New Nevada law gives NPs broader scope of practice

Nurse practitioners in Nevada celebrated a new state law loosening restrictions on their prescriptive abilities. The law, signed by the governor in June, removes a requirement that a nurse practitioner have a formal relationship with a physician to prescribe drugs. Those types of requirements make it harder to use nurse practitioners in underserved areas, says Tay Kopanos, vice president of state government affairs for the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. Separately, survey results published in Health Affairs show that close to 60 percent of respondents, if experiencing a worsening cough, would choose to see a nurse practitioner or physician assistant that day instead of waiting a day to see a primary care physician.

Mandatory flu vaccinations don't send hospital employees packing

Instituting mandatory influenza vaccinations at a hospital did not lead to a mass exodus, according to a study of Loyola University Medical Center that was presented at the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology annual conference in June. Loyola researchers examined the medical center's policy of requiring flu vaccination as a condition of employment, which was started in 2009; it achieved vaccination rates of 98 percent or higher with limited related terminations, according to an abstract of the study. The overall vaccination rate of health care workers in the 2011–12 season was 63 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Health care big user of FMLA

Health care employees are taking longer continuous leaves under the Family and Medical Leave Act, while health care employers are experiencing relatively high rates of leave under FMLA. From 2008 to 2012, the average length of continuous FMLA leave rose 27 percent to 28 days, according to an analysis by FMLASource Inc. And of the industries studied, health care had the second highest rate of employees with an FMLA leave open, either intermittent or continuous, at 39 percent of the workforce, according to FMLASource.