Scope of Practice Bills Update

A number of licensure or scope expansion bills were introduced during the 2011 Long Session of the North Carolina General Assembly. Three seem to be most likely to move through the process.

The first is SB 467 – Naturopathic Licensure Act sponsored by Sen. Hartsell (R-Cabarrus) and Sen. Apodaca (R-Henderosn).  This bill would license naturopaths to practice in North Carolina. It would set up a board to regulate the practice and define the scope of practice for the licensees. The NCMS has worked over the past seven years to come to some agreement on the essential elements of a licensure bill for naturopaths without success. The sponsors have requested that we work to find agreement once more. Currently, the bill is scheduled for the Senate Finance Committee meeting next Wednesday, May 30.  You can find contact information for the members of that committee here.

Another bill introduced in 2011 was HB 522 – Midwifery Licensure act sponsored by Rep. Wilkins (D-Person), Rep. Hurley (R-Randolph), Rep. Current (R-Gaston), and Rep. Carney (D-Mecklenburg). This bill would propose to license certified professional midwives (CPM) to practice independent of any medical supervision. These are not the nurse midwives that many physicians are already accustomed to working with across North Carolina. These CPMs would have far less training than any other medical provider seeking to treat expecting mothers during prenatal care and delivery. Licensure for CPMs was studied by the Joint Midwifery Committee a few years ago and reported back to the North Carolina General Assembly unfavorably. The NCMS along with many other physician specialty groups have opposed this licensure. The bill currently sits in the House Health Committee. Click here to contact any of those committee members.

Finally, pharmacists have been actively seeking to expand the range of vaccinations that they can offer in the pharmacy. SB 246 – Expand Pharmacists’ Immunizing Authority sponsored by Sen. Hartsell (R-Cabarrus) is currently being analyzed in a subcommittee of the House Health Committee. The NCMS worked with the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians (NCAFP) and the North Carolina Pediatric Society (NCPS) in 2011 to address this issue that resulted in pharmacists’ ability to deliver flu vaccine as they had been doing under an emergency rule already. There is currently a proposal to change the scope of the bill to allow all CDC approved vaccines with a standing order or a specific prescription order to be administered by a pharmacist to those 18 years old or older. NCMS will continue to work with the specialty societies to ensure access and public safety are accounted for in any proposed legislation.


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