Governor Gibbons today strongly encouraged the Nevada State Board of Medical Examiners to file a motion to reconsider the Eighth Judicial District Court decision of District Court Judge Kathleen E. Delaney in the case of Hurst v. the State of Nevada Board of Medical Examiners. Judge Delaney today released her written order voiding emergency regulations regarding physicians and medical assistants adopted by the Board on September 18, 2009.
“The public health and safety of all Nevadans is my number one priority,” Gibbons said. “My office has been flooded with calls from pediatricians who can no longer have their medical assistants administer immunizations and from parents who are being turned away from their physician’s offices and are concerned about getting their children immunized. In addition, the first doses of H1N1 vaccines are on the way to Nevada as we are entering flu season. We need medical assistants to be able to work with our physicians to provide medical care during this flu season.”
Governor Gibbons believes that the disruption in the statewide provision of medical care experienced in the last few days clearly shows that a motion to reconsider the voiding is justified. “By allowing the emergency regulations to go into effect, doctors and medical assistants can work together to ensure all Nevadans have access to immunizations over the next 120 days,” Gibbons said, “The Medical Board will have those 120 days to hold public hearings to develop permanent regulations.”
Governor Gibbons urges all Nevadans with concerns about this issue to send an e-mail to a special e-mail address he established today – firstname.lastname@example.org. The input received will be provided to the Board of Medical Examiners. Additionally, the Governor will use this address to communicate with citizens and physicians so that they can be informed of the time and date of the motion to reconsider.
Governor Gibbons also wants to ensure Nevadans that vaccine and vaccine providers will be available. Following the District Court’s decision, the Nevada State Health Division began implementing its contingency plans to ensure H1N1 vaccine is available to people looking to protect themselves and their families during this flu season.
Rather than focusing on primary care physicians and other doctors who have traditionally relied on medical assistants to administer vaccines, the state will increase its reliance on local health districts as vaccinators within their communities as a complement to those primary care physicians that will still vaccinate patients.
In addition, state and local health authorities are working with the Board of Nursing, nursing schools and others to develop a pool of qualified students and retired professionals who can work with primary care physicians wishing to continue vaccinating but do not have the personnel to do so without medical assistants.
“While this ruling alters our planned distribution of H1N1 vaccine, our contingency plans create a system that allows for an ample supply of vaccine for those indicated,” said Dr. Tracey Green, Nevada State Health Officer. “We will continue to follow our plans outlining what quantities of vaccine are shipped to which parts of the state, and continue following CDC guidance on priority groups.”
Governor Gibbons also noted that many pharmacists are now trained to give flu shots. Emergency medical technicians (EMTs) who train and apply for a special license endorsement can also give flu shots. There are more than 1,500 EMTs statewide.