On Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012, Speaker Mike Flood of the Nebraska Legislature announced that Session would end early on Friday the 3rd, due to the upcoming threat of extreme weather conditions. Hearings that were to be heard that afternoon have been rescheduled to have their hearings on Monday February 13, at 9:30 a.m. If you are ever planning on attending a hearing or an event at the Legislature, I encourage you to check the legislative schedule for any changes or cancellations. This week, I would like to touch on two bills that deal with tweaking Nebraska Statute revolving around healthcare services, LB 646 and LB 677.
A bill I introduced, LB 646, was debated and passed on Monday, Feb. 6. LB 646, is a health care related bill that changes the definition of emergency medical service from "immediate medical care" to "medical care." Currently Emergency Medical Service is defined as an organization responding to a perceived individual need for medical care in order to prevent loss of life or aggravation of physiological or psychological illness or injury. Removing the word immediate will better reflect what they are doing now, which includes non-emergency settings. There are many instances when volunteer and paid EMS worker's are on duty or on call at sporting events, hospital/nursing home transfers etc ... and are "technically" not responding to someone that may need "immediate medical care." My bill would remedy the use of "immediate" and protect an EMS worker from potential liability.
LB 677 is a bill Senator Steve Lathrop has introduced and was debated on the floor this past week as well as advanced to select file. LB 677, in accordance with the Judiciary Committee amendment AM 1704, increases penalties for assault on a healthcare professionals while the health care professional is engaged in the performance of his or her official duties. AM 1704 redefines Health Care professional as "a physician or other healthcare practitioner who is licensed, certified, or registered to perform specified health services consistent with state law who is practicing at a house or health clinic."
A sign requirement is also provided which warns of mandatory imprisonment upon an assault of healthcare professional while performing his or her official duties. Despite the invigorating floor debate regarding the imperfections of the bill, it does seem to hold some validity in protecting healthcare professionals that may be harmed by not only patients but family and friends in a health service setting. I intend on supporting this bill and look forward to the future debate of the bill.
Questions or Comments? Contact myself or my office at, Senator Mark R. Christensen, PO Box 94604, Lincoln, NE 68509, 402-471-2805.