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Revised bill on NPs’ scope of practice advances in Calif. Assembly

BY Antoinette Alexander

NEW YORK — A narrower version of a bill that would expand nurse practitioners’ scope of practice, as well as a bill that would expand the role of pharmacists, advanced in a California Assembly this week.

Senate Bill 491 by Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, would establish independent practice for NPs, enabling them to perform all tasks and functions consistent with their education and training. Specifically, SB 491 would authorize NPs to practice to a fuller extent of their education and training, which includes diagnosing patients, performing therapeutic procedures, prescribing drugs and devices and making independent decisions in treating health conditions.

After failing to gain enough support in the Assembly’s Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Committee last week, Hernandez offered a water-down version of the bill.

The revised bill, which was passed by the Assembly on Tuesday, allows NPs to operate independently only in a hospital, clinic or other group setting. It removes a trail to independent practice without physician oversight after more than 6,000 hours of supervised practice.

The revision of the bill prompted The American Association of Nurse Practitioners to swing from support to opposition of the bill.

"The original legislation supported by AANP would have significantly improved healthcare delivery and increased access to care for millions of Californians by providing patients with full and direct access to nurse practitioner services. Unfortunately, recent amendments to SB 491 in the California Assembly Business, Professions and Consumer Protection Committee have dramatically changed the bill to a point where the state would not only retain the status quo, but impose added barriers to patients and the provider community,” stated AANP presidents Angela Golden and Kenneth Miller in a prepared statement.

"The amended bill would make it a crime for nurse practitioners to ‘supplant’ physicians and continue to require unnecessary oversight, negating workforce gains contained in the prior bill. These changes undermine the very heart of the legislation’s original objectives, creating additional, unnecessary regulatory roadblocks just as national health care reform is necessitating that the industry streamline care delivery models. California would remain one of the most restrictive states for nurse practitioners in the nation. For these reasons, AANP has no choice but to actively oppose the revised bill,” the statement continued.

Expressing its support of the original legislation, the California Association for Nurse Practitioners stated that up to 7 million more Californians will enter the healthcare system with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, putting significant pressure on an already strained delivery system. There are roughly 17,000 NPs licensed in California.

There are currently 17 states that allow NPs to practice at the full extent of their training and education with independent practice.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, proposed legislation that would grant NPs full practice authority also is pending in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Massachusetts. Meanwhile, a bill in New Jersey would give NPs autonomy after two years of collaboration with a physician or other advanced-practice nurse.

Hernandez is also the author of SB 493, which expands the scope of service for pharmacists, including independently administering some vaccines and providing certain nicotine replacement drugs and hormonal contraceptives.

The bills now move to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

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Hispanic publication recognizes Kroger for top supplier diversity program

BY Jason Owen

CINCINNATI — The Kroger Co. today announced it was named one of the nation’s 2013 "Best of the Best" by Hispanic Network Magazine for top supplier diversity programs for Hispanics.

"We are honored to be included in Hispanic Network Magazine‘s ‘Best of the Best’ list," said Reuben Shaffer, Kroger’s chief diversity officer. "Kroger’s commitment is to identify, create and develop sustainable business partnerships with minority-owned and women-owned businesses that support our growth and business objectives, and help us consistently meet the needs of our customers."

Hispanic Network Magazine surveyed hundreds of Fortune 1000 companies for its 2013 evaluations. This is Kroger’s first time making the "Best of the Best" list.

Kroger, one of the world’s largest retailers, employs 343,000 associates who serve customers in 2,419 supermarkets and multi-department stores in 31 states under two dozen local banner names including Kroger, City Market, Dillons, Jay C, Food 4 Less, Fred Meyer, Fry’s, King Soopers, QFC, Ralphs and Smith’s. The company also operates 784 convenience stores, 322 fine jewelry stores, 1,182 supermarket fuel centers and 37 food processing plants in the United States.


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Sam’s Club to provide early flu shots, nine immunizations year round

BY Jason Owen

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Every Sam’s Club location with a pharmacy will offer year-round adult immunizations, Sam’s Club announced today. Starting in August, licensed pharmacists at more than 560 U.S. Sam’s Club pharmacy locations will administer flu shots and nine immunizations recommended to help protect against diseases, such as pneumonia, shingles and whooping cough. All Sam’s Club pharmacies are open to the public.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last year’s flu season began four weeks earlier than expected, resulting in the earliest flu season in a decade. The early onset and prolonged infection period had a disproportionate impact on America’s small businesses, which rely on fewer employees to maintain profits and productivity, especially from the holidays through tax season. The CDC estimates that each year the flu results in 75 million days of work absences and 200 million days of diminished productivity for businesses nationwide. Cumulatively, the flu costs U.S. businesses an estimated $6.2 billion in lost productivity each year.

"Sam’s Club has been a longstanding health resource for families and thousands of business owners," said Jill Turner-Mitchael, licensed pharmacist and senior vice president of health and wellness for Sam’s Club. "With the onset of flu season and weather patterns becoming increasingly unpredictable, it’s every business’s job to plan ahead this year. At Sam’s Club, we’re providing easier access to flu shots and immunizations this year so our customers who plan ahead can protect themselves, their colleagues and their bottom line. Preventive action is critical to maintaining business continuity and growth."

Sam’s Club offers both scheduled appointments and walk-in immunizations. Licensed professional Sam’s Club pharmacists are available for consultations on immunizations, low prices on medications, the Sam’s Plus Extra Value Drug Program and free monthly health and wellness screenings. Businesses and families can gather additional information at SamsClub.com/healthyliving.

Specific immunizations to be offered include:

  • Flu (influenza)
  • Pneumonia (pneumococcal)
  • Whooping cough (pertussis) tetanus and diphtheria (Tdap/Td)
  • Shingles (herpes zoster)
  • Chickenpox (varicella)
  • HPV (human papillomavirus)
  • MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
  • Meningitis (meningococcal)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B

Information about all of Sam’s Club’s health and wellness offerings can also be found in the Club’s bi-monthly wellness magazine, Healthy Living Made Simple, which reaches approximately 8 million members.


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