Health and Human Services

Nursing measure amended to become omnibus health services bill, advanced

A bill that would change renewal requirements for certain nursing licenses to eliminate the provision of paper-based notifications was amended to become an omnibus health services bill and given first-round approval March 4.

Sen. Ben Hansen
Sen. Ben Hansen

LB1215, sponsored by Blair Sen. Ben Hansen, would require nurse renewal licenses to be registered in the state Department of Health and Human Services electronic database. It also would eliminate a fee relating to an informal conference with a peer review organization, eliminate a DHHS contracting requirement with hospitals in treating tuberculosis patients and eliminate the certificate of need requirement for rehabilitation beds in hospitals.

A Health and Human Services Committee amendment, adopted 37-0, would add the provisions of six additional bills, including:
• LB896, introduced by Lincoln Sen. Beau Ballard, which would repeal a current requirement in state law that when a telehealth patient gives verbal consent during an initial consultation, a signed statement must be collected within 10 days of that consultation;
• LB1009, introduced by Fremont Sen. Lynne Walz, which would allow a person who has failed the state barber examination a third time to take the test again; and
• LB1138, sponsored by Ralston Sen. Merv Riepe, which would allow a prescriber who issues fewer than 50 prescriptions a year to not use electronic prescription technology.

Hansen, chairperson of the committee, said the bills included in the amendment are part of an effort to work with health professionals to streamline processes and regulations.

“This package cuts out the red tape and makes state agencies and health organizations able to do their jobs more effectively,” he said.

Also included in the committee amendment is LB1171, introduced by Gering Sen. Brian Hardin, which would add an exception to pharmacy verification requirements for pharmacies with multiple locations that share a common electronic database. Under the provisions, verification could be done by means of a real-time audio-visual communication system if all of the following conditions are met:
• the pharmacist performing the verification is located in Nebraska;
• the physical product verification occurs in person at the location where the prescription is prepared; and
• the pharmacy maintains manual or electronic records that identify — individually, for each order processed — the name, initials or identification code of each pharmacist, pharmacist intern or pharmacy technician who took part in all acts, tasks or functions undertaken to fulfill a prescription.

Provisions of LB1173, sponsored by Riepe, would change requirements related to vital statistics. Under the proposal, an abstract of death, which is a certified document that summarizes the facts of a death, could be used as documentation to terminate child support. The proposal also would require DHHS to supply an abstract of death when applied for to fulfill any “proper purpose,” and would allow the department to charge a $15 fee. Certain veterans’ organizations and other state agencies would not be charged the fee, which also could be waived in cases of hardship.

The measure also would remove the period of service from the death certificate form for veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces.

Finally, amended provisions of LB1181, sponsored by Ballard, would change the Pharmacy Practice Act, Uniform Controlled Substances Act and Public Health and Welfare statutes relating to medications. Specifically, the amendment would:
• change inventory and dosage requirements for controlled substances;
• change self-inspection forms used by pharmacies;
• require a pharmacy intern to be at least 18 years old; and
• change pharmacy technician registration requirements relating to drug-relating crimes and labeling requirements involving legend drugs that are not controlled substances.

Following adoption of the committee amendment, lawmakers voted 40-0 to advance LB1215 to select file.

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