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Bills For Physician Assistants and Nurses Progress


April 22, 2005 – The Committee on Health, Hospitals and Human Services Thursday forwarded two bills to the Rules Committee.
The bills, which have been the subjects of recent hearings and debates, would allow the licensing of physician assistants and would allow advanced practicing registered nurses to prescribed medication.
Sen. Usie R. Richards, chairman of the committee, after listening to witnesses at Monday's hearing had said the bills needed changes. Senate President Lorraine Berry had agreed with him. (See "Health Committee Receives Testimony and Criticism").
The amended bills were cleared by a vote of 6-0 with Norman Jn Baptiste absent during the vote, although he attended the meeting in Frederiksted. If the bills clear the Rules Committee the full Senate will then consider them.
The committee Thursday also heard testimony on the administrative and fiscal status of the Department of Health.
Darlene Carty, commission of health, according to a press release from the Senate, highlighted accomplishments of the Health Department and asked for continued support in the areas that needed legislative action.
She told committee members that Phase I and Phase II of the Charles Harwood Memorial Complex, a multimillion-dollar project, has been completed. She said the complex has been modernized to a state of the art one-stop health facility that serves, on an average, two hundred patients daily.
Carty said additional funds of $1.8 million are needed to complete Phase III of the project — the exterior of the property including landscaping and parking areas.
She concluded her testimony by telling senators about her department’s accomplishments, the department’s health’s challenges and budget overview.
Other invited testifiers for the hearing included Vashati Gumbs-Liburd, deputy commissioner-fiscal affairs operation; Dr. Phyliss Wallace, deputy commissioner-administrative services and management; Hubert Frederick, deputy commissioner-division of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention; and Clarice Commissiong, deputy commissioner-Division of Public Health.
Committee members were Sens. Liston Davis, Craig Barshinger, Lorraine Berry, Pedro Encarnacion, Neville James and Norman Jn Baptiste. Non-committee members present were Sens. Juan Figueroa-Serville and Terrence Nelson.
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