Published Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2009 | 5:21 p.m.
Updated Thursday, Oct. 1, 2009 | 3:47 p.m.
Enforcing the long-ignored law regarding who may administer prescription drugs has taken on new importance since we first reported about selective enforcement on the part of the Board of Medical Examiners and the attorney general's office, which arrested medical assistant Betty Guerra this summer for administering injections. Guerra's crime is repeated daily in medical offices and spas throughout the state. Now, an emergency (read: media coverage) has propelled the governor and the medical board into full blown knee-jerk reaction mode.
Judge Kathleen Delaney, who suspended what she called the board's "ill-conceived set of regulations," nailed the issue at hand by questioning whether an emergency ever existed, citing no evidence of a scarcity of available qualified medical personnel to give flu injections.
And here's what State Senate Majority Leader Steven Horsford said on today's program:
"The agenda was really set ahead of time. The governor was the one who requested these emergency regulations be brought forward. I believe the board, unfortunately too many of them are appointed by the governor and really serve at his pleasure, felt the pressure to move and act on this regulation in a really haphazard way."
Now, after 30 uneventful years of allowing medical assistants to perform the functions their supervising doctors allow and with unemployment already at record levels, the medical board is issuing a notice to medical assistants to put down their needles. In a directive sent to licensees, Executive Director Louis Ling says, "We appreciate and acknowledge that the attached statement may result in disruption to patient care and many medical practices across Nevada." He goes on to say the board did its best by passing the emergency regulation but two of those darned medical spas challenged on the grounds the board violated that pesky open meeting law and the board lost... so there. Or words to that effect. (See the directive posted to the right.)