SUMMARY OF THE 2017 ALABAMA LEGISLATIVE SESSION
First, ASNA welcome’s the Honorable Kay Ivey as Alabama’s 54th Governor. Governor Ivey is the second female and the first Republican female to serve as Governor. This year’s Regular Session of the Alabama Legislature ended on May 19, 2017. The following is a recap of key state issues related to nursing and healthcare:
- Strengthening healthcare volunteer driver protections for non-profit or faith-based organizations: HB175 passed House but the Session ended before a Senate vote.
- Medicaid Services – full funding, access to services and possible billing issues for APRN’s: General Fund passed – still need to fight for full scope for all nurses to increase access to care.
- Alabama Board of Nursing & Nurse Practice Act: SB131, 132, 133 and 134 were ABN bills written to bring Alabama language more in line with national trends, enhance authority of the ABN governing nursing education, ABN Peace Officer powers and the APRN loan repayment program for underserved areas. The Session ended without passage of any of the four bills. They will be reintroduced in 2018.
- Appropriations for nurse educator scholarships and the APRN Loan Repayment program: ASNA helped introduce legislation years ago that set aside money for nurse educator scholarships, given the projected shortage of NE’s at the time. These were to be administered through the ABN. This year $166,000 was appropriated…a slight increase! Also, ASNA supported legislation two years ago that appropriated $450,000 a year for APRN student loan repayments (up to $12k yr.) for APRNs who would agree to work in one of 30+ underserved areas in our state. The amount has to be re-appropriated each year in the budget. We all worked together…and it is a go for the 2018 budget!
- Certified Professional Midwives: There were two bills related to midwifery. One made midwifery for home births legal and the other set up a regulatory board and practice standards. The first bill was enacted. The second did not pass and will come up again in 2018. To be clear, the CPM’s have higher standards that “lay midwives” but are NOT MASTER DEGREED CERTIFIED NURSE MIDWIVES (CNM). In fact, they need not be nurses at all. As this issue will surely emerge again, we encourage nurses to BE INFORMED and BE ENGAGED. Stay tuned.
- Autism Services: Congratulations to autism advocates for passage of HB284. The bill requires certain payer plans to pay for Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy, which is proven to help autistic patients. Individuals, especially young children, who receive ABA therapy, may develop skills that help them be more independent in school and later in life.
- Other issues of ongoing concern are: The proliferation of opioid abuse, sex trafficking, and the need for more access to care for all people. ASNA/ANA continues to fight against incivility/bullying in the workplace and advocates for high ethical standards in nursing.
- On June 8, 2017 a team led by ASNA President Rebecca Huie will participate in Lobby Day on the Hill in Washington D.C. Hundreds of nurse leaders will do the same with their legislative delegations.
Nurses speak up!
Joint ASNA/ANA membership is now only $15 a month!
Executive Director, Alabama State Nurses Association