those individuals and caregivers and the ability of health care providers and facilities to meet those needs.

Lawmakers advanced LB752 to select file on a 36-0 vote.

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