Kentucky Bill Would Ease HIV/AIDS Training Requirements for Health Professionals
A Kentucky bill (HB 140) that would "relax" health care professionals' HIV/AIDS continuing education requirements, which passed the House last week, was approved 33-1 by the state Senate on Friday, the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reports. The bill now moves to Gov. Paul Patton (D) (Schreiner, Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 3/3). The bill, sponsored in the House by state Rep. John Arnold (D), would require health professionals to undergo HIV/AIDS training once every 10 years. Under current law, health professionals must fulfill HIV/AIDS training requirements each time a professional license is renewed, which occurs annually for some professionals. Bill supporters, including state health officials and the Kentucky Medical Association, say that HIV/AIDS education requirements are excessive because some health care workers do not treat HIV/AIDS patients and generally refer these patients to HIV/AIDS specialists. But Jonathan Lowe, a member of Kentucky Fairness Alliance, an organization dedicated to promoting equality for all people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, said that the 10-year gap between HIV/AIDS classes is "too long." Lowe said, "[W]e should be looking at tailoring [HIV/AIDS education requirements] to each profession and improving the training instead of deleting it" (Richardson, Lexington Herald-Leader, 3/2). State Sen. Ernesto Scorsone (D) tried to amend the bill to require education classes every five years, but his proposal lost on a voice vote. "This bill, without this amendment, says that we don't have a problem with HIV in Kentucky," Scorsone said, adding, "Nothing could be further from the truth." Sen. Brett Guthrie (R) noted that licensing boards could require more frequent education sessions, especially if there were treatment breakthroughs or updates in detection of the disease (Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, 3/3).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.