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Senate of Pennsylvania
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: May 8, 2023 12:07 PM
From: Senator Judy Ward
To: All Senate members
Subject: Nurses Health Program
I am introducing legislation that amends Act 69 of 1951, the Professional Nursing Law, to create the Nurses Health Program.  This program will be located within the Department of State and administered by the State Board of Nursing. The bill will be based on Senate Bill 754, Printer’s Number 1543, of the 2005-06 session.
My goal is to ensure better accountability and oversight of this important effort. There have been complaints from participants of shifting requirements to complete the program, along with a lack of oversight. The Department of State, without any legislative authorization, created the Pennsylvania Nurse Peer Assistance Program. This legislation will authorize the creation of a program to supersede the Pennsylvania Nurse Peer Assistance Program, and thus ensure that there is outside oversight of the program.
The Nurses Health Program will be a peer-assistance program for registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. The program shall:
*identify, assist and monitor nurses experiencing mental health, alcohol and drug problems that impair their ability to practice;
*set clear, easily understandable requirements that participants must meet in order to return to practice;
*include regular progress reviews for nurses participating in the program, with the goal of identifying progress, and what must be done to successfully complete the entire program and return to practice. 
The State Board of Nursing will develop the program that will treat these conditions, with the goal of recovery for participants, so that nurses can safely return to practice. The Board may enter a memorandum of understanding with an outside organization to administer the Nurses Health Program. The Board shall prepare an annual report on the program, which is to be shared with the appropriate committees in both chambers of the General Assembly.

If you have any questions, please contact Greg Beckenbaugh in my office at gbeckenbaugh@pasen.gov, or at 717-787-5490.

Introduced as SB822