2010 summary of new laws.
Subject: Nursing (Laws, regulations and rules)
Authors: Gowan, Robert
White, Scott
Pub Date: 06/22/2010
Publication: Name: Tennessee Nurse Publisher: Tennessee Nurses Association Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health care industry Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 Tennessee Nurses Association ISSN: 1055-3134
Issue: Date: Summer, 2010 Source Volume: 73 Source Issue: 2
Topic: Event Code: 930 Government regulation; 940 Government regulation (cont); 980 Legal issues & crime Advertising Code: 94 Legal/Government Regulation Computer Subject: Government regulation
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Tennessee Geographic Code: 1U6TN Tennessee
Accession Number: 229860988
Full Text: Each year, TNA's staff and lobbyists sift through thousands of bills filed in the Tennessee General Assembly and track those legislative initiatives with the potential to affect the practice of nursing in this state. TNA staff, members and lobbyists attend legislative committee meetings and work with legislators and other interested parties in an effort to ensure that the interests of the nursing profession are advanced in a positive manner.

Below are brief summaries of several new laws passed this year by the General Assembly. Each of these laws will impact at least some aspect of the nursing profession. Provided with each summary is the respective law's public chapter number and its effective date. You may access the text of each law by visiting the Secretary of State's website at http://tnsos.org/acts/PublicActs.106th.php?showall.

Prescriptions for narcotic drugs. SB 1790/HB 0568 This law requires all written, printed, or computer-generated prescriptions for Schedule II controlled substances issued by podiatrists, physicians, surgeons, dentists, optometrists, osteopathic physicians, advanced practice nurses, and physician assistants be written legibly, printed or computer generated as a separate prescription order and contain all necessary information otherwise required by law. The prescription order must be signed on the day it is issued. The provisions of the law do not apply to prescriptions written for inpatients or outpatients of a hospital where the authorized provider writes the order into the hospital medical record and the patient or patient's representative never has the opportunity to handle the order. Nor does the law apply to a nursing home, assisted care living facility, residents of a mental health hospital or residential facility, or individuals incarcerated in a local, state, or federal correctional facilities. The provisions of the law specifically state that it shall not be construed to limit a professional nurse's ability to issue oral contraceptives under Tennessee Code Annotated 63-7-124. This legislation has been enacted as Public Chapter 0795 and was effective for the purposes of administrative rulemaking on April 19, 2010. It is effective for all other purposes on January 1, 2011.

Controlled substance reporting. SB 2561/HB 2581 This legislation amends current law related to certain healthcare providers' (including advanced practice nurses with certificates of fitness) duty to report fraudulent acts related to obtaining, manufacturing or distributing controlled substances. It requires health care providers with actual knowledge of such acts to report the information to local law enforcement or a judicial district or multi-judicial district drug task force where no local law enforcement exists. The report must be made within five days (prior law was three days) of acquiring such knowledge. It specifies that health care providers treating patients with mental illnesses are not required, but may report such activities and further specifies that such requirement does not apply in the case of TennCare recipients. It allows law enforcement limited access to information obtained by a healthcare provider from the State's controlled substance database. Health care providers are immune from civil liability if the reporting of the information is in good faith. Sanctions against a health care provider for failure to make a report are limited to those instances where there is a pattern of willful failure. The controlled substance database advisory committee is required to develop a form by August 1, 2010, that healthcare providers may choose to use to make the required report, and the Department of Health is required to make such form available on its website. Healthcare providers who fail to make the required report shall not be guilty of a felony. This legislation has been enacted as Public Chapter 0663 and became effective on March 30, 2010.

Medical record fees. SB 2959/HB 3049 This legislation sets a healthcare provider's maximum charge for a medical records request at $20 for the first five pages and fifty cents for each additional page. Current law sets these charges at $20.00 for medical records 40 pages or less in length and 25 cents per page for each page copied after the first 40 pages. The law further provides that a health care provider shall not charge a fee for copying or notarizing a medical record when requested by the Department of Health pursuant to a complaint, inspection or survey. Charges to the Department of Human Services for copying and certifying medical records requests shall remain the same as existed on January 1, 2010, and any increase shall not apply to requests for medical records made by that department. A health care provider may charge up to $20.00 for a certifying affidavit. This legislation has been enacted as Public Chapter 0865 and becomes effective on July 1, 2010.

Medication aides. SB 3144/HB 3368 Under prior law, medication aides were required to be supervised by a "licensed nurse". The Board of Nursing had interpreted this to mean a registered nurse. This legislation specifies that that a "licensed nurse" means either a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse. This legislation has been enacted as Public Chapter 0926 and became effective on May 26, 2010.

Home care providers. SB 3853/HB 3813 Current law requires Level 2 adult care home providers serving residents with traumatic brain injury to have a professional license or employ a resident manager who has a professional license as a physician, nurse practitioner, registered nurse or respiratory therapist. This legislation deletes the reference to respiratory therapists and adds references to licensed rehabilitation professionals and licensed mental health professionals. This legislation has been enacted as Public Chapter 0642 and became effective on March 17, 2010.

As of the date of this article, several other bills with the potential to impact the nursing profession were still pending before the General Assembly. These include the following two bills that will require reconciliation between the House and Senate versions before the bodies adjourn.

Sunset--Board of Nursing. SB 2449/HB 2600 As currently amended in the House, this bill would extend the existence of the Board of Nursing for another six years. The House version also contains a provision that would prohibit members of the Board from serving more than two consecutive four year terms. The Senate has adopted the House version and added provisions that: 1) require a registered lobbyist appointed to the Board to terminate all employment and business associations as a lobbyist with any entity whose business endeavors or professional activities are regulated by the board, and 2) prohibit a member of the Board from being employed as a lobbyist by any entity regulated by the board until one year after leaving the Board.

Continuation of administrative rules. SB 2472/HB 2454 This legislation is filed annually, and its purpose is to make permanent all rules filed with the Secretary of State which are otherwise scheduled for expiration on June 30, 2010. The Senate version of the bill currently contains a provision that would specifically exclude the Board of Nursing's license renewal fee rules that became effective in February of this year, thus causing them to expire at the end of June. The House version does not contain this provision.

TNA encourages you to review the text of the new laws that may affect your practice. Visit www.tnaonline.org, Government Affairs, for additional information.

by Robert Gowan and Scott White, TNA Lobbyists
Gale Copyright: Copyright 2010 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.