Governor Michael Leavitt has signed into law the first nursing mutual recognition legislation, known as the Nursing Regulation - Interstate compact bill, scheduled to take effect January 1, 2000. It is anticipated that other states will follow suit during the next round of legislative sessions, thus establishing a number of states agreeing to permit nurses holding a license in one state to practice in any of the others in the interstate compact, as long as they follow the regulations in effect where they choose to practice.
The 1998 legislative session saw more than two dozen bills passed affecting professional and occupational regulation. Among other things, legislators created the position of certified animal euthanasia technician under the control of the state board of veterinary medicine; established a certification program for crane operators under the commissioner of the division of labor; and set forth licensing requirements for lead inspectors, risk assessors, supervisors, designers, contractors and workers. The new law says "the public health and safety of this state will be better protected when all persons who handle lead contaminated substances are thoroughly trained and knowledgeable regarding safe methods of handling and disposing of such materials." The Women's Access to Health Care Act" overrides policies of many health care provider programs by "requiring providers of health benefits policies to provide direct coverage for direct access to women's health care providers and specified services without referral or additional deductibles or copayments..." Limitations on disciplinary actions that can be taken against specified health care professionals managing patient intractable pain are now in effect as is a new procedure for professions and occupations seeking state regulation.
Information on these and other new laws is available from Randi Brooks, research analyst, Legislative Auditor's Office, Room 332 West Wing, Capitol Building, Charleston, West Virginia 25305.
The Walgreen Company has won the right to use computer transmission of prescriptions, including electronic physician signatures. The Wisconsin Pharmacy Examining Board and the Wisconsin Department of Regulation and Licensing argued that security considerations should disallow the practice, which was being tested for Walgreen by several physicians. While the board argued that an electronically transmitted prescription should be treated the same as a written one, a circuit court found that it should be treated as a telephone prescription, which is filled routinely without a signature. Upon appeal, the District Four Court of Appeals of Wisconsin not only upheld the lower court's decision, but found that electronic transmissions could actually result in reduced misunderstandings because of the way the information is presented on the pharmacy's terminal. Telemedlaw 3:2, Spring 1998.
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